No Fear of Flying: Liza O’Connor’s Life’s Lessons and Saving Casey

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The Danger of Running on half your magnetos.

Not the same plane 2When I was younger, I used to fly small Cessnas. (like the one on the left). I first chose to do it to challenge myself. I’m pretty well fearless, so the possibility of dying didn’t bother me in the least. I had just gotten rid of my husband who had tried to kill me three times. In comparison, flying small planes sounded safe and exhilarating. I was pretty sure the pilot training me would NOT try to kill me given he’s in the plane as well.

Learning to fly had its ups and down.

My first instructor was a Romeo. He was cute, but I was trying to learn to fly, so I didn’t appreciate his groping. It was distracting. Then one day as I was coming in for a landing, an idiot pilot who had landed before me just stopped and sat on the runway. I announced I was doing a go around, but Gropey took charge and instead of giving it a bit more power and raising the nose of the plane, he dive bombs right at the plane sitting on the runway. I was pretty sure we were all about to die. Thankfully, he pulled up right before he reached the plane and just skimmed over the top of it and then rose to do a proper go around. He then gave the control back to me.

I brought the plane around and by the time I returned to land, the idiot who had stopped his plane on the runway was gone, so I landed and taxied the plane to its tie down. All was well until we entered the building to sign out from our flight. A very angry man storms up, declaring he’ll have my license. I raised my hands and assured him I had nothing to do with it and scurried off to the office where I told the owner what had happened, and Gropey got fired.

My next instructor was a complete ass. I hated him. Looking back, I wonder if he was friends with Gropey and blamed me for his firing.) After a couple of weeks of him screaming at me, I went back to the head guy and asked if I could have another instructor. Instead of giving me another instructor he said he’d teach me. I always wondered if he took me on to determine if I was a problem flyer. However, we got along splendidly and finally, I learned to fly properly.

Once I got my license, I continued to fly from the same airport. Then something horrible happened… the flight school was sold to new owners who evidently thought plane maintenance was an unnecessary cost. Thus a few months into their ownership, when I did the prestart, half the magnetos weren’t working, which meant the engine only had half its power. I returned to the office and asked for a different plane. None were available. So I made note in the log that the plane needed repair and went home. The next weekend I arrived and the plane had yet to be repaired. The girl at the office assured me everyone else was flying the plane just fine. Next weekend she said maintenance had fixed the problem, so I handed over my credit card, got the keys and jogged out to the plane.

You cannot fathom my outrage when the right magnetos were still out. But I desperately wanted to fly and clearly everyone could fly a plane on half its magnetos, so off I go.

Everything was fine on my way out (I had a tailwind). But when I turned to go home, I realized I was in serious trouble. On half power, the plane made little forward ground progress against the headwind. As HOURS passed and I watched the fuel drop, I grew very worried and contemplated possible landing options. Unfortunately, this airport was in a high density area of New Jersey. Other than the land for the runways everything else was commercial buildings, major packed highways, Water tanks, and the ocean to my right. If I had to emergency land, it would have to be in the ocean or the narrow strip of beach. Thankfully the wind died back a bit and I started to make better progress. When I finally reached the airport, I came in too fast and hit the runaway hard enough to bounce my plane back into air. Normally, I’d apply power and do a go around, but not this time. Today, I was landing now. So I forced it back down, eventually brought it to a halt.

After shutting it down, I stormed into the office and yelled at the girl who’d told me it had been fixed. I also refused to pay for all the “extra time” I had spent beyond my allotted time.

And I never used Linden airport again. I tried two other airports, but one was too congested and the other one was just a single runway which meant you often had to land with a crosswind. After a near death cross-wind landing, I re-evaluated why I was flying planes. It had begun as a challenge, became for a short time exhilarating, grand achievement, but had recently fallen into a state of constant stress, and it was very expensive. So I put all my pilot stuff away and moved onto gardening.

In Saving Casey, I gave my experience to Cass, which she turned into a life lesson. She has lots of life lessons.

Saving Casey 400 x 640

Saving Casey


Liza O’Connor


Saving Casey Requires Rescue


Book 1 of the

Requires Rescue Series

Contemporary Suspense



When 80 year old Cass Goldman learns she has inoperable cancer, she decides to end her life, peacefully on her terms. So imagine her horror when she wakes to find herself in a hospital with strange rich people staring at her. It’s not until the doctor arrives to examine her that she realizes she’s no longer old. She’s in the body of a seventeen year old teen named Casey.

Unfortunately, her new body comes with some serious baggage. First of all, the kid has burned every bridge imaginable. Secondly, those ‘people’ in her room are her outrageously rich parents and while the Dad seems friendly, the mother wants nothing to do with her. The moment they take her home to a horrifically huge mansion, which she dubs Tara, she’s abandoned to the care of the butler.

While Cass is determined to turn this train wreck of a life around, doing so is far harder than she expected. In fact, without help, she’ll end up dead just like the last occupant of this body. Thankfully, her dad has his hunky head of security become her body guard. Between her eighty years of life lessons and hunky Troy’s help, she just might live long enough not to be jail bait.



Troy and Cass’s new transport was a two-seater Cessna, which meant one of them had to fly the damn thing. “I hope you know how to fly, because my license is expired. I’d probably push the throttle all the way in instead of the carburetor heat when landing.”

He chuckled. “Good thing I’m flying.”

She followed him about the plane during his walk-about and then read the checklist aloud once they were inside.

“You didn’t check the magnetos separately,” she complained.

“We’re in a hurry here,” he grumbled.

“So stop wasting time.”

Softly cursing beneath his breath, he checked first the right and then the left magnetos. They both purred. “Can we go now?”

She returned the checklist to its place. “Seatbelt on, luggage safely stored.”

Losing patience with her, he powered up and taxied down the runway.

She smiled. It had been over forty years since she had flown a plane. “Any chance you’ll let me take off?”

“None whatsoever.” He pulled out the throttle and barreled down the runway, picking up speed, finally pulling back on the yoke, lifting the plane smoothly into the night sky.

“Almost as nice as mine,” she said and stared out the windows. “Plane at three o’clock,” she warned as she spotted blinking red and green lights.

“Where? Got it,” he replied. Once they were away from the airport, he smiled at her. “Want to hold the plane steady for me?”

She smiled and took hold of the yoke on her side. “What’s our course?”


Either she’d forgotten the joy of flying, or teenage supersized sensations enhanced the experience. Her body sang with happiness.






Liza O’Connor is a nut.

Not a real nut, but she is prone to being a smart ass at times, and not surprisingly her heroines say odd and inappropriate things in her book, as well. So even in a suspense novel you can expect to laugh along the way. That’s because Liza loves to see humor in the crazy world around her.

Saving Casey was actually the first book Liza published. Having recently reclaimed her rights to the book, she is happily re-publishing it as her 18th book. And because her books sell better when in a series, she using Saving Casey to kick of a new series called Requires Rescue. It will be different from her other series where the same characters show up in each book. This series will be about strong women who are trying to go it alone, only when help is offered, they have the good sense to accept the helping hand, because in all of our lives, there will come a time you need someone else to help you. Being strong doesn’t make us invincible. Book 1 is Casey/Cass’s story. Book 2 will be about an entirely different young woman who desperately needs help before she’s murdered on the streets of NYC. Book 3, well the plot is super unique, and more books will follow.

You’ll be able to read the series in any order you want, but in each case, you’ll have a strong young woman, a guy stepping up to help when no one else does, and danger galore with humor stuffed in anywhere I can.

I hope you’ll come along with me so you can laugh, love, and get revenge.





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8 Responses to No Fear of Flying: Liza O’Connor’s Life’s Lessons and Saving Casey

  1. Liza, you lead an interesting life. I love your articles because I never know what to expect next.

    I hope your book does well. Every new release is an adventure! Maybe not like flying…


  2. D'Ann says:

    I can’t believe some of that stuff! Wow! Glad you’re still here and alive!


    • lizaoconnor says:

      On several occasions wind gusts tipped my plane just as I was landing. Only fast reactions saved me. But they didn’t have to do with the magnetos issue, so I cut them from this blog.


  3. I also like to fly – either the plane or in the plane – but my husband’s an air triaffic controller and he hates flying – lol
    Great story. Glad all the new death experiences missed!


    • lizaoconnor says:

      Given all the troubles and near misses ATC deals with, I don’t blame him. I have a funny ATC story I’ll share when appropriate. I was coming in and could not understand a word the ATC guy said. Did I fake it or fess up? Make a guess.


  4. Melissa Keir says:

    I can see that flying a plane is fun because it puts you in charge. Sometimes I don’t trust others with my life. But as an author, you are amazing! I love Saving Casey and think that she was brave for so long… Cass was just the perfect person to help her.


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