Oil pressure OK... Manifold pressure OK... Fuel low but should be enough...Controls are stiff, lot of vibration... handling like a truck in mud...Still about an hour before I'll be able to see the carrier. Assuming this holds together that long... Don't worry "Sweet stuff", we'll make it just fine. Just hope your landing gear isn't shot up. Water looks cold, though, hope I don't have to ditch. Deep blue, almost black, ain't exactly like that pond I used to go skinny-dipping in back home. Where is that carrier?
The bright red bi-plane dropped 100 feet so quickly, Danny thought he was weightless and felt his stomach rise a bit. Still, he had a smile from ear to ear... he was flying! The noise of the engine and the air rushing past drowned out most of what the pilot was saying but Danny didn't care. The crowd, which had looked so small just a few seconds ago, was now large and he could recognize a few of the people down there with his father. Everyone was looking up at the plane, staring at him and the pilot while the plane dipped and climbed and turned. He was having the time of his life. The pilot yelled something Danny didn't understand but he knew what was coming. The ride would soon be over, they were making their approach to the pasture that served as the landing field. Danny felt a knot in his stomach as the ground came up quickly, the plane smoothly floated a few seconds more and then touched down on the ground. The rough surface rattled the little plane and made Danny bounce around against his seat belt. This was more fun than anything he had ever done. The roar of the engine, the wind, the speed, the feeling of weightlessness were all still in his head as he climbed out of the back seat of the Curtiss "Jenny" and ran to his dad.
"Can I go up again, Poppa? Can I please?"
"No, son, not today. We've got to get home now, your Momma will be worried." William "Big Bill" O'Donnell told his 10 year old son. "Besides, supper should be on the table soon and I'm hungry, aren't you?"
"Yes sir, I guess...", Danny replied. "Did you see when he flew between those two big trees? I wish he'd done that while I was up there! Or a loop, I really wanted him to do a `loop-dee-loop'!"
All the way home in the old farm truck, Danny made plane sounds and described his flight while his father just shook his head and wondered if he'd done the right thing letting him go on that plane ride.
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago