|By Gary Dover (Gdover) on Sunday, February 24, 2002 - 08:33 am:|
A White Knuckle Knight,
120 pages action/family drama
Log Line: A cargo pilot, suffering from a brain tumor, must overcome his physical limitations in order to save a family and his cargo of exotic animals during a severe thunderstorm. Key words: Think the “Perfect Storm over “South Texas.”
Jerry Glover has been in tough situations before; struggling through the Naval Academy, gutting it out to earn a spot on the Blue Angels precision flying team, fighting the enemy during the Persian Gulf War, surviving torture by the enemy and regaining his license to fly after everyone said he was washed up. Flying he can handle.
But this? Just when the storm clouds are parting in his life and career. Great wife, super kid waiting at home for his arrival and now this has to happen. Jerry’s head has been pounding like a jackhammer for the past few days. A covert trip to Juarez and a quick exam by a Mexican doctor reveal what he has already suspected…a brain tumor. All Jerry has to do is make the final leg from Dallas to Memphis and he’s home free. He’s made all the arrangements; a private stay in the hospital, a few weeks rest and he’s got it made. Or does he?
Tango is Jerry’s co-pilot, one “tough ol’ marine.” Her rough exterior belies the fact that she’s one of the best female cargo pilots in the country; she keeps Jerry focused on the mission at hand, which is to deliver two bears, one a killer Grizzly (nicknamed Hitler by Tango) and a Panda (named Ching Ching) to Memphis. One is an NBA mascot; the other is on loan from China for the Memphis Zoo.
GreenPeace has been tracking the flight of Animal Express, an aging C-130. Every animal protestor within a thousand miles has been notified of Jerry’s flight. Dodging bottles and hecklers, Jerry and Tango make a hasty departure as they leave Dallas behind and fly eastward into a pilots worse nightmare…a powerful rogue thunderstorm.
A few hundred miles south, near Austin, Bob Swenson and his daughter, Ashley, make an unscheduled trip in their Cessna 172 to fly to Bellville to pick up some insulin for her. Barely clearing the private airstrip, Bob and Ashley are pummeled to the ground by the vicious storm brewing over the southwest, knocking Bob unconscious. Trapped in the wreckage, Ashley’s mayday is picked by up by a kind-hearted air traffic controller named Hector.
The storm now covers all of Texas. With timeclocks ticking and water rising, Hector scans his radar for a pilot who will risk everthing in order to save the young girl.
Enter Jerry and Tango, who have their hands full, attempting to keep their sabotaged plane airborne while trying to fight off the killer Grizzly, who is now free of his cage and running loose. Tango is severely injured and Jerry must try to keep his co-pilot alive while also trying to stay conscious, as his tumor causes momentary fainting spells. Rain, sleet, lightning, and turbulence beat their airplane mercilessly as mother nature unleashes her wrath on the aging plane. Suffering from persistent pain, Jerry must land the damaged C-130 on the small, remote airstrip. Three tornadoes are within striking distance of the landing zone and the wrecked Cessna.. Jerry must use every ounce of strength to overcome the odds in order to save the young girl, her father, Tango, Ching Ching, Hitler, and finally, himself.
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