Saturday, 22 January 2011
Come fly with me
I always enjoy watching the flight path of aero planes as they pass overhead on their way to Sarasota Airport (SRQ). It’s a seven mile road drive from chez moi to the airport - but it is probably about four miles “as the jet flies”.
The dip of the wing; the height of the plane; the line of approach - all these vary from plane to plane, depending I suppose on such factors as the prevailing winds; the origin of the flight; the type and weight of the plane etc., etc.
But it is always a lovely sight. And as I look up I still ask myself “how the heck do these behemoths get off the ground!”. There is a wonder in airplane flight.
As I rubber-necked at some in-coming flights today my memory bank was triggered.
1. I clearly remember that as a little boy I was at the intersection of Johnson’s Road and Johnson’s Lane, just a quarter of a mile from my home, in the district of Whitehall in Bristol, U.K. I am sure that I remember the sight of many planes flying above. Many planes. “Were these planes”, I’ve often wondered, “part of the Berlin airlift?”. ‘Tis not altogether unlikely since Bristol is an aviation City. That would have been in 1948/49 when I was four or five.
2. A couple of years later I was in the back garden of Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Dyte, who were members at Chelsea Gospel Hall where I was sent to Sunday School. The Dytes lived on Colston Road near to my home. “Lord knows why” I was at their home. On that day I noticed a plane overhead (an un-common event in about 1950/51). Mrs Dyte told me that it was a “Guinea Pig” (i.e. a prototype). That makes sense to me now since Bristol is a home for the aviation industry. But “back then” the six or seven years old “jmp” thought that “Guinea Pig” was the word/s for an aero-plane. Even today when I hear or see the word “Plane” my mind says “Guinea Pig”.
3. My very first flight was from Southampton in the U.K. to Jersey in the Channel Islands. I’ll take a stab at the year and guess that it was in 1968, give or take a year or two.
I was on my way to visit with my twin sister Elizabeth who then worked as a nurse in St. Helier, Jersey C.I.
The plane was an old propeller driven Dakota. I tried so hard to be “cool” - as if I did this sort of thing every day of my life. But deep down I was thrilled beyond all words.