dead downwind adv., adj. (often abbreviated as DDW): 1. A sailing and aeronautical term, indicating a condition wherein the wind originates from directly behind a ship or airplane, dead meaning exact or precise. The origin of the term is commonly thought to refer to the location where the wind would most effectively carry the odor of a corpse.

"Bill Riddle is a spellbinding storyteller, and has amplified this fascinating, historically based account with a phenomenal assortment of rare period photographs and actual headlines that further enrich and enhance the readers experience of this riveting saga."


Eden-Lee Murray

Clairemark LTD.

The Astounding Unknown Story of the Epic First Flight to Hawaii

Did you know that Honolulu International Airport was originally named John Rodgers Airport?  Or that the airports main terminal building and the road leading to it are still named for John Rodgers? But who was John Rodgers?

Up to now, the dramatic story of one of the greatest heroes of 20th-century Hawaii has been virtually unknown:

Dead Downwind begins in 1924three years before Charles Lindbergh will fly the Atlantic. At the time a brash young general named Billy Mitchell is attempting to create an independent air force under his own command. To thwart Mitchells ambitions and safeguard the future of naval aviation, Hawaii-based Commander John Rodgers accepts a seemingly impossible and death-defying mission: to lead three wood and canvas biplanes on the first trans-pacific flight from California to Hawaii.

As Rodgers prepares for his mission, his unhappy marriage collapses, and in its wake he meets and falls in love with Akiko, an enchanting Japanese girl. Their ensuing love affair is yet another high-stakes gamble in this story.

From the start, Rodgers attempt electrifies the world and an anxious public holds its breath as an assortment of troubles plague the endeavor.

Meanwhile in mid-America a publicity-grabbing stunt involving the worlds largest dirigible sends disastrous ripples that ultimately affect the fate of Rodgers and his crew. Given up as lost at sea, Rodgers and his intrepid crew battle for their lives as they listen to their obituaries broadcast around the world. The dramatic aftermath changes aviation forever.

Hardcover, 544 pages. More than 200 period photos.