By lex, on August 15th, 2009
Three flights today with the Barnstormers. The first with a couple of young men from Southwest England, sponsored by their parents while (whilst?) on holidays. My man was 12 years old, his brother a couple of years older. Mum and dad looked on with a pride generously admixtured with apprehension. This was a lovely gift for the young men. Would they ever come back, at all?
My guest pilot won two bouts out of three, because his staff pilot doesn’t care much for getting gunned. Mum and dad were pleased as punch to see them in the break after we came back. Off you go, after we’d landed. We done our paid work and brought the boys back safe and sound. The ‘rents clapped us on the shoulders, like. And went on their merry. I told chief pilot Bronco Chuck that it wasn’t a surprise, not really. Europeans aren’t much given to doling out gratuities.
They give at the office, and how.
Round two was with a pair of friends that had braved SoCal traffic to drive down from Long Beach to Sandy Eggo. My man was commercially rated, his friend a student pilot. They’d brought their own David Clarks. To substitute for ours.
Biggest. Mistake. Ever.
The quality of noise reduction was neither here nor there, but the Bose headset fit our noggin like a tailored glove. Nevertheless, $995 for a headset is entirely out of consideration. We console ourselves with the 10th Commandment.)
I got commercial pilot guy. Who had fought 2.5 hours of traffic to watch me preflight with a professional eye. And spent the better part of an hour hurling into the food return bag once airborne. On account of the g forces that were in it.
(I don’t really believe it has anything to do with g forces, truth be told. Has summat to do with an adversary creeping towards your six o’clock in slow motion while the rest of the world wheels around at high speed. It’s off-putting, for some.)
We ended up chasing whale pods, and dolphins and such. You don’t expect a man to tip you for making him ill.
The third bout was gifted to a young Marine by his wife. I thanked him for his service, and he thanked me for mine while calling me “sir,” didn’t matter how much I told him that was all behind me. A nice young feller that fought like a caged tiger, winning two out of three and his laughter echoed through the empty spaces all the while.
He was young, married and leaving the service soon. I wouldn’t have taken his money even if he’d offered it.
Those Brits? Left $20 in the office. Bought me lunch, so they did.
You can’t judge.