No fear of flying

Yesterday my blog was headlined, 'Novelists can fly free'.

Readers, also, fly free.

I learned to fly in a Royal Air Force biplane called a Tiger Moth. (Sleafiord and Cranwell 1952!) You know, two wings, two seats, one propeller; wood and canvas and wire. Similarly, in the case of a novel, there's room only for one writer and one reader to roam together those limitless, blue and clouded vaults of heavenly imagination. (One writer and one reader? Oh yes: a book may be read my millions but, as my grandfather General Albert Orsborne (Salvation Army) used to tell me when I asked him about making speeches, 'when you're speaking to however many, you address only one mind at a time, a single pair of ears'. So when I write my novel I write it just for you.)

Back to that Tiger Moth ... before they allowed you to get into the front cockpit and your instructor climbed into the one behind - both cockpits open to the air - you were indoctrinated with the protocal of flying/piloting including the essential pre-flight checks. Move aelerons up and down, rudder side to side, check engine for oil leak, then once aboard check tightness of shoulder harness, etc etc. Boring stuff. So our mechanic swung the prop. She coughed and banged and settled to a roaring crescendo of noise and off we went, my instructor bumping the plane across the grass, lifting off, ascending to 500 feet then - flipping her over on to her back! OMG and - OMG!!! I'd dropped four inches that felt like four miles before the too-loose harness engaged my falling body, left me dangling in the rush of air looking straight down on to a passing cornfield complete with up-looking farmer on tractor. I see him still and hear still the voice in my earphones; 'Do you think, next time Mr Islip, you might remember to tighten your harness as instructed, do your pre-flight checks properly?'

You and I, we have no fear of flying, right?

1 comment:

  1. aaaaaah

    My stomach dropped ten miles just reading that!

    Oh what a horrid sensation of terror.

    Wow.

    scary. :-|

    ReplyDelete

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