Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Sunday, 11 September 2011

BB returns WW to its roots

To fly in a light plane along a coastline that evokes WS’s “swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean”. To do it in France. To do it in good company. Our pilot Louis Kervoaze, who mediated terrestrial and celestial regions on our behalf, was our secular priest. I couldn’t fail to ask questions.

LK solo-ed after fifteen hours. Jana, hero of A Stall Recovered, did it in nine but she’s imaginary. A quick solo doesn’t guarantee a good pilot and LK remembered a youth who seemed ready after five hours. “But he never came back,” LK added. My rotten French turned this into a horror story whereas LK implied “for further lessons”. Fear was the reason.

Good pilots become old good pilots by remaining aware. As LK taxied from the hanger to the runway his head moved continuously, a series of tiny, jerky sweeps repetitively covering the whole of his visible world. The trick is never to be satisfied by not finding a menace or a discrepancy.

Immediately in front of me was the GPS display, quite unlike the Disneyish toy I use in my car. Serious kit with a flashing capital M. Standing for? Message, LK said, but he’d checked it ages ago.

As the Cessna 172 took off (A delightful French word: décoller, to unstick) the aerodynamic exterior needed changing from one which gave added lift to one which encouraged drag-free forward flight. A quick touch on a wheel labelled Flaps.

We approached the landing at right-angles to the end of the runway. LK took us in on a smooth descending turn with the wheels finally straddling the dotted line down the centre of the tarmac. I said Parfait. but it sounded cheap. What I meant was beautiful.


The Crow said...

Between your and Lucy's reports, my spirits have been lifted, as if suddenly given wings and taken skyward myself.

Had a momentary twinge of regret for not following through with lessons all those years ago, but who knows what the future holds?

Delighted for you three that your holiday was a success.

Lucy said...

I am beyond gleeful that our pilot and I share the same initials, which I hadn't previously realised.

LK's anecdote reminds me of the dictum 'there are bold mushroom hunters and old mushroom hunters' though that is a more earthbound context.

Rouchswalwe said...

I was in until you mentioned mushrooms. Ugh. Does sound frightful fun though.

Relucent Reader said...

Good stuff, Sir. Remember, according to an old pilot, "There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots: there are no old bold pilots." I can see how it would apply to 'shroom hunters

herhimnbryn said...

This has been a great trip for your readers too BB. Thankyou.

Barrett Bonden said...

All: At best these two posts are aperitifs. The main course is to be found on Box Elder.

The Crow: This isn't of course the first time Mrs BB and I have hired a light flying machine. We did it three times in NZ. I suppose it is costly but we've never been disappointed. And this one, as I suspect most may have inferred, had added value. However I have to say I admire what you did, Crow. Had I been offered the yoke I'm not sure I'd have had the bottle. Whereas you grabbed at the opportunity. You deserve your memories. I just had the dough.

Lucy: I'm sure if we'd been aware of this at the time LK (male) would have shrugged his shoulders in his sea-doggy way and have provided you with an aerial blessing.

RW (zS): Frightful fun? Which British public (ie, private) school did you go to?

RR: To me, the benefits have never outweighed the risks. The French seem to agree, too. Their pharmacies are full of posters carrying dire warnings. Which, to the average Frenchman, is like saying: Go do it.

HHB: In this case I was merely a handmaiden to history. Or perhaps geography would fit better.

Sir Hugh said...

Perhaps “élégant”?

Barrett Bonden said...

Sir Hugh: Elégant wouldn't done; to me it hints at superficiality whereas I wanted to describe something organically harmonious. Alas beau or belle wouldn't have done either; too stubby; I needed more syllables.

Rouchswalwe said...

Well, I suppose I could wiggle out of it by saying that the little picture square obscures the -ly ...