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: d├ęcoller, 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.