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A New Aviation Memoir from LundBell Books

Print and eBook versions available.

"We knew there would be risks.."

Two forty-something married lawyers from Fresno, California, found themselves flying in the dead of night with a sputtering single-engine Cessna somewhere between Wuhan and Beijing.... Find out what happened and follow the rest of their journey during the historic 1987 air race from Paris to Beijing and back in the new memoir, Flying with a Dragon on Our Tail.

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About the Adventure

Jim Bell and Judy Lund-Bell—who had never flown outside the US and Mexico—responded to an ad in Flying magazine and joined sixteen other pilots in the historic Paris-Pékin-Paris Air Race.

Their month-long adventure took them to exotic airports in foreign lands with fuel stops in between, while dodging headwinds, mountains, sandstorms, and hail—and sometimes navigating with just a wristwatch and a compass. 


Heart-stopping moments with two impending engine failures were tempered by the heart-warming welcomes they received in tiny airports from curious townspeople, a special award from the King of Jordan, and their ever-present companion, La Girafe, who brought joy and fund-raising for a worthy children’s hospital.

This is not a story about winning or losing an air race. This is the story about an adventuresome couple who threw caution to the tailwinds, flew with the symbolic air race dragon on their tail, and soared out of their comfort zone and into an unforgettable international adventure. 

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The Route

About the Authors

Judy Lund-Bell and Jim Bell were both pilots and attorneys when they married in 1981. They both had discovered a love of flying at an early age, and both went to law school and then took flying lessons, where they each earned their private pilot’s license and an instrument rating. 

Each had two children from previous marriages, and all four children became “their” children when they wed. (Jim told Judy that if she became pregnant, he wanted a puppy.) Their children ranged in age from twenty-three to twenty-seven at the time of the 1987 Paris-Pékin-Paris Air Race.


Jim and Judy flew their Cessna T210, tail number N6113U, around the United States and to the Bahamas and Mexico. But that was the limit of their international flying experience—until the air race. Since then, they have owned various airplanes throughout the years and eventually moved to Sierra Sky Park, located in the northwest part of Fresno, where every home has a hangar and residents can taxi on the wide streets to the central airstrip.


Both Judy and Jim took many notes during the 1987 Paris-Pékin-Paris Air Race, and when they returned home, they neatly typed them and put them into a file cabinet. These pages did not formulate themselves into a book, so Judy decided that, after thirty-three years, it was time to give them some assistance. Thus, this book rises.

About the Authors

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