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M. L. "Matt" Buchman

Start the Chase (+ audio)

Start the Chase (+ audio)

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Miranda Chase’s Team—before they were one!
Before they were the hottest, and most at-risk air-crash investigation team for the NTSB and the US military, the six members of Miranda Chase’s team had each started along very unique paths.
Courtesy of backers of The Great Chase tabletop game Kickstarter, their pasts are revealed. Discover why each team member’s future turned out so differently than they planned.
Six exciting stories filled with challenges, disasters, and triumphs. Five stories with fans as guest characters. A fun and wild flight.

Listen to an Excerpt

Read an Excerpt

September 19th, 2003
Bitterroot Wilderness, Idaho
Elevation: 6,853 feet

She was alive!
Miranda Chase decided that constituted a surprising assessment—and a wholly unexpected one given the circumstances.
She kept her hands on the control yoke as the last shudder of the crash rippled through the plane’s airframe. Outside the cockpit windows, a tall Douglas fir considered its options. Thrive or—
Unable to survive the impact of stopping her Mooney 201 four-seat aircraft, sixty feet of eight-inch diameter fir tree broke at the point of impact of her propeller’s center spinner. At thirty-one pounds per cubic foot, it weighed more than half as much as her plane. Thankfully, it fell twenty degrees to the left, rather than testing the crushability of her plane’s already battered fuselage—and herself.
She followed its fall as well as she could through the snow it had spattered over the windscreen when she’d hit it at the end of her long skid across the snowfield.
When the tree impacted the port wing, her plane shuddered with a final death throe. Three separate branches punched through the thin aluminum sheet metal as if determined to pin her to the ground beyond anything the crash had achieved. All three punctures lay outboard of the mid-wing seam, so it was unlikely any of them would have punctured the long-range fuel tanks. The inboard ones would be completely safe.
Out the windscreen, the gap left by the fallen tree revealed only more snow-shrouded pines. The early-morning sun hadn’t yet cleared the peaks, but the sky was bright blue above the towering walls of fir-green and snow-white.
She reached over to shut down the avionics—she’d already pulled the throttle and set the fuel valve to Off moments before the crash as a precaution against fire per Section 3 Page 8 of the Pilot’s Operating Handbook, “Gear-Up Landing”—but she couldn’t seem to free her hands from the yoke.
Staring at them didn’t help. Her fingers remained clenched white, a sharp contrast to the black plastic of the uprights. In fact, they were beginning to hurt they were clenched so hard.
Still no give.
When her breath exploded out of her, she realized that she’d been holding it since the moment before the belly of her Mooney 201 had impacted the snow.
She dragged in a deep breath.
It was rich with the scent of pine, and already it tasted cooler than it had aloft.
She closed the air vent to conserve heat, then looked at her hands in surprise.
“Now you can move?”
Before they changed their mind to once more being out of her control, she began shutting down the plane’s systems.
The transponder was set to 7700, exactly as it should be for an emergency.
But she’d delayed. Perhaps too long.
At the first cough of the engine, she’d begun her troubleshooting in the traditional reverse-question mark path that her father had taught her long before she was tall enough for her feet to reach the rudder pedals. To remind herself of that, she always wrote her question marks from the dot upward.
The period on the floor was the fuel tank selector. Switching it between tanks hadn’t helped because she had plenty of av-gas in both tanks. Straight above, auxiliary fuel pump—no improvement. Curve to check mixture control and throttle. The final arc, past where the shaft of the yoke penetrated the main panel, to the left-hand magneto switch—from Both to Right to Both to Left, then back to Both when there was no change.
Nothing had worked.
So she’d done the second question mark: pull the fuel dump “gascolator” by her feet for five seconds to purge any accumulated water or sediment, then check the cowl flap, the alternate air, and finally the instruments for any additional clues.
There hadn’t been any except for the rapidly falling engine rpm.
A second cycle through the two question marks of recovery hadn’t improved the results. Dad had always taught her to check everything important twice, but that the third time was a waste of effort. Even at twenty it was hard for her to resist the urge to repeat actions a third time, but she’d learned.

Publication Details

Initial Publication: October 26, 2021
Print Pages: 318
Audio length: 6:43
Narrator: Read by Author

Bonus Content

To get: Bonus stories, Recipes, and more, Click HERE!

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