National WWI Museum and Memorial
Flights for Freedom
by Steven Burgauer
The dangers of flying an open-cockpit WWI aeroplane were many. Flights for Freedom is the exciting story of one brave American flyer — “Petrol” Petronas of the 17th Aero Squadron — as he learns to master the undisciplined two-winged fighter called a Sopwith Camel.
Shot down over France during the course of a bruising air battle, Petrol is then shuttled from safehouse to safehouse by a beautiful yet defiant woman of the Dutch Resistance.
In the background is the poppy-covered landscape known to us as Flanders Fields, a battlefield choked with dead and dying soldiers. Children, orphaned by the war, find safety with a kindly Catholic priest, who raises carrier pigeons vital to the war effort on the rooftop of his Abbey. Every day, his birds carry secret messages to and from the frontlines for Signal Corps.
Life-threatening challenges lay at every turn.
Two thousand volts pulsate through the electrified border fence that separates Holland from Belgium, enough to kill a man. The trick in crossing the border alive is in knowing who to bribe and how much to pay. Otherwise, there is no way for a downed American flyer to get safely across the heavily patrolled border into Holland and back to England.
Will Petrol make it back to England alive? Will he make it back carrying the top-secret plans for an advanced gunsight that has been smuggled at great risk out of Holland hidden inside an embroidered cotton flour sack?
Join the story and find out.
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