When I saw the cover of the book (which is also boring, IMO), I thought "oh jeez, Nancy is FLYING now? Is there anything she can't do?" Well, no, apparently. She's taking flying lessons, and at the beginning of the book she's already doing advanced flying, such as doing fast circles. Her instructor tells her that he won't tell her the most loops a student had done, because she would probably try to break that record. While they're flying, Nancy sees Bess and George, who are on a horseback ride (the Golden Trio is visiting a ranch. Again), waving frantically. It turns out that they saw a plane in trouble, but don't know where it is. They soon find it, pilot-less and without any identification. The instructor radios to the tower, and it turns out that the pilot, Robert, is missing. Everyone who knows Robert loves him, and our mystery begins.
Bring in the stolen ponies, angry threats, attempt to kill the girls by sending a big log down a trail, and all kinds of cooky stuff. You see, Nancy inadvertently led to the firing of this guy Ben Rall's dismissal from Hamilton Ranch. He purposely put a burr under her horse's saddle when saddling it and the pain made it flip out. Ben has some major issues about city girls who fly planes and try to solve mysteries.
The girls find a medal where the plane had landed. It is monogrammed 'RP', for Roger Paine of course. Bess eventually finds that the figures on it are actually stylized letters and read 'bomb site'. Anyway, after this it gets dull. Nancy and her instructor visit the site of the abandoned plane BILLIONS of times. Nancy explores a cave (alone, without telling anyone) and discovers out. In fact, she ends up trying to flee from a wave of oil and mice. There's a weird, misty-looking shape of a man in one big cloud. Nancy and Ned escape getting suffocated (of course). A cache of (defused) bombs and rifles is found, the bad guys are caught; we learn that the man-shaped cloud was made of "magnetic dust" (???). Unless I missed something, we never really learn what the bad guys' real goal is.
- Bess has a real meltdown in this one. She's falling for this cowboy, Chuck, and he asks her to marry him. But Dave (her BF) is coming to visit the ranch and doesn't know what the hell the wants to do.
- Bess is so distraught about picking Dave or Chuck that she has a dream in which the two kill each other. Yikes! I don't think I need to tell you who she picks at the end, though
- Oooh! Oooh! Nancy makes a mistake!A MISTAKE! >:p
Feeling a bit overconfident Nancy decided to show Bruce (her instructor) her mastery of steep turns. [to control the spiraling plane] Nancy pulled back violently on the stick. Suddenly the plane snapped over in the opposite direction and began a vicious spin...