Cross Winds: Adventure and Entrepreneurship in the Russian Far East
Reviewed By: Susan Keefe
Susan Keefe reviews and promotes poetry, fiction and non-fiction, and is also author of the Toby's Tails series of children's books.
Steven Myers, the award-winning author of this awe-inspiring book has had an unparalleled career. He graduated from Stanford University with a BS in Mathematics, is a serial entrepreneur, director of public and private company boards, CEO, coach, author, public speaker, and aviator. He has achieved astonishing success with his company SM&A, which is an international management consulting firm serving aerospace and defense, aviation, telecommunications and other high-tech industry clients, he is a two-time US Air Force veteran, and a loving husband and father.
In this incredible story which is accompanied by amazing photographs, the author pays homage to the famous Charles Lindbergh, the American aviator who made the first non-stop transatlantic aircraft flight in 1927. He does this by sharing with his readers his own incredible adventure when in 1992 he became the first American aviator to pilot an aircraft into the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula, since Charles and Anne Lindberg’s flight in 1931.
Steven Myers amazing adventure was an incredible aviation feat, and one which had to be completed adhering to the three basic rules of aviation: Don’t crash, don’t run out of gas, and don’t get lost. The latter was a challenge as in 1992 the Air Force had a few satellites in orbit, but although GPS was being created and was starting to appear for land and boat use, there was nothing available for the aviation market.
With fortitude and attention to detail, this serial entrepreneur, called upon his knowledge, meticulous planning, and determination and then on the 4th July 1992 he began this epic journey, flying out of US airspace, across the Bering Strait, into former Soviet Union airspace, through Siberia, and into the Kamchatka peninsula. He was accompanied by Tom Heinsheimer, space scientist and Vice President of SM&A, Tom’s wife, Julie, an expert in Russian cultural affairs, Ed Beall, a Torrance architect and urban planner, Mike Stoner, 31, of Palos Verdes, a photographer and documentary film producer. When they eventually touched down at Russia’s Provideniya airport, they were joined by Viktor Shlyaev who had been assigned to fly with them whilst they were in Russia. This likable man was their interpreter, navigator, companion, and, of course, the eyes of the State.
The journey for all concerned was amazing and the book has wonderful photographs. Through the author’s incredibly descriptive writing the diverse landscapes they viewed comes alive. From Icebergs in Alaska to the scenery of the Kamchatka River Valley, which runs south between the two ranges and contains twenty-nine active volcanos. He also treats us to fly-on-the-wall glimpses into the everyday lives of the people he visited, from remote villagers to mighty Heads of State.
For those interested in aviation and technology the details throughout the book will provide an in-depth insight into aviation and space technology.
With this flight Steven Myers also helped create a union between the United States and the governor of Kamchatka being pivotal in establishing one of the first successful Russian-American ventures. He helped create a refueling base for carriers with international cargo near the city of Petropavlovsk and introduced entrepreneurship into post-Soviet Russia. In doing so he pioneered expansive business enterprises with the potential to transform the lives of the people of the Russian Far East.
I have never read a book which can come anywhere near this one as a real-life adventure, an expedition into unknown territory, facing dangerous situations, and throughout told by the man himself, ‘the real deal.’ In this book the author reflects on what makes people like Lindberg go on to live exceptional lives, and where do they get the courage from? For me, he answers this question by telling his readers his own near-death experience at the bottom of a crevasse on Mt. Rainier. He reveals that during the experience he never considered he would not survive, perhaps it was his ability to face adversity with courage, and discovering his inner strength which led him to go on to live his own remarkable life and has made him the man he is today. Highly recommended!
Author’s Website: https://stevenmyers.com/