Tuesday, August 2, 2016

High Flying Adventure!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  What happens when a female search and rescue helicopter pilot, a stringent rule follower, is assigned to an anything-goes flight squadron? To those guys, rules serve merely as suggestions—but everyone knows lives are at stake. In the high peaks of California’s Sierra Nevada, our heroine is introduced to a wild, beautiful world of adventure and one very handsome mountain guide. Her carefully planned life is turned upside down, and it leaves her questioning every truth she thought she knew about herself.  Flying, danger, rescue, and romance.

Yes, yes! We love this. And it’s Anne Wilson’s second thriller, the brand new high-flying CLEAR TO LIFT.

Anne is a wife and mother, two kids, and lives in California. But whoa.  Can you imagine her sons taking her to “what my mom does for a living” day?  They win for cool.

When Anne was in the navy, she was stationed for three years at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada. Her squadron specialized in high altitude, technical mountain rescue. They’d swoop up and down the Sierra Nevada—a mountain range littered with 12,000- and 13,000-foot peaks—and assist local county sheriffs and their search and rescue teams with air support.

See this photo? That’s Anne in the cockpit!

So while she and her crew are choppering above at however many thousand feet—how do they find the desperate person waiting below? And what if that person is you? Anne—as always—to the rescue.

Lost in the Outdoors? 
           15 Tips to Help Search and Rescue Teams Find You
                          By Anne Wilson
          
CLEAR TO LIFT is fiction—but I used my real life experience flying search and rescue to write it. When an air crew is searching for a lost person in the wilderness, it’s usually a needle-in-the-haystack scenario. It’s extremely difficult to find a tiny person in a big place, like a vast swath of forested land or an expansive mountain range. So before you head to the outdoors, it’s a good idea to plan ahead so you’re prepared in case you get lost.
Here are 15 things you can do to increase the likelihood of a rescue team finding you.

          1. Bright colored clothing. Fluorescent orange and green clothing may seem excessively bright when viewed up close, but to a mountain search and rescue pilot, these colors serve as a beacon. If you’re lost, you want to stand out from the surrounding terrain, so take a brightly colored jacket, shirt, or backpack with you, just in case. 

           2. Space blankets. These are lightweight and pack down very small—the size of a travel pack of tissues—but they are shiny and silver and reflect the sun really well. Aluminum foil also works.

        3.Mirrors. Pack a small mirror. These provide brilliant flashes of light when the sun’s rays hit them that are easily visible to an air crew.

        4.Smoke. Pilots can see smoke from miles away. Ensure you’re in a clear area, if possible, before striking a match. Green vegetation makes for a highly visible smoke column.
      
       5. Fire. It’s easier to see a fire at night than smoke. If you can do so in a clear area, this will be a big help to those looking for you

       6. Get out in the open. It’s  highly unlikely that an airborne search crew will find you if you’re crouched low and hiding behind a rock. Get out to that clearing. That meadow. The road. The trail.

      7. Get high. The natural tendency for lost souls is to hike down into drainages, perhaps in the search for water. And yes, water is important in a survival situation, but if you hear helicopter blades beating the air nearby, you want to be high. Try to get to a ridgeline, if at all possible  

       8.Man-made symbols. When flying in the wilderness, nothing stands out to an airborne rescue crew like something man-made. Straight lines rarely occur in nature. Trees, logs, boulders—all of these are crooked and jagged and lay helter skelter across the landscape. So create something that will stand out to an aircrew by arranging items in a straight manner, like positioning logs end-to-end in a straight line, or creating a perfect square. Even better, arrange logs in the shape of an arrow to direct search teams to your position or to indicate the direction you’ve decided to start walking. If in winter conditions, stomp a big X in the snow.

      9. Pencil flares. This are lightweight and small, but they can be a life saver. A flare is hard to miss for an airborne search crew.

     10. Stay by your car. It depends on the circumstances, of course, but in terms of an aircrew team’s ability to find you, a car is easier to spot than a person.

      11.Movement. If you hear a rescue aircraft overhead, don’t sit still. You want to do something to stand out from the non-moving trees and rocks around you. Wave a branch, wave a jacket or a shirt, or tie your clothing onto the branch and wave that. Bonus points if your clothing is brightly colored! 

    12. Reflective tape. Whether on a jacket, a backpack, or a climbing helmet, this is especially helpful to a search crew at night

      13. Flashlight/headlamp. Also good for night searches. Blinking lights are easier to see than steady lights. Headlamps have blinking functions, so use this if you see or hear a helicopter flying overhead. If you have a flashlight, you can wave it back and forth

     14. Whistles. This one is for the benefit of ground crews. Parties on the ground will hear a whistle before they’ll hear your voice. It’s also easier to continually blow on a whistle than it is to continually shout

     15. Tell someone where you’re going. I really should have written this first. Always, always, always tells someone where you’re going and when you expect to return. Then contact that person when you get in. An alternative is to put a handwritten note on the dash of your car that says where you plan to go and when you plan to return. This will help the search team narrow their search area, and hopefully, get to you much faster.

I greatly encourage you to get outside and explore the outdoors.

Just a little prior planning and preparation can set you up for a great outing and also have you ready for any unforeseen circumstances.

Thank you, Hank and Jungle Red Writers, for inviting me back to your blog!

HANK: Ah, wow! Thank you, Anne!  Where else but Jungle Red would you get stuff like this?  Reds, are you hikers? Would there be a circumstance where you might find yourself in need of rescue? One of us, me, can answer that in one second. My biggest hike is from the hotel to the beach. 
But I know the rest of you are more intrepid!

*******************************

CLEAR TO LIFT


Navy helicopter pilot Lt. Alison Malone has been assigned to a search and rescue team based at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, near the rugged peaks of the Sierra Nevada, and far from her former elite H-60 squadron. A rule follower by nature, Alison is exasperated and outraged every time she flies with her mission commander, "Boomer" Marks, for whom military procedures are merely a suggestion. Alison is desperate to be transferred out of 
the boonies, where careers stagnate, and back to her life and fianc√© in  San Diego.

Alison's defenses start to slip when she meets mountain guide Will 

Cavanaugh during a particularly dicey mission. Will introduces her

 to a wild, beautiful world of adventure that she has never known

 before. Stranded on a mountain during a sudden dangerous

 blizzard, Alison questions every truth she thought she knew about

 herself. When Will braves the storm to save her life, she must 

confront the fact that she has been living a lie. But is it too late to 

change course?


Full of action and adventure, dangerous and heart-stopping 
rescues, blizzards and floods, family secrets and second chances, Clear to Lift is a thrilling woman's journey as she finds confidence, truth, love, and herself against the majestic backdrop of the Sierra Nevada.

********

Anne A. Wilson graduated from the United States Naval Academy and served nine years active duty as a navy helicopter pilot. This included three years as a search and rescue pilot based at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, located near the Sierra Nevada, where she specialized in high-altitude technical mountain rescue. The Naval Helicopter Association named Anne and her crew Helicopter Aircrew of the Year, an award given for search and rescue. Anne currently resides in Fountain Hills, AZ, with her husband and two sons.  Her debut novel, Hover, was released by Forge Books in June 2015. Her second novel, Clear to Lift, was released on July 12, 2016, also by Forge. To learn more, visit www.anneawilson.com.

59 comments:

Joan Emerson said...

Hike? Me? Afraid not. Since I have absolutely no sense of direction, going around the block can leave me wondering where in the world I am, so if I went off hiking, chances are someone would have to come find me [and I might actually have to use some of Anne’s great suggestions for getting found].

Anne, I really enjoyed “Hover,” so I’m definitely looking forward to reading “Clear to Lift” . . . .

Edith Maxwell said...

Wow, great tips. I don't go solo hiking anymore (barely go hiking at all), but I grew up camping and hiking with my family and with Girl Scouts, in the Sierras, no less! Preparedness was a very big thing. I always have a space blanket in my car glove compartment in case I get stranded in a New England snowstorm.

It kills me when I read of a hiker lost in the mountains of NH or VT who thinks their cell phone is going to be all they need, and they put lives such as yours at risk trying to find them.

Congratulations on your new book! I'm going to take it on vacation next week - I need a hit of my native state.

Grace Koshida said...

Great rescue tips, Anne. I am fortunate that I live in a region with plenty of opporrtunity to go on outdoor recreational outings year-round in nearby Gatineau Park. I go on group hikes 1-2 times/week in the summer/fall. Since there is no cell phone service in most of the park, I definitely take a first aid kit, compass, whistle, space blanket, waterproof matches etc in case we get lost/stuck. And in winter, I love to go on group snowshoeing hikes, esp. at night wearing headlamps. There are a lot more opportunities to get lost since the trails are not well marked, covered in snow & it's night. So even with a knowledgable leader, we sometimes have gotten "lost".

Kait said...

Wow! I am so impressed. What a wonderful post. I always wondered about those little rescue blanket squares. They seem so flimsy even though I do carry a couple in my pack and always in the car. Good to know they work. I learned my Girl Scout and Outward Bound lessons well, marking trails, finding water and such, but there is no 100% and survival tips matter. Thanks for sharing!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Grace! You are amazing! Group snowshoeing night hikes with headlamps ? That's a blog in itself!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

And we just did a big story about how if you call 911 on your cell phone, emergency responders have basically no idea where you are. I hope everyone knows that!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Joan, I am so with you about directions! But we have other skills, right?

Grace Koshida said...

Hank: You have to learn to embrace living in the coldest capital city in the world (Ottawa) which has 4-4.5 months of winter somehow!

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

This is why my idea of "camping" is a great hotel and the Nature Channel....

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hank Phillippi Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hank Phillippi Ryan said...


Susan, I am so with you, sister! I bet the Reds are divided into campers/hikers and non-. Where do you all stand?

Anne is in a different time zone, so she'll be here later . I'd love to know Anne, did you always want to do something fabulously adventurous and rewarding like that?

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Even in my urban setting, I always have safety pins, hand wipes, gum, a flashlight, my cell phone, rubber bands, …what else?

Anne A Wilson said...

Good morning, Reds! Thank you so much for having me. I LOVE your comments so far!

Anne A Wilson said...

Hi Joan, I'm glad you might find my suggestions useful. Even if you're not outdoors a lot, you just never know where you might find yourself or maybe you have a family member who's leaving on a camping trip and you could pass the info along to them. So glad you enjoyed HOVER. I appreciate you reading.

Anne A Wilson said...

Hi Edith, You grew up in the Sierras! I hope CLEAR TO LIFT can bring back some good memories for you. Sounds like you have a good base for survival preparedness. Keeping a space blanket in your car is a great idea. And regarding cell phones, we did have that experience a few times when a hiker would leave thinking he or she only needed a cell phone and they were covered with regard to getting access to help. Cell phones are helpful, yes, but better to have the ability to signal someone in a different way, just in case. Hope you have a great vacation!

Mary Sutton said...

You know, I always see the mirror trick in movies and have wondered how effective is in real life.

I used to hike more than I do know. Way more. My best friend and I camped, and hiking, and biked, and canoed - oh for the days when I was young and my body wasn't falling apart!

Anne A Wilson said...

Grace, thank you for your great comments. When I wrote this article, I needed to narrow the scope, so I tried to cover the main things that would get you noticed by an air crew, which would be things you could do for signaling purposes. You mention some extremely important things to carry with you in case you find yourself in a survival situation--first aid kit, waterproof matches, etc.--so for sure, when you're packing to go on a hike, you have to include the survival items, too. I have to say, I was swooning when you described snowshoeing at night! I agree with Hank, that needs to be a blog article.

Anne A Wilson said...

Hi Kait, glad you enjoyed the article. Happy to hear that you carry the rescue blankets. I'm always looking for survival tips, myself, since my family and I head out to the wilderness a lot. You're right, even if you can pick up one new thing, that could be the one thing you need! Thanks for reading!

Anne A Wilson said...

Hank, you asked the question if I'd always wanted to do something adventurous and rewarding like this. My husband and I have always enjoyed the outdoors. Prior to being stationed in Fallon, we rock climbed and did back country skiing (you climb the mountain and then ski down instead of taking a chair lift) and we still do this now. So we've always enjoyed the outdoors. I had never thought of search and rescue, however, until I was stationed in Fallon. It was one of those lucky life moments where you're put in a situation and then you learn the ropes. I've never done something more rewarding.

Anne A Wilson said...

Hi Mary! Yes, on a sunny day, mirrors work great. You can definitely see those flashes from the sky. You need to aim the mirror's reflection at the aircraft you're targeting, however. CD cases or something reflective like this also work.

Grace Koshida said...

Hi Anne. Some people like to x-country ski the same trails (in the daytime) but I don't ski. Snowshoeing at night is very peaceful and beautiful, but can be tricky as I mentioned above since you are basically slogging several miles through a thin trail in hilly forestland. We should wear brighter clothing though...we generally have black parkas and snow pants, so we would not stand out in a S&R. I like snowshoeing in winter since you do get a better cardio workout than hiking the same trail in the summer/fall. And I didn't mention one of the rewards we do get: a mid-way break at a unheated chalet/log cabin where we rest and eat a potluck snack/meal before heading back.

Anne A Wilson said...

Grace, you cannot imagine how wonderful this sounds to me right now - especially sitting here during another brutal Arizona summer. The peace is what I love the most about the snow and being "out there." I imagine it would be tricky at night, but more than worth it just to be out and moving in such a gorgeous setting. I have never been snowshoeing - not for real. I've put them on and tromped around a small area, but have never headed out for a hike with them. This is definitely on my list!

Karen in Ohio said...

Your list captures my imagination, Anne. I like to make short day hikes, when I get the chance, but will probably never be in a situation that will require such preparation. However, never say never, right? Like Hank says, even in the city it's good to have a number of emergencies covered.

When I was a kid I read about a young girl who was stranded on an island alone. I obsessed for maybe years about what I would take with me, on the remarkably slim chance I was ever anywhere close to a desert island. My travel suitcase would have been super heavy, though, because I knew I would need lots and lots of books.

Grace Koshida said...

Anne, I have only been to Arizona twice. I did enjoy a short 1/2 day hike in the Superstition Mountains near Phoenix in March this year. I loved the gorgeous desert scenery and it was plenty warm for me (high 70s/low 80s), so I can't imagine trying to do any long walks or hikes in the brutal summer Arizona heat! Yes, please put night snowshoeing on your list - it is a lot of fun!

Anne A Wilson said...

Hi Karen, Yes, even in the city you can carry a few essentials that would cover you. The nice thing is that you could put them in a box or a bag in your car and then you could forget about them, but they would be there if you needed them. And oh, am I with you on the books! If you had to pick just one to take with you on a deserted island, could you do it?

Anne A Wilson said...

Grace, the Superstitions are spectacular in the spring. I hope you had a nice show of the wildflowers. For hikes here in the summer, that's definitely a just-before-sunrise sort of activity.

Hallie Ephron said...

This is eye opening... fascinating list. And what a great basis for a mystery novel.

Didn't I just read about reporters going wearing a name tag on their bodies, just in case?

I couldn't survive five minutes in Arizona heat. Or in a snowstorm.

RULE 16: DON'T GO OUT THERE! I confess I don't have much sympathy for people who want their extreme experiences but don't prepare for them.

Karen in Ohio said...

Anne, that was in the early 60's, and I was so torn about which books I should take and which I could bear to leave behind. Now, I'd just take an e-reader loaded with hundreds of books, along with a solar charger. And as long as I had food, shelter, and water, I'd not worry at all about being rescued. Finally! Time to read, without so many daily distractions, right?

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Anne, what do rescuers say yo those reckless and unprepared people?

Anne A Wilson said...

Hank and Hallie, Interesting that you mention the reckless or the unprepared person, because I've been asked about that a lot. In a rescuers eyes - at least in my rescue squadron, anyway - the person needing help was just a person. We never questioned how or why the person got into their predicament, we just focused on getting them out of it.

Anne A Wilson said...

Karen, yes I would probably opt for the e-reader, too! Great idea on the solar charger. Oh, to be distraction free!

Deborah Crombie said...

Anne, great list! And I can't wait to read the book! We have a friend who works search and rescue out of Santa Fe, and it amazes me how many people just wander off into the wilderness. They have their cell phones, but they don't seem to realize that their battery will die, or that there won't be coverage...

My idea of adventure would be a nice stroll through the English countryside with a cozy B&B at the end of the day. But I love armchair adventuring, and am reading Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods at the moment. (Book is SO much better than the movie.)

Rhys said...

Anne and I did an event together this year. I was so impressed with what she has accomplished and the way she makes light of it.

Anne A Wilson said...

Deborah, I do very much love your adventure idea involving a cozy B&B in the English countryside!

Anne A Wilson said...

Hi Rhys! I loved our event together. You have such an engaging personality, as everyone here knows! Loved talking about swimming.

Sharon Fisher said...

I am in awe of search and rescue teams and the work that they do! Thank you for your service. The book sounds great and it is going on my TBR stack.

Ann in Rochester said...

Congratulations on on your new book Anne with a E. I look forward to it.

As for hiking, I'm with Deb. I do walk a mile or so daily with my dogs, but I stick to the neighborhood.

Thank you for your service as a naval officer. My father was a Lt Commander in the Pacific theater during WWII, his proudest moment.

Well done.

Anne A Wilson said...

Thank you, Sharon. I appreciate you giving the book a try.

Anne A Wilson said...

Hi Ann! I like walking, too. I do a lot of my book writing while I'm outside. More blood flow to the brain, I think. Thanks for telling me about your father. I imagine he had quite a few stories to tell.

Pat D said...

Your book sounds great, Anne! I'm not doing too much hiking these days. When we lived in El Paso we'd run up to the mountains in New Mexico to camp and hike. We also had some nice national forests to hike in when we lived in NE Ohio. We did hike the Great Glen Way in Scotland a couple of years or so ago. It was lovely. I hope to move to somewhere beautiful with four seasons again in a few years.
I am quite envious of your career Anne. I would love to go on a helicopter ride but I'm very picky about the details. As in how do you know the pilot is good, how do you know if the copter is properly maintained, etc. etc. So, who knows if I'll ever get my ride. . . I'm looking forward to reading Clear to Lift.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Tell us a little bit more about the book!

Anne A Wilson said...

Hi Pat, Ah, to live in a place with four seasons . . . I totally understand the trepidation in approaching a helicopter ride. Longer-standing companies are usually longer-standing for a reason. So perhaps start with a well-known and tenured company. They will vet their pilots and keep high standards for their maintenance.

Julia said...

Fabulous tips, Anne! I'm going to bookmark this page as my go-to before hiking trips. It's easy to underestimate what can go wrong here in New England, where the mountains are almost all under 5,000 feet. But there's some wild weather that can blow up in New Hampshire, and Maine has vast trackless lands and some of the most rugged portions of the AT.

I'm also dying to lay my hands on your books! I'm a big fan of women helo pilots :-) and would love to meet Alison Malone. I got all my helicopter knowledge from my Dad (Air Force) so I'll keep my eye out for what I got wrong!

Anne A Wilson said...

Okay, Hank, about the book. The main protagonist is Alison Malone, a navy helicopter pilot. She was quite happy with her life. She belonged to an elite, perfect helicopter squadron in San Diego and had an elite, perfect fiance, and pretty much had life figured out . . . until she is sent to Naval Air Station, Fallon, NV, to join the search and rescue squadron there. Here, she's introduced to an anything-goes squadron, whose members may or may not follow the rules, depending on the circumstances. As a strident rule-follower, this drives her crazy. But this group does introduce her to the wilderness, to adventure, and to a certain rugged mountain guide named Will Cavanaugh. She's exposed to some pretty dicey rescues and a whole new way of looking at life, which forces her to reevaluate hers.

Anne A Wilson said...

Hi Julia! In the words of the late great mountain guide Alan Bard, the granite mountains of New Hampshire were some of the scariest mountains he had climbed. I cut my teeth as a skier on the icy slopes of the Northeast. One time, when skiing at Wildcat in NH, the wind chill factor was 101 degrees below zero! That turned into a one-run-and-done ski day. Happy to hear you're a fan of women help pilots! I can't not tell you that I have another book with a female helicopter pilot protagonist. It was my debut novel, HOVER, and it came out last June. This one is set in a navy battle group. A little more of a thriller angle here, but still a love story, too. Sounds like you might like that one, too.

Kathy Reel said...

Wow, Anne! You have such an exciting background. As a little girl, were you interested in flying? And, now turning your experiences into a fascinating book series must be a great feeling. Your tips to enhance one's rescue chances are ones I would certainly follow if I were an outdoors adventurer. Going to put Clear to Lift on my wish list.

Anne A Wilson said...

Hi Kathy! I found my interest for flying while attending the U. S. Naval Academy for college. Every summer, we had professional training where we would go experience the different communities in the navy, and I enjoyed my visit to U. S. Navy Flight School the best. I do enjoy putting a bit of my experiences into these books. It's not something I ever thought I would do--writing, that is--so this has been an adventure in itself! I do hope you enjoy CLEAR TO LIFT.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

I love flying in helicopters! We covered lots of stories that way for years. We had one pilot who thought it was hilarious to fly low over the tops of mountains (in our clear-walled chopper) and then hear me shriek when the out when the bottom seemed like it was dropping out when we flew over the valley. Laff-a-minit!

Anne A Wilson said...

I imagine you've logged lots of hours in helicopters, Hank! For sure, that is a little disconcerting when the bottom drops away from you. Happened a lot to us when taking off from high peaks and dropping into the valleys.

Susan said...

Your book sounds exciting!

Yes, our whole family hikes, and especially when I think of some family hikes I planned for us over the years, I can imagine a scenario where we would need rescued. Most of your tips were familiar to me, but it's good to see them all in one place and be reminded.

Your question reminded me of a favorite story. My 22 year old son was still in high school when the movie 127 Hours came out. (It was the one about the hiker who had to amputate his own arm to save his life.) My son was INCENSED that this movie portrayed him as heroic, saying, "He broke the number one rule of hiking: He went out alone without leaving his itinerary with anyone." He went on to say, more or less, too bad about his arm, but let's not glorify it. He was the only person I knew with that reaction, and I have to admit, once I thought about it, he kind of had a point.

Anne A Wilson said...

Hi Susan, Glad you enjoyed the article. I see you son's point. Yes, he made a mistake in not letting anyone know where he was going. The other piece of that is to ensure you call or contact someone to tell them you're indeed back. There were a couple of times when we had been called on a search and it turns out the person was back and just fine, but never called to tell anyone.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

You are so patient and forgiving, Anne!

And yes, I think our helicopter pilot enjoyed terrifying me….

storytellermary said...

I get lost enough on well-marked roads, even with the help of the GPS. I have done some camping in Boundary Waters, but I had excellent guidance from friends who knew what they were doing, and we never wandered "off the map," at least as far as I knew. Thank goodness for those who rescue! Meanwhile, I'll confine my mountain climbing to the TBR mountain, reaching up, adding one more . . . ;-)

Anne A Wilson said...

Thanks for reading, Mary. My TBR pile is also a little mountain range that avalanches every once and again. I sort of just want to stop life's merry-go-round and only read. Just for a little. Oh, and write. Just for a lot.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Anne, thank you so much for a perfectly wonderful day! See you soon! xooo

Anne A Wilson said...

Thank you for having me, Hank. This was awesome. LOVE your group! xoxo

Reine said...

I used to backpack the Sierra with Steve. We lived just off the Pacific Crest Trail in the Southern Sierra for several years. It's one of the few things I miss be able to do, but I love hearing about other hikers' adventures. I wouldn't trust a GPS I think... maybe, but since learning of the woman lost in Death Valley on a road that took her to the worst possible place I can think of, and I have hiked and camped there... no some things I wonder why we rely on them.

Anonymous said...

Anne,

Congratulations on your novel. It is on my TBR list. When I was in college, I met a very handsome helicopter pilot from Scandinavia on the train. I once rode on an helicopter. When I was about 6 years old, my family and I got on an helicopter called "the Bee", which took us from Oakland Airport across the Bay to the San Francisco Airport so that we could make our flight. I remember that helicopter ride more than the plane ride. I've travelled on planes many times, living out of a suitcase travelling for work.

The search and recuse is very important. I have read news accounts about lost hikers found by search and recuse.

I remember that it is hard for 911 to pinpoint your location if you call for help from a mobile phone.

Diana