I was fired, stripped of all my FAA licenses, tried in Federal Court, sent to Federal Prison, and went broke. The FAA and the trial judge took action to prevent me from ever flying again. The story details my rise from the ashes and my retirement as a 747 Captain…for the very same airline I was terminated from. And it even involves a Presidential Pardon.
My entire life is chronicled in this memoir, from my childhood in an alcoholic home, a WWII housing project, my Native American heritage and teachings, my rise from Private to Captain in the US Marine Corps, and includes a combat tour in Vietnam as a fighter pilot. It also includes the story of my alcoholism and my recovery from that disease.
How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?
The term “final approach” is the last segment of any flight and ends with the landing. In this case, Final Approach had more than one meaning. At one point, as I was being arrested, I had literally flown my final approach. However, the final approach that leads to my retirement was done with honor, dignity, redemption, and restoration.
I described what I wanted the cover to look like and the graphics folks at CreateSpace gave me several options. We fine-tuned the one I liked best and ended up with a 727 (the aircraft I was flying at the time of my arrest) in the landing configuration on final approach. It has the exact Northwest Airlines paint scheme sans any airline specific name and identification.
Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather, the ability to continue in the face of it.”
What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?
I have no idea. TV interview spots would probably be powerful as well as newspaper reviews or other publicity efforts. I’ve done many interviews about alcoholism and our story was featured on an ABC Nightline Special with Ted Koppel (who wrote the Intro). I’ve also done two interviews with Diane Sawyer (Prime Time Live just before prison) and Good Morning America when the two America West pilots were generating publicity over being arrested drunk.