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From: Austin Tinckler (6430@axion.net)
Date: 04/15/01-09:27:12 AM Z


Day after day this summer, I would be along side a young stud at the
traffic light as he strained to blast off. I let him go. I thought
back to school when teach would ask Johnny, “What did you do this
summer”? “I beat old fart at street drag!” (Proudly.)

I let him have his glory. I had bigger things in mind. I was fixing to
strap myself into an RV and see what 185 feels like down along the beach
where you really can see what 185 means close up and personal. I would
tell teach that I had a glorious Summer. First biggy was riding in an
RV, second was soloing an RV, third was takeoff and landing it by
myself, and last but not least, flying in company with a bud.

When I open the hangar door now my bird, with nose high, seems to want
to be let out. But I wait a bit and peer into the shadows of the far
bay, where sits old bud’s equally beautiful RV—waiting—waiting, like a
horse without a rider, like a dog who will hunt no more. Waiting.
Never again will I hear that engine start and run, never again will I
hear old bud call and say, “Hah, you were flying today ! I know because
I went down to the hangar tonight and felt your cowl—it was warm!” Old
bud is now one of the fallen. Gone but never forgotten, because I will
always have the joy of knowing the supreme gift of flying close in
company and seeing how truly beautiful an RV and its golden prop looks
when seen at altitude in a very late sun, peaks with pink snow reaching
up way above us, and dark sea and phosphorous wake trails in the water
far below us. And then there are the pictures, lots of smiles—even at
this distance you can see them. Just off the right wing tip. Without
my old bud and my
faithful RV, I wouldn’t have seen this part of aviation’s glory.

I grasp the roll bar, lean into the fuselage side and push out into the
sunshine. She starts well and quickly, and we taxi out, run up, look
once again over at old bud’s hangar, throttle up and off we go.

Here goes this old fart, 3 times faster than the street rod, airborne in
a twinkling and climbing for the freeway of the air. Don’t wait for me!
 Not far off lies an old grass strip where the old and bold gather, and
where the landings are the sweetest. Wheels kiss the grass as we skim
past the line of trees and the sleepy cows flashing ever slower past the
wing tip. The wispy green grass holds us, slowing without the need to
brake, and we are soon among friends again with more smiles, and another
RV to pore over. Airplanes sure have a way of gathering people and
capturing the imagination. RVs, I think, even more so.

No longer will I be standing at the end of a long, empty strip wondering
what could be more lonely and quietly haunting than a stadium empty of
sound and people, or an airfield without the planes and sounds of
engines. No longer wishing and wondering, because RV is waiting, canopy
open like beckoning arms, waiting to be let off the leash. And off and
up we go once again to dance and spring along the pathways of the
air—homeward bound.

Yes, all in all, the good and the not so good, it was a Glorious Summer.


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