By JOHN WOLCOTT
Just published, “Silent Sky” is the first aviation mystery thriller in a new series by pilot Cate Mighell. The sequel is already scrolling across her computer screen.
In July, she captured the attention of many visitors to the three-day Arlington Fly-In that draws 50,000 visitors annually to Arlington Municipal Airport north of Seattle. For six years, Mighell operated Out of the Blue Aviation there, managing a flight school, FBO, charter flights and an air taxi service.
“Set in the Northwest, the story centers on attorney Reina Dessiner, whose mother runs a flight school at a small airport north of Seattle,” Mighell said. “Dessiner defends a wife accused of trying to poison her flamboyant televangelist husband, but winds up nearly losing her own life as events unfold.”
Aviation has a significant role in telling the story. Mighell weaves flying adventures into the mystery’s flow, including trips to Montana and Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. She presents flying as an integral part of her heroine’s life, which is how Mighell sees aviation’s role in her own life.
“When I earned my pilot’s license in 2005 I was so thrilled with the feeling of empowerment that I felt from flying that I decided to open Out of the Blue, where one of my three sons, Kennan, soloed on his 16th birthday,” she said. “That’s the ultimate cool, to be able to say, ‘I flew an airplane!’ That’s why I particularly promoted flying for women and teens at my flight school, which became a big part of my business.”
She saw first-hand that young students she thought would be bored became excited in class about learning to fly.
“In one class, I had three students under 18,” she recalled. “They recognized how empowering aviation is, particularly in our society where women and young people often feel like they’re not empowered. As a pilot in command of an aircraft, they’re in charge of their own destiny and survival, which is an amazingly powerful thing.”
“Soloing in an aircraft is far more impressive for teens than getting a driver’s license,” Mighell emphasized.
Mighell, who sold Out of the Blue Aviation in 2012, operated a small fleet of leased planes, including two Cessna 172s, a Piper Saratoga, Aeronca Champ, Tecnam Bravo and a Remos GX.
“One woman got her pilot’s license, bought an aircraft and leased it back to us,” she said. “She told me her license had changed her life so much — a great reminder to me that many lives have been changed by aviation, including mine.”
Flying doesn’t have to become a career, she noted.
“You can enhance your life in so many ways just by learning to fly…it leads to so many new things,” Mighell said.
The former French language teacher has traveled worldwide and lived on three continents. One of them, Australia, will be the venue for her second Reina Dessiner aviation mystery, due out next year.
Mighell is also CEO of World Medical Equipment Co., a Marysville, Wash., business that provides new and refurbished operating room equipment for hospitals and surgical centers.
Mighell self-published “Silent Sky” through One Sky Publishing, which she launched at the beginning of the year.