by Murdoch Hughes
I couldn’t stop laughin’. Chris Amonson elected/appointed/volunteered (whatever) to write the NWPC Blog? Chris’ idea of a flyin’ report is: “We drove, we flew, we drove some more”. Chris is nothing if not succinct. (Weird word, succinct.)
Anyway, Chris asked me to kind of keep everyone up to date on flyin’ in the North End. (Ed.’s note: in deference to Chris’ premium on brevity, I’m droppin’ most of the g’s at the end of the ing words, and that will make it seem like brief dialogue or somethin’ somethin’. Doesn’t really matter because no one reads blogs any more…that’s so ’09.
Okay, but this is supposed to be about Northend flyin’, and it is because, hey, it’s winter and this is what we do in winter, flyin’-wise. Nothin’. Especially this winter, with the friggin’ little baby bi#%h throwin’ its little tantrum of lousy weather at us for goin’ on 7 months now.
We still managed to do some standin’ around on Blanchard launch waitin’ for a break in the friesen rain. (No it’s not misspelled, according to Ernie and Beth.) My flyin’ buddy, Sid, lives on the north end of Big Lake (which really isn’t that big). So he drives over to the Blanchard LZ pretendin’ to have somethin’ to do since he’s retired now. And he calls me up and says, “It’s lookin’ good, c’mon up, it’s a bit foggy but that should clear up by the time you get here”. It’s not that he’s lyin’, but in winter his glasses fog up and he thinks that’s the weather. I know all that but I go anyway, because standin’ around on launch is always fun with Sid.
Sid’s an artist. True, it’s set in concrete, which is an unusual medium (or extra large, in Sid’s case). But he’s a true artist with it. He can actually make concrete look like fake wood.
Anyway, we’re standin’ around on Blanchard launch, wonderin’ aloud how our Northend flyin’ buddies are doin’ down there in Costa Rica with the 100% humidity, giant cannibal bugs and endless Toucan escapees from Dizzy World. Just the image of all those nearly naked old pilots gives me the shudders. No thanks to that. I’d much rather stand around friesen on launch talkin’ to Sid and hopin’ for a wet sledder.
So Sid says, “I’m thinkin’ of buildin’ me an ultralight.”
Of course I immediately think of those concrete sailboats from the sixties that people made in their backyards. I saw one when we were sailing in the Sea of Cortez, that looked like it was made by a sleepy third grader out of papier-mâché (I don’t know…ask Spell-check, or the editor). It had a blunt rounded bow and tapered to the stern, and looked like a whale that same kid might have made out of the same stuff.
So I’m thinkin’(which is what I’m best at) that Sid’s concrete ultralight made to look like imitation wood just might work. Sure there were probably a few small details to work out, like weight, because I’m pretty sure they weren’t thinkin’ of concrete, imitation or otherwise, when they named those things ultralights. But that crazy (like a fox in heat) Howard Hughes guy did build a bomber out of wood, so Sid’s would only have to fly once and then he could put it in some museum and charge folks a dollar just to see it.
So I said, “Sidley, I think you’ve got somethin’ there. We could sell the idea to the Defense Department. They spend billions, maybe trillions now, on stuff that never works.”
Then a break in the rain came and we quick set up to launch, but then the rain started again and we had to pack back up and go home. We never did get to finish the conversation, but if you’re drivin’ to Blanchard this spring, don’t be surprised if you see an ultralight fly over you that looks like a whale made out some kind of imitation wood.
Next weeks Blog title: “Why pipefitters don’t fly hang gliders”, and the one after that is about how “Delvin and the Beanstalk” traded his cows for flying a paraglider.