Midair is a true account of one of the most remarkable tales of survival in the history of aviation – a midair collision at 30,000 feet by two bomb-laden B-52s over a category 5 super typhoon above the South China Sea during the outset of the Vietnam War.
Authored by Craig K. Collins, the nephew of B-52 pilot Maj. Don Harten, Midair is an historically
important work that is about more than survival. Interwoven through Harten’s dramatic story of his
million-to-one struggle against near-certain death is a previously unexamined look at how America
had developed an aerial battle plan that would likely have ended the Vietnam conflict in under a
month during the late winter of 1965. Instead, the country’s war planners and politicians veered
off course and into a bloody eight-year quagmire.
Harten was on the February 1965 top-secret mission – a massive B-52 bombing raid of railways, supply depots, and airfields in and around Hanoi – that was called off in mid-flight. That mission and battle plan was mothballed until Dec. 18, 1972, when it was dusted off and dubbed Linebacker II, effectively ending the war within a week. Over 120 B-52s bombed Hanoi-area military installations for eight consecutive days. As a result of the heavy bombing, the North Vietnamese declared a truce, attended peace talks in Paris in early January and signed the Paris Peace Accords, ending hostilities in Vietnam on Jan. 27, 1973.
It is the gripping tale of a young Air Force officer’s first combat mission that instantly pulls the reader in and never lets up.
Craig K. Collins was born in Pocatello, Idaho, in 1960, and was raised in small towns throughout the Great Basin—Carson City, Nevada; Winnemucca, Nevada; and Bishop, California. He attended college in San Diego, where he has lived since, and holds a BA in English and an MBA from San Diego State University. After a stint as a journalist, he served as a senior executive for Fortune 500 companies. Later, he founded a series of venture-backed technology start-ups. He has won a number of professional awards for writing, marketing, innovation, and entrepreneurship. He is the author of Midair (Lyons Press, 2016) and Thunder in the Mountains (Lyons Press, 2014).