I’m enjoying this! First there’s Dave and Larry taking pictures of me as we do the runup in Lachute, then after we land in Ottawa Andry (pronounced Anch) and Lance give me complements on my looks. Imagine! At my age!
Here's a closeup of me and Chris. He looks like he's conducting, doesn't he?
Here I go into the white and blue.
Start of takeoff.
Into the white and blue!
I love playing in cloud. Today there was a broken layer from 1500 to 3000 feet, so we busted up through it and then did an approach down through it – Ottawa was still officially IFR.
It reminded me of my DC-9 days. The pilots loved short legs like Montreal Ottawa and competed with each other for the shortest OFF-ON time. I think they cheated on the 250 below 10,000 feet. I just know I was going like stink. It still makes me smile!
I just came out of Annual Inspection. I have to confess Dave and his boys made me feel special. Mikhail, Greg, and Antoine all said they liked working on me – I guess it's my new paint. I do look pretty good, I know. But attracting such attention at my age?
But they did find some things they had to fix. So now I have two new cylinders and a new right-hand exhaust stack. It's better than the one I had when I was new – it has an articulated ball joint which relieves the stress between the headers and the muffler.
Then Chris came and took me for a few test flights. What fun! I know the new paint helps, and the wax Chris put on, and the way John Goris re-rigged my ruddervators at Purple Hill, but now because I am breaking in two new cylinders I have to cruise at 75% power. That's fast! I'm bombing around at 165 and sometimes 170 knots true airspeed. That's fast for an old girl! Chris had better keep a tight rein on me and not let me lose my head!
It has been awhile since I have been whole. Being together again feels wonderful!
This first picture is a bit dark, but that's fine because I'm old and I don't want to put myself forward. I like that I look like I'm flying: gear up and cowl flaps closed, streamlined for fast flight.
They were swinging my gear to make sure it all works. It does! I'll be flying soon! Chris is coming to pick me up on Tuesday.
John Goris at Purple Hill (that's where I am) has done wonderful work making me look like new.
I am not under any illusions about my age, but still . . . I am very pleased. Here's another look with more light.
When Chris came and pitched it to me I thought he was nuts. Not that I ever accepted living in the home – heavens, no. There was nothing there for me but suffering and indignity. But to fly again? At my age?
Chris explained that although I had been put out to pasture, that didn't mean I could not be brought back into harness. Were I willing, that is. And he said my wings would not have to be a hundred new jets, just one small prop job as old as he is – almost as old as I am myself. Together we would fly again. It would be like taking me back to my youth.
Well of course not in the literal sense. I am almost eighty years old and nothing is going to change that. Heavens, Chris himself is almost seventy. We are both near the pot of gold in the arc of life. But Chris has been one of my people for forty-odd years and so I listened.
I listened and maybe he is nuts but I am going along; I have signed up and I am not sorry. I am flying again!
Oh, I suppose those of you who haven't flown might not understand. You probably think I'm crazy too. But, my goodness, how wonderful it has been! Our country slipping by under my wings again! And not high up above all the clouds, many miles up, but down in the clouds and between layers, rarely more than a mile above the ground.
I remember flying like this, back with my first wings, my lovely Lockheed 10A's. And I remember my first big adventure, flying across our country from St. Hubert to Vancouver in 1937 with Father on board. We had to prove it could be done. He had to see it with his own eyes. We did it in one day, I don't know how. I still remember him urging us on, my pilots and I, through weather I probably should have been sitting out on the ground. But we made it and he was satisfied. He could make me into an airline. And he did.
Now Chris says we are going to do it again. Not the proving flight in 1937, but the revenue transcontinental in 1939. He says we are going to respect our age and not do it in one day or anything like it. And he promises he will not push weather like Father made us do.
I confess I am worried. Not about the weather or the adventures we are going to have, but about my new paint. You see, this is what I look like today. A little sparrow, a drab female, in modest feathers.
Chris talks about the old colours. How I looked flashy and aluminum and new in those days. He says we have to at least bring those days to mind. So we are planning, and I go into the paint shop soon. When I get out I am not going to recognize myself. So flashy! Almost male!
But it is going to happen. I wouldn't want to stop the show now. I'm having too much fun!