I’ve unloaded my Christmas stories. It’s time now for a few fresh cups of aromatic aviation coffee for the New Year. A refreshing look at flight, from another point of view. Literally.
I met Christina on the internet. She introduced herself here, in Flying in Crosswinds. You can still see some of her first comments in the 2010 posts. She got my attention.
I read a lot. From Browning to le Carré and Maugham, Tennyson to Wouk and Wren. Poetry or prose, I enjoy good writing. Carlo teaches English and English Lit in one of the top Universities here. So he is no slouch as a critic, either.
We love Christina’s writing.
She was introduced to aerobatics even before she got her pilot’s license (even before she soloed, if I remember right). She drank it all in eagerly, thirstily. And she writes like she flies. Poetry and prose. Oh, man does she write.
She has moved from the US to Europe, and is waiting for a chance to go flying again. Trying to outwait bureaucracy is one of the agonies every pilot goes through. So, as therapy, she has been writing.
Today, the Feast of the Three Magi, I gift you with three jewels from Christina.
Please click on the links to enjoy her writing.
Of course she had to start with the Hammerhead, my favorite of all aerobatic maneuvers. I will say no more. Read this piece on a daring day, when you feel like a jolt of exhilaration.
Fly it solo on an empty stomach, with minimum fuel on a cold and not too windy winter day. Fly it early in the morning when whispers of fog cover the forests like a delicate blanket and the rising sun bathes you and your craft in warm gentle light, the promise of a new, fresh day. Fly it in a light airplane at a density altitude below sea level.
“… at a density altitude below sea level.” Damn! She just described pilot heaven in seven words. Why can’t I write like this? Damn.
Low overcast, dull and grey, tower light’s on. Into the air, into the clouds, water on the wind shield, surrounded by thick, wet darkness, eyes glued to the attitude indicator.
This one is for retired flyers. Ex-Flyers. Or those of us who think they are happy to never fly in pummeling weather again. Then we read that line, and we miss it. Shame on us, we miss battling bad weather. It’s her fault.
The pilot as a living and breathing attitude indicator, listening to engine noise and slipstream, feeling the G-forces. Pure flying. Feet, hands and seat of the pants. I wake up with a start, feeling cruelly deprived. In the wintery, early morning darkness I force myself up and stumble to the coffee maker, while a dull ache settles in my chest. Acro deprivation. I smile wistfully and welcome the day, grateful for the pain.
Happy New Year, Christina. Fellow writer and aerobatic pilot. Friend. I wish for you your million shades of blue, and soon.
Posted from Manila, January 6, 2013.