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© APRIL 2002,
Air Battle Force Inc.

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Mr Brown,

Hello, my name is Daniel Nelson in Brisbane Australia, a former infantry soldier and strong supporter of the military/NATO. Firstly, I think it's cool to refer to Australia in 'Fatal Terrain'. The Royal Australian Air Force uses F/A-18's and F-111 aircraft, we are terribly proud of our '-111's capabilities, when America sold off its F-111's your loss was our gain! (sorry, didn't want to rub that in your face, but they're ours now) I have bought and read/reread all of your novels except 'Dreamland' and since I finished reading 'Warrior Class' (which was outstanding) last night I am buying 'Dreamland' next. Your books are very absorbing, believable and thoroughly entertaining - all your technology ideas are so plausable, they make sci-fi authors of today scratch their heads trying to think up something 'futuristic' that hasn't been put into one of your planes! Whilst, I understand you are busy providing the world with your novels, several things are on my mind:

1)The elctronic 'cloaking' field used on the B-2A in 'Shadows of Steel', great concept, is it fitted to the EB-1c Megafortress II's?

2) Would the concept of a modified naval Destroyer/Cruiser, in you opinion, work as well as the bombers? Could they place the high altitude radar as described in 'Hammerheads', HARM missiles, La-Dar, laser countermeasures, etc to a fibresteel ship with any (hypothetical) success? strikes me that a 10 000 ton ship could generate much more power/stability than a 500 000 lb airframe.

3)I always loved the Wolverine (I forget its designation). Is it of low-observable technology construction? I reckon 'stealth' missiles could be handy, especially for anti-radar weapons. Whilst all your characters are excellent, my all time favourite would have to be Gunnery Sergeant Chris Wohl, truly a man after my own heart (or lact, thereof), he proves that us 'dumbass grunts' can really cut it with the flyboys. Finally, apologies for such a lengthy message, but there wasn't anything I could leave out. Thankyou for the opportunity to 'touch bases' with my fav. author, Daniel 'bull' Nelson Queensland, AUSTRALIA

P.S. the attack on U.S. is considered an attack on Aust. as well. We are all in support of U.S.A. (How would McLanahan respond to it all...)


Thanks for the excellent e-mail! To answer your questions:

1)I never thought of adding the “cloaking field” to the EB-52 or EB-1 aircraft.

2)Yes, I think (within the limitations of any sea-based striking platform) putting stealth technology on a warship would make it a much more versatile and effective weapon. The U.S. has been experimenting with many such “stealth destroyers,” beginning with the ARPA/Navy/Lockheed Martin “Sea Shadow” project of the mid 1980’s.

Could they work as well as the bombers? Surface vessels lack the speed, responsiveness, and flexibility of large attack aircraft. They all have their place on the modern battlefield, but (being slightly biased here!) I’d give the nod to the heavy penetrating bomber.

3)The future of theater warfare will rest not with new aircraft, vehicles, or ships, but with new weapons. Advances in electronics and computers will help produce vastly smarter and more capable missiles that can kill targets with greater precision in any kind of battlefield conditions from safer, standoff ranges.

The Wolverine missile is my example of a larger multi-purpose stealth attack missile. Wolverine can locate, identify, attack, and re-attack multiple targets from long range; it can carry different warheads depending on the targets; and it can operate either autonomously or guided by a bombardier.

Thanks for the great e-mail and for your support!

Hello Mr Brown , My name is Robert and I live in Western Mass right outside of Westover AFB actually. I have been a fan of SAC bomber and tanker op's for as long as can remember with living here in the Northeast having all the SAC bases that used to be here . Had a couple friends who flew at Pease and one or two at PBG also .. Myself I was stationed at Nellis/TTR then to Charleston AFB when my unit in NV closed and out jet's transferred to Holloman . Flight of the Old Dog and Chains of Command are both my favorites ! And the question I had was as follows: In Old Dog when they are at the Bomb Comp Symposium at Barksdale it talks about all the unit's having a booth or area there that represents the wing and it's home state ( I remember the Texas Longhorn painted with the Texas Flag mentioned for Dyess ) .. This is all what really happened at the Proud Shield symposium or just for in your book ? Thanks much for taking the time to read this and for any help on my request or my question ... Cheers



Thanks for your e-mail! While flying FB-111A bombers in the mid-1980s, I was stationed at Westover for one summer while they were resurfacing the runway at Pease. Because we didn’t have the performance penalties of external fuel tanks, our missions were shorter--two to three hours instead of four to five hours--and we were able to do more high-speed, high-performance missions. Plus, Westover had a more casual all-ranks club, so all the crews hung out together. It was like an overseas deployment, but it was only a three-hour ride home.

Yep, the Bomb Competition Symposium parties in the early 1980s were pretty wild parties for the crews lucky enough to attend. I don’t remember seeing any Brahma bulls, but each unit’s hospitality suite did have something distinctive to its state or location (the 320th Bomb Wing from Mather AFB’s suite featured Napa Valley wines and Blue Diamond almonds!).

A Tribute To Warren Cowan, Hollywood Volunteer Of The Year Skybird: A Tribute To Warren Cowan PHOTO
Dale and Diane at "A Tribute To Warren Cowan, Hollywood Volunteer Of The Year" at Merv Griffin's Beverly Hilton Hotel: (l to r) Michael Feinstein, headliner at the Beverly Hilton; entertainer Merv Griffin; Hollywood publicist Warren Cowan; Dale Brown; and Diane Brown


I will have an entry in the "Night Table Reading" feature in an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair magazine. My picks:

1) "L.A. Times" by Stuart Woods -- "The Player" meets "The Sopranos:" what would happen if a mob guy wanted to produce a movie? What would he be willing to do to make it happen? My favorite Stuart Woods thriller--so far!

2) Sony DCR-PC9 digital video camcorder manual -- Hey, until the movie rights for my books sell, maybe I'll try my hand at shooting and editing my own? The PC9 is small, lightweight, tons of features, and downloads video or digital snapshots directly to my PC for editing.

3) NTSB Reporter magazine -- It's harsh, but we pilots learn a lot by reading about other pilots' misfortunes--or stupid moves. The NTSB Reporter gives the abbreviated National Transportation Safety Board report, photos, and probable cause findings on general aviation accidents. The bottom line: the old saying "the most dangerous part of the trip is the drive to the airport" is DEFINITELY not true for general aviation. We non-professional pilots need a LOT more training.

4) "Secrets of the Action Screenplay" by William C. Martell -- Bill Martell is famous for his "little blue books" on writing, and "Secrets" is the best of the bunch.

5) "Snowstorm" by Mike Alger -- I get a lot of bound galleys and sample chapters from publishers on upcoming books, and sometimes it's a chore to slog through them. But I predict that Mike Alger's "Snowstorm" will be a hit, and its movie potential is great. Murder, drugs, and guns involving--the local TV weatherman? Wry, dark, a little off-beat, and surprising.


April 26-28, 2002

"Naked Screenwriting with William Martell," Tahoe Biltmore Hotel Casino, Lake Tahoe. Bill Martell is one of Hollywood's best action-adventure writers, with 17 produced films and TV shows to his credit. His "little blue books" on the art of screenplay writing are legendary; his best is "Secrets of the Action Screenplay." Skybird: Bill Martell LOGO

Visit his Web site at

11-17 June 2002

The Cayman Caravan and International Aviation Week on the Cayman Islands

This is the ultimate adventure for any pilot: flying with several dozen of your buddies from Key West, Florida, across Cuba to Grand Cayman Island for International Aviation Week. Skybird: Annual Events in the Cayman Islands Aviation Week LOGO Unlike the fears expressed by us ex-Cold Warriors, flying across Cuba is safe, legal, and hasn’t been a problem despite several unexpected forced landings there. Caravan organizers help pilots in planning and preparation, including filing all necessary Customs and overflight request forms. Cuban air traffic controllers speak English, their radar system is excellent, and no one has been shot at yet (you are more likely to get intercepted by an American fighter jet these days!).

When I called about information on the Caravan, I spoke with Ross Russo, an Air Force fighter squadron commander who was profiled by Dave Gwynn in a recent article in the Pilot’s Audio Update. Ross is an airplane owner, and Gwynn told about how Ross approaches flying his own plane as seriously and as competently as he flies his F-16 Falcon. My kind of guy!

I’m not sure if my schedule permits me, but if you go on the Caravan or attend the Air Show, look for me on the beach in the Cayman Islands!

July 2002

G.P. Putnam’s Sons Publishers is planning a book tour for the publication of Wings of Fire. Bookstores and media outlets interested in setting up an appearance, please contact Michael Barson at or Bob Rooney at Warren Cowan and Associates at Skybird: Penguin Putnam Inc. LOGO So far, Reno, NV and Sacramento, CA are on the list. I’ll post more details as we get them firmed up.

The publisher and the bookstores organize the events, and I support both in whatever they’d like to do. But I enjoy doing events where I contribute to the audience as much as they are contributing to us by buying my books.

So if you’re planning an event, may I make a suggestion: set up a few dozen chairs, invite a bunch of your best customers, and we’ll hang for awhile and talk about whatever they’d like to talk about: my books, the writing biz, swap war stories, talk about world events, flying, whatever.

Air Force Civic Leaders Tour, 18-19 July 2002

Sponsored by the Air Force, the 940th Air Refueling Wing, and the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, the Civic Leaders Tour welcomes civilians on a special VIP tour of Air Force operations. The purpose of the tour is to acquaint influential civilians “up close and personal” on day-to-day Air Force operations. Various Air Force units conduct these tours many times throughout the year all around the country.

The tour starts at Beale Air Force Base near Marysville, CA, with a tour of the Ninth Strategic Reconnaissance Wing and the U-2 Dragon Lady spy planes. The tour then loads up in a 940th Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker and heads off to Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, NV. On the way, the tanker is tasked to perform air-refueling missions, and those on the tour get their turn in the refueling pod with the boom operator to watch the refueling. Although the refueling missions are scheduled ahead of time, you never know what might show up on the boom: you might be scheduled to refuel a B-52, but a KC-10 tanker, a B-2 stealth bomber, F-117 stealth fighter, or F-15 Eagle might show up as well! Skybird: Air Force Civic Leaders Tour LOGO

At Nellis AFB, the tour gets a look at unmanned reconnaissance aircraft operations with a tour of the Global Hawk unit. The tour also looks at the Red Flag Operations Center, which controls the world’s most extensive air combat war games; the USAF Thunderbirds Demonstration Team headquarters; and the Threat Museum, a look at enemy fighters and anti-aircraft weapons from around the world.

My old buddy Dennis Hall is the volunteer coordinator for the tour; he can be reached at

As usual, my book tour schedule and other real-world events determine if I can participate--but I’m looking forward to this tour as well! Skybird: Reno Air Racing Association LOGO
September 2002
The Reno National Championship Air Races, Reno, NV

I live just 40 minutes from Reno, but I’ve never been to the Air Races--an inexcusable omission that I plan to correct this year (I actually planned to go last year, but the September 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent grounding of VFR aircraft led to cancellation). I finally did see the racecourse at Stead Airport near Reno, and believe me, you will be right in the middle of the action. See you there!

Robert Gottlieb
Trident Media Group
(212) 262-4810

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