Sabotage in the Sky: A Heated Rivalry, a Heated Romance, and High-flying Danger

Sabotage in the Sky: A Heated Rivalry, a Heated Romance, and High-flying Danger

by L. Ron Hubbard

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Bill Trevillian is as ruggedly handsome as he is bold and brave.  Kip Lee is as strikingly beautiful as she is fiery and fearless.  And they’ve got something in common.  They’re both test pilots . . . for rival aviation companies.  Put them together and, like a young Tracy and Hepburn, sparks are bound to fly.

The Second


Bill Trevillian is as ruggedly handsome as he is bold and brave.  Kip Lee is as strikingly beautiful as she is fiery and fearless.  And they’ve got something in common.  They’re both test pilots . . . for rival aviation companies.  Put them together and, like a young Tracy and Hepburn, sparks are bound to fly.

The Second World War is raging in Europe, and England and France are looking to America for a fighter plane to match up with the superior Nazi Messerschmitt.  The competition between Bill and Kip is fierce, and the stakes are stratospheric.  Because there’s an added element in the mix: a deadly saboteur.

People say all’s fair in love and war, but when there’s Sabotage in the Sky, the flight path from heated rivalry to heated romance could lead Bill and Kip to crash and burn.

“If you crave air adventure written by an airman who knows what a hot plane can do, don’t miss Sabotage in the Sky,” wrote the editor introducing the story in 1940. And Hubbard’s knowledge proved prophetic—unknown to the FBI, the German intelligence service, the Abwehr, was actively gathering intelligence about American military aircraft designs and manufacturing. The author also had personal aviation experience, earning a reputation as a daredevil pilot barnstorming across the United States, landing in farmer’s fields and skimming over the top of telephone wires—experiences he put to good use as a well-known aviation correspondent and one of the most accomplished writers of aviation adventure.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Another slim Hubbard reissue-this one originally appeared in 1940-offers an example of his pulpy men's adventure fiction. Nazi Col. Erich Von Straub is dispatched to the United States to infiltrate the aviation industry as a saboteur under the guise of "a whiz on engines." Two U.S. aerospace companies, Beryl-Cannard Airlines and Lee Aircraft, are competing to design planes for the French and British that can dominate the fierce Messerschmitt 118D. Little does Von Straub know he's walking into a budding romance between competing test pilots Bill and Kip, who accuse each other of Von Straub's handiwork as their relationship blossoms. Banged out fast, the unpolished prose relies on the fast plot and colorful aviation patois to carry it. It does the pulpy thing just fine. (July)

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From the Publisher

". . . a huge capacity for big adventure, big color, very dramatic colorful locales, urgent suspense and fascinating characters with fascinating histories." —Tim Powers

"L. Ron Hubbard was a skilled and prolific author of the legendary ‘golden age’ of pulp fiction magazines. Now Galaxy Press is reprinting those long out of print Hubbard action/adventure tales as part of their ‘Stories from the Golden Age’ series. Sabotage in the Sky is one Hubbard’s stories based on then advanced technologies of aircraft and powered flight and was originally published in 1940. It has everything from a love interest, to ruthless competition within the aviation industry that includes the prospect of Nazi sabotage, riveting cliff-hanger action, and the colorful aviation patois of the period. Also highly recommended for aviation action/adventure pulp fiction fans are such other newly published Galaxy Press titles by L. Ron Hubbard as On Blazing Wings; Red Death Over China; Sky Birds Dare!; and Trouble on His Wings."
—Midwest Book Review

"…fast plot and colorful aviation patois."—Publishers Weekly

"World War II adventure about competing American airplane designers ...[the] test pilots lives are in jeopardy at the hands of a Nazi infiltrator...." —Booklist

Product Details

Galaxy Press, LLC
Publication date:
Military & War Short Stories Collection
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
757 KB
Age Range:
10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Erich Von Straug resembled very little the stiff Nazi officer who had, so recently, clicked his heels and bowed shortly to the Minister of the Air in Berlin. Then his manner had been perfectly Prussian.

The Minister of the Air in Berlin had said, “Colonel, according to your record, you studied aeronautical engineering in the United States and you speak the language and know the country. We have a great deal of faith in you. I have had you report here to inform you that you are leaving, via Italy, with properly forged passports and birth certificates, for the United States.”

“Yes, sir,” said von Straub.

“The English and the French are depending on the planes of the United States to achieve their air supremacy. Already we have a sufficient number of agents at work in United States aircraft plants, but they are watched so closely that they can do very little. You, Colonel, have always been a man of resource and intelligence.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“You understand that unless this flow of superior planes is at least hampered, we cannot long hope to continue victorious in the sky. We believe that the best method of hampering this flow of planes is to influence English and French opinion of them. Soon we will have the Messerschmitt 118D for pursuit. It has been brought to us that the United States has, in experimental condition, the one plane which will defeat the Messerschmitt 118D. One other plane is nearly equal to it. The British and French are trying to buy these two types of ship. If those planes convince the British and French that they are superior, the manufacture of the Messerschmitt 118D will be reduced in importance. But, Colonel, you are a resourceful man.

“We are not tampering with our production of the Messerschmitt 118D. We will depend upon you to keep the British and French from buying either of these two American planes and then, because 118D is a secret we will maintain with our lives, we will suddenly be able to take over the sky from the English, sweep their isles, down their retaliating bombers, and so bring victory to our glorious cause.

“If you can arrange to convince the English and French that these two American planes are neither safe nor fast, you will find yourself a hero in your own land. Failing that, you will deliver to us a complete plane of each type. Ample funds are at your disposal. The lives of your brother officers depend upon you, so work well!”

“Heil Hitler!” von Straub piously said, turning sharply and marching away.

But Erich von Straub, a man of resource and intelligence, did not at all resemble Albert Straud who had, very recently, been hired as an aviation mechanic by Beryl-Cannard Airlines.

Albert Straud was obviously a Teuton, but then so are a large percent of the employees of all aircraft companies in the United States. His blond hair was curly and his eyes were mild and of an innocent blue; he was of medium stature and only passingly handsome; his bearing had no suggestion of the military, but leaned rather into careless ease. He was cheerful and conversational and helpful and, in fact, lived up completely to the fine letters of recommendation he had brought—letters which had been taken from a Boeing man who had somehow managed to get himself killed in an automobile crash.

He stood just now, this Albert Straud, on the apron of the BCA plant’s second hangar and scanned, with a fellow employee, the murky heights of the southern sky—for BCA is only thirty miles from Washington, DC, and shares Washington, DC’s climate.

There was a flash of silver up there and a powerful engine became loud so suddenly that it sounded more like an explosion than an approaching plane. Abruptly the roar stopped. The silver became a low-wing monoplane, stabbing down at the field. And nearly every man on the BCA property froze, drop-jawed and unbreathing.

Planes landing there were too common to be remarked. But two things were different about this ship. One was that it was coming in upside down, and the other, that it probably contained one Bill Trevillian, absent from these parts for nearly four years.

Straight down the runway streaked the ship, the pilot seemingly wholly undisturbed by this reversal of the average state of scenery. And then, almost at the stalling point, when it seemed that he must inevitably crash, he snap rolled! And when the plane’s landing gear was under it where it should have been all the time, the wheels were also being rotated by an instantaneous contact with earth.

There was a furious geyser of dust at the runway’s end and the field was full of a joyous bellow of power—and the silver ship nearly took off again, headed toward the hangars.

Another cloud, then the sputter of a cut motor, and there sat the plane, parked neatly on the line, in between two fighting planes, almost touching wings on either side.

“Well, well, well!” said Albert Straud. “I have not seen that since the great Udet. Any idea who the pilot might be?”

His companion, a stocky fellow with a wise eye and a mouth full of tobacco, namely Greasy Hannagan, spat and drawled, “You evidently ain’t never seen Bill Trevillian before, buddy.

Him and Udet used to pick handkerchiefs out of the breast pockets of each other’s Sunday suits with their wing tips.”

“Bill Trevillian? Oh, yes. The racing pilot. I should like to know him.”

“You’ll know him all right, buddy. You and me is goin’ to be his repair crew. He’s up here from Mexico to take charge of the BCA 41 Pursuit.”

“Ah. So they’ve been waiting for him before they tried it again.”

“Yeah. They been waiting for him. Hello, Bill, you old scatter-wit!”

“’Lo, Greasy. You wouldn’t be putting on weight, would you?”

“Hell,” said Greasy, “what’s the difference? Ain’t like it used to be, conserving the payload. How you been?”

Bill Trevillian had eased half out of the pit and sat now on the turtleback, his long, booted legs dangling, while he untangled himself from his radio helmet and oxygen mask.

He was good-looking in a sleepy sort of way, very tall, very languid, always looking for something upon which to lean his obviously weary soul. Down in his eyes there lay a watchful spark of humor, and upon his lips there always lingered the ghost of his last smile and the beginning of the next.


Meet the Author

With 19 New York Times bestsellers and more than 230 million copies of his works in circulation, L. Ron Hubbard is among the most acclaimed and widely read authors of our time. As a leading light of American Pulp Fiction through the 1930s and '40s, he is further among the most influential authors of the modern age. Indeed, from Ray Bradbury to Stephen King, there is scarcely a master of imaginative tales who has not paid tribute to L. Ron Hubbard.

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