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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Flying Circus pt 2

I rested my eyes as I sat strapped in with the four point harness
Held securely in place on the sheepskin covered cushions
Activity went on around me

The captain at the controls
Steering the airplane around the airport's complex network of taxiways
Talking to the tower with one hand on the tiller
The other on the throttles
Feet occasionally dabbing at the top of the foot pedals for a bit of braking

The copilot had a checklist in his hands
Going down it item by item
Talking back and forth with the flight engineer at his own panel
Both of them participating in the checklist routine
Switches and circuit breakers being pressed or verified

Not much being asked of me back in my second observer's seat
Just to be quiet and stay out of the way
Which is just what I was doing
Eyes closed for the moment

As the big Boeing 747 freighter came to a stop short of the runway
I perked up and started looking around

An arriving flight roared just ahead and above us
Streaking by to touch down about one hundred yards down from us on the runway
The tower gave us the go ahead to line up on the runway for take off

Brakes released
Throttles nudged up to get us rolling then pulled back again
We crossed the hold line and entered the runway
Hanging a sharp left just as the runway centerline was even with the captain's shoulder
Then stopping once we were all lined up and centered

Once the aircraft that had just landed cleared the runway
The captain got clearance from the tower
Throttles pushed forward
Takeoff power set

A seconds pause as the engines and airplane quivered in anticipation
And a leap forward as the brakes were released
To start gobbling up runway faster and faster
Until we jumped upwards into the sky
Pushed back and down into our seats pleasantly

I closed my eyes again
Soaking up the feeling

All too soon we leveled out at our first flight level
The animal handlers asked if they could go check on the critters
So I got up to let the ladder down to the main deck for them
The four of us climbed down to look around

On my way down I saw the loader was already asleep
I tossed a little masking tape ball at him
He opened one eye at me
But otherwise didn't move

I continued down the steps following the handlers

Once down there I stretched my legs a little bit
Following the handlers around a bit
As they looked into every cage
Making sure that the animals weren't too miserable

A zebra had gotten tangled in a loose strap somehow
Which provided some excitement for about five minutes
But everything else seemed shipshape
With the animals all pretty bored more than anything else

They've all apparently seen it all before
The glories of showbiz and travel
Gina the giraffe shuffled around slowly in her open box
Lazily looking around

I left everyone to their business and went back upstairs
Time to check out the meal situation

I wasn't a fan of the catering food
But there were some menu items I'd learned to avoid
And upon inspection
There were a few of those 'off limits' to me items in the box

After selecting a safe meal for myself
I stowed it in a corner of the cockpit and sat back down in my seat
Idly looking out the windows at the massive cotton candy clouds all around us

After a while I dug out my latest trashy novel
Leaned back and had a read until suppertime