Monday, April 25, 2011

ON THE ROAD - KINGMAN, AZ / "FLOWN WEST"

Good evening from the Love's Travel Stop in windy Kingman, Arizona!

Just wanted to let everyone know that I'll be on the road for the next few days:  Driving out to Southern California to see my son, parents, and sister (who's visiting from Austin) for a belated Easter.

On a semi-book-related note, although TWA has "flown West" (pilot-speak for died), if you're ever driving along the I-40 through Kingman you can still see airliners in the distinctive red-and-white TWA livery at the airport here.  Like Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, the Kingman airport features a "boneyard" where aging aircraft are stored more-or-less intact for decades after their final flights.

Although the term "flown West" has been used by aviators since the First World War to describe fallen comrades, the concept actually goes back to at least the ancient Egyptians, who believed that the Kingdom of the Dead lay somewhere in the West.  Since the Sun appears to "die" in the West each evening, the conceptual link between the West and death probably predates even the earliest human civilizations.

I decided to call my book VANISHED IN THE WEST partly because of this little bit of aviation- / death-related trivia, and partly because of one of the first New York Times headlines about the air disaster:  "TWO GIANT AIRLINERS VANISH IN WEST".

Okay, I'd better stop blogging and do some more driving.  Good night, everybody.

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