Blue Skies, Green Hell
by Marilyn Lazzari-Wing
Witness a riveting tale set in the 1950s when pioneers of the sky flew single-engine aircraft over the unforgiving wilderness and impenetrable jungle in Venezuela.
Author Marilyn Lazzari-Wing’s Blue Skies, Green Hell will take you on an action-packed adventure of a lifetime.
I had no thoughts of writing my adventures about drama in the cockpit of a single-engine airplane until my husband, Jerry, found a moldy cardboard box containing thousands of old, yellowed letters exchanged between my parents and me fifty years ago. I’d boxed up those aged letters and relegated them to oblivion in a box on a shelf in the garage. Jerry tore off tattered tape, opened the box, gently retrieved a couple of manila file folders filled with single-spaced, typed letters and read some. It took only minutes before he said, “You should write a book. It’s practically written. Every letter is a story. Select the best and you have a thrilling book—an accurate historical account of those brave vanguards of flight in far off Venezuela.” BSGH is all about the early bush pilots, Venezuelans and Americans, who led the way in Venezuela’s wild and unbidden interior. “Listen to this.” Jerry sat down and started to read from one of the letters I’d addressed to my Mother and Dad in 1953.
“From one minute to the next, our plane’s single engine conked out, the nose dipped earthward, and the only noise I heard was wind whooshing by the falling aircraft. He didn’t call ‘Mayday’ – we were over uninhabited rain forest where there are no radio communications, no landmarks, no villages, not even dirt roads or a railroad track, least of all an airfield with a radio-controlled tower. Frank had to do it on his own, Mom. But his top-drawer education at the Military School of Aviation, training, experience on the airline and years flying the bush all kicked in. I leaned to the right and gave him all the room he needed to work. I slipped down in my seat. I knew he had to see out the window next to me. He had to land a crippled plane in a clearing in a forest where a sign should have posted. ‘DON’T LAND HERE.’ He had no option. Scrub brush and small saplings slapped against the fuselage. I was afraid, Mom. I closed my eyes and prayed.”
“Okay,” I interrupted sharply. I didn’t want to hear any more. Sometimes my letters home were too detailed—too graphic.
Silently, Jerry read the rest of the letter and then put all the letters back in the box. “Phew. You can’t keep these stories boxed up. You’ve got to write.”
Already, the idea was taking wing in skies of mind.
That was twelve years ago. After lots of research including three trips to Venezuela to look for old friends, and a refresher course in flying to enliven my senses and emotions at the controls of a small plane, Blue Skies, Green Hell came to life.
– Marilyn Lazzari-Wing