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The Black Box | #BestRead

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Book Information

Author: Captain Terrance W. MacDonald
Title: THE BLACK BOX “Dead Pilots Don’t Talk”
City: Bloomington
Book Publisher: Xlibris LLC
ISBN: 978-1-47975-304-8
Published: 2/5/2013
Format: Perfect Bound Softcover

The Black Box


This is an account by a long-time pilot who, after spending seven years learning and honing his skills in general aviation, first flew as an airline copilot at age 23. On August 1st, 1999, he survived a jet crash that drastically changed how he thought about commercial aviation. THE BLACK BOX focuses on aviation safety and how Captain MacDonald believes the industry repeatedly falls short of being as safe as it could be and should be. A lot of excellent pilots — and many innocent passengers — are no longer alive because of one bad day in a very unforgiving profession. Living pilots don’t talk because they fear reprisal, dead pilots can’t talk. This book speaks for them. If they could speak, this is what they might tell you about aviation safety that you have the right to know.

About The Author

Terrance MacDonald is a commercial airline pilot from Sydney, Nova Scotia. His love for aviation started at the age of four. He has worked as a fl ight instructor, a copilot and a captain with a variety of airlines. Due to the shutdowns of several airline companies, a career of back and forth between the left and right seats has given him the opportunity to see life from a captain’s and a copilot’s viewpoint many times over; his 14,000 hours of flight experience has exposed him to most everything aviation presents in terms of safety problems and in-flight emergencies. His flying experiences range from a 380-pound ultra light aircraft to a Boeing 737 and many types of planes in between. His four decades in aviation and his fi rsthand experience qualify MacDonald as an industry expert.

Book Teaser



Most passengers don’t realize that “broken” airliners can fly legally. On check-in for duty on flight 2210, dispatch advised the pilots that they were taking a plane with a “deferred snag.” The lift dumpers had been snagged unserviceable. The airplane was broke, and apparently the flight was going anyway, or else it would have been cancelled. Right‘? The copilot wondered how this snag would affect the flight, as lift dumpers aid in slowing the aircraft down on landing.

Dispatch also notified the crew of another problem they would be dealing with on this flight. A serious NOTAM (notice to airmen) had been issued for the destination airport. The NOTAM facing the crew was this airport was down to just one serviceable runway because the other runway was being resurfaced. The serviceable runway also had a handicap since one end of this runway intersected the one being resurfaced. The runway was not available for full-length use: Only 5,500 feet was available for a full-stop landing.

All aircraft snags are categorized according to how critical they are to the safety of a flight. For example, unless one is flying at night, replacing a burned-out

lightbulb is nowhere near as critical as fixing the lift dumpers. Lift dumpers are the large panels on top of the wings, which pop upward as soon as the plane touches down, creating a wall on the wing. This “all breaks the smooth airflow over the wing and creates drag, which decreases or eliminates the wings lift.

This causes the wing to stop flying and allows the plane to settle firmly on the surface of the runway, which in turn provides more traction for the tires and thus better braking performance. Each airliner has a MEL. (minimum equipment list) book onboard. A captain checks the MEL book to ascertain the minimum functioning equipment required to operate a flight legally at the beginning of every shift or aircraft change.

In Canada for example, an A snagged MEL item means the aircraft is grounded and cannot fly until the item is repaired. The general public is often under the impression that the whole aircraft has to be working perfectly to go flying, but it doesn’t. The captain’s welcome aboard speech doesn’t include the fact that some things aren’t working. The B snagged MEL item means it must be fixed within three days, giving the aircraft the leeway to return to home base or at least to a maintenance base for repair. Then the C snagged MEL. item means the airline has ten days to fix the problem. Last the D item means the airline
has 120 days to fix the problem.

The copilot was nervous about taking off with a major snag such as no lift dumpers, but not knowing enough about the affects of this snag, he had to trust his captain’s judgement. It was the copilot’s first jet job. Prior to this, he had only flown propeller-driven aircraft. Certainly, dispatch acted as if it


was still a go. As soon as the two pilots got in to the flight deck, they started checking the performance manuals to see whether a plane this large could land on a 5,500-foot runway. Being very careful as they checked the charts, both pilots individually confirmed the aircraft performance manual did indicate they would be able to land within 5 ,500 feet. They now felt confident that they were legal to do this flight, something dispatch already knew_ At the time, the new copilot thought the captain did a good job in checking the finer paperwork details in the aircraft manual. They departed and after an uneventful flight were cleared for an instrument approach to their destination airport.

As the airplane lined up with the runway centerline, the captain was at the controls, and the copilot was the nonflying pilot. As the captain asked for the landing wheels to be lower, the copilot reached over and lowered the big lever with the little wheel at the end of it. Three very bright green lights appeared, confirming the wheels were down and locked. The lights were so bright they interfered with the captain’s vision. The copilot tried the dimmer switch, but it didn’t work, and the landing gear lights remained too bright. The copilot knew that the captain was having difficulty seeing the rest of the instrument panel due to the excessively bright lights. Once the two pilots confirmed all the wheels were down, the copilot instinctively moved his left hand over the three green lights to block the glare. The captain immediately said, “That’s much better, keep your hand there.” And that was all he said, no other details.

The F-28 jet touched down on the usable section of the runway, right where the captain was aiming for. The usual chirp of tires scuffing the pavement could


be heard. The copilot was startled when the Captain yelled, “TVE GOT NO BRAKES! TRY YOUR BRAKES!” In a split second, the copilot had his feet on the toe brake pedals, and he pushed them into the floor three times out of sheer fear. Nothing happened. The Captain grabbed the emergency brake T handle on the pedestal between the two pilots and started to pump it repeatedly as if
he were rowing a boat very rapidly. Nothing happened. The F-28 jet continued to chew up valuable runway’ rapidly while it seemed to float lightly down the runway. It felt as if the shocks didn’t compress so as to put the full weight on the wheels, and by this time, there wasn’t enough runway’ remaining to attempt to do a takeoff (touch the runway’ and go).

The copilot heard a loud scream. He looked to his left and saw it was the captain. He screamed a high-pitched shriek as if someone was falling to his death. He had already shut down the two engines and did everything he could. Now he assumed the brace position with his arms crossed and hands against the dash and his face down from the passenger cabin came the sound of seat
belts being buckled. Even the passengers who took off their seat belts early knew something was wrong. Now it was just a waiting game. The crew could only sit there and wait it out. They were waiting to see if they were going to be able to walk away’ from this or perhaps die. No wonder the captain was screaming.

The crew never did get good braking, and they went off the end of the runway at eighty knots (close to one hundred mph). It was a very rough ride as the front of the aircraft banged over several large rocks that are common in Newfoundland.


The nosewheel snapped off like a toothpick, and the nose of the aircraft slammed against the ground. The pilots felt like they were kicked in their rear. It really hurt! After 420 feet. the aircraft came to a full and complete stop nose down in the mud and in the dark of night. It was late-ll:00 p.m. Newfoundland time.

the black boxe2

“Evacuate! Evacuate! Evacuate!” These were the next words the flight attendants were yelling at the top of their lungs. The copilot tried to open the main door right behind the captain. but it wouldn’t completely open due to the ground sloping upward. Then quickly he tried to open the door on the opposite side. behind where the copilot is seated as seen in the photo above. Through this door. the crew got everyone out safely. then came the head count to make sure everyone was present and accounted for. It took over an hour for the city. which was very near the airport. to send a local bus to come and pick up the passengers. This was before 9/11 ever happened; things might take longer to…

To buy THE BLACK BOX “Dead Pilots Don’t Talk” by  Captain Terrance W. MacDonald, click here.

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The Piano | #BestRead

Xlibris Reviews

Author: H.J
Title: The Piano
City: Bloomington
Book Publisher: Xlibris LLC
ISBN: 978-1-49315-849-2
Published: 1/15/2014
Format: Perfect Bound Softcover



She’s his musical inspiration. He’s her writing muse. They’re as passionate about each other as they are about their professions, if not even more. Each enriches and completes the other, like pen does to paper, like notes to a melody. It’s the kind of love that everybody hopes for, one that’s gentle, honest, supportive, and true—the kind of love that they themselves had hoped for all their lives, though neither one of them had ever thought they’d find it. Gladly, each was proven wrong, but dark shadows still exist and are looming. Inner wars begin to wage. Can traumas be healed and self-forgiveness ever be found? The worlds both around and within them weaken, but the love shared between them does not—even if that’s not so clear at the time. When earthly limits are reached, soulful passion takes over and speaks instead. (Inspired by a true gentleman’s existence that I am blessed and fortunate to fondly recall. Thank you.)


Book Teaser

One… xx

The piano sat by our floor-to-ceiling window, which the evening sun shone through. He sat there with that playful smirk on his face. that smile he reserved just for me, that was somewhere between a flirty ‘Come and get me’ and ‘I love you. l’m yours’. God, I loved it.

I stood there, awestruck. He knew it and humoured me, not moving an inch. Instinctively, I reach for my notebook and click the pen to life. Studying him, I begin to write, trying to capture every emotion, every detail.

Lost in a muse. absorbed in a swirling whirlwind of thoughts. I concentrate. l’m a perfectionist. This has to be perfect, or I’ll feel inadequate. I’ll be a disappointment-a letdown. l’m struggling for words here. Behind the fog. I can hear him softly chortle; my concentration and frustration must have been written all over my face. Apparently, l’m cute when I get like that.

“What’s wrong?” he asks, stepping toward me. His hand reaches for mine, and when our fingers interlace, l’m forced to drop the pen.

“I love you. and I can’t tell you enough. I need to show you. I wish I could show you with words. but this is suffocating. God dammit!’ ln frustrated agony, I hide my face behind my hair, resting my forehead on his chest. ‘’I love you, I love you. I love you. I love you. l’m distracting you. l’m sorry”.

He giggles again softly. I feel the rise and fall of his chest. Now l’m full of butterflies-those childhood first-love butterflies that give you shivers and make your soul fly. His other hand mingles with my hair adoringly.

“No, you’re IN-SPIR-ING me, you HON-EST person”.-:) Latin. Latin root words. Spir meant breathe and honest meant perfect-most or most perfect. “I love you”.

I let out a content, relieved sigh. Somehow, I was perfect to him. Somehow none of my scars mattered. My little quirks that I personally hated made me the person that he loves. I can feel my bubbly inner child come out; in his arms, I start to wriggle and dance with happiness. I look up with the biggest smile on my face. I look up to see him smiling down at me with a smile just as big. his eyes ablaze with sparkles. Sparkles that Icaused! Sparkles of his love for me.

I kiss his nose before moving down to his lips and caressing his face in my palm. He kisses back and moves a strand of hair away from my face. “I still think you’re more perfect than I aml” I insist. He laughs that loud, joyous laugh that makes him throw his head back and sing to the sky. My heart leaps along with the rhythm.

“Oh please! Do me a favour, beautiful”. he says after he moves the rest of my hair back in place.

“Mhmml?” I’ll always be eager to please him and do my best to make sure he’s happy.

“A couple things, actually”.

“I’ll do anything”.

He kisses me softly and continues.

“One, stop hiding!” He ruffles my hair. “Two, remember I love you-every bit of you”.

I bite my lip, trying to contain the joy. I’ll never get over those words and the ramifications they brought with them.

“And three, never change. It’s enough for me if you stay just the way you are. Don’t worry about finding the right words. They’ll come. All I really need is you-your love and this heartbeat”.


About the Author

I write to inspire people, whether it’s to inspire dreams or inspire courage, and to restore hope again. [hope I can do that at some point in my lifetime. I take everything as a learning experience, a chance to grow and possibly inspire. I guess I’m the type of person who doesn’t say much, but when I do, it means a lot.

Writing really picked up for me in my early teens, though I’d always loved it as a kid. English was my favourite subject, ahead of art. In my teens, it was no longer just a fun obligation; it became my release, my venting portal. Soon enough, my writing defined me.

I don’t let much define me, but I can’t deny the power of words and experience. It’s a beautiful thing to share your story-to share your thoughts, wishes, hopes, dreams, and secrets and to watch them make an impact on someone’s life or even your own. That is what drove me to keep going back then. It’s what drove me here; it pushes me to keep
moving forward.

Needless to say, you can always find a bit of me in every one of my stories and pieces of work. Perhaps then, this ‘About the Author’ section isn’t really needed. Nonetheless, here it is for those of you who are curious as to how this little mind of mine works.

I live in the worlds I create. I create the worlds 1 live in. Pain is my inspiration.

And I am here to show you that someone understands, that you are not nor will you ever be alone, and that there’s still hope left to hold on to out there.

Sending you love, support and friendship from Canada.



written a book - xlibris book publishing

Spring Specials | Xlibris Promo

xlibris promo us

With spring come blossoming flowers, warm weather, and feelings of rebirth and rejuvenation. To celebrate the advent of this new season, we at Xlibris offer these publishing, marketing, and bookselling specials, all designed to breathe life into your writing passions and give you renewed literary vigor.

How to Promote Your Book on a Budget – Part 3

A low-cost yet effective book marketing strategy is like succinct writing that can get your message across in just a few words. You can find ways to trim your marketing cost and still reach more readers in the same way as you can weed your words to render your book worth a reader’s time.

And because we know that writing and self-publishing on the whole is a tough one-man act, the Xlibris Writer’s Workshop gives you more book marketing ideas to suit your budget.

Xlibris gives you more tips on how to market your book without fishing deeper into your pocket.

Tweet away
In only 140 characters or less, you can word the perfect pitch for your book on one of the 10 most-visited websites in the planet. All this for free. Need we say more?

Find out how you can make the most of your marketing on Twitter here.

Post questions and discussion topics on your website
Your questions and conversation topics can attract readers and book clubs that can help you spread the word.

Create a Facebook Fan Page
A Facebook fan page is searchable in Google, hence a good way to build your online presence. This Facebook feature also shows you page insights that track the number of your followers, likes, post reach, and engagement from your fans.Get more tips from an article about the Xlibris Facebook Page here.

Ask a friend to host a book party in your behalf
Make sure that you seek the help of one of your popular friends to host your book event so as to draw more attendees.

Seek the help of local retailers
Offer your books up for sale not only at bookstores but also at your neighborhood gift shops, restaurants, and other establishments. Even a consignment deal wouldn’t hurt when you think of the exposure you could get.

Instagram it
In this day and age of the selfies, why not post your book selfie and quotes on Instagram? With the undeniable power of visuals, an Instagram account for your book can bring a whole new meaning to selfies. Self-publishing is close to a literary selfie after all.

Review other authors’ works
Networking is a great way to connect with other authors in and outside your genre. By writing a review of their books, they might be willing to return the favor.

Build a Goodreads account
Create a Goodreads profile to build an aura of a legit published writer. With around 20 million members as of July 2013, the online book database can introduce you to a horde of authors, book worms, and possibly influential people in the book industry.

More budget-friendly book marketing strategies come your way here on the Xlibris Writer’s Workshop.

Related article:

Xlibris Presents How to Promote Your Book on a Budget – Part 1
Xlibris Presents How to Promote Your Book on a Budget – Part 2


written a book - xlibris book publishing