Thursday 20 May 2010

I just took a ride in a silver (or light grey) machine

This is me just before getting into the front cockpit of this Boeing-Stearman Model 75, a WW2 trainer that is now based at Fantasy of Flight near Orlando. I took a half hour flight and was "hands on" for a good chunk of that time. It was an absolute blast. We did left and right turns at 30, 45 and 60 degrees, as well as some "lazy eights". Prior to this my only experience of flying came through Microsoft Flight Sim, and it's a testament to the realism of that software that it felt incredibly familiar, especially as I was using a stick rather than a yoke.


  1. Looks like you had excellent skies for your flight. The question I have is this.

    Where is the vintage World War II flight suit?

    S. F. Murphy
    On the Outer Marches

  2. There's something charmingly and rather ineffably steampunkish about a photo of a writer of (among many other things) vast old technologies standing next to that vast old plane. Nice!

  3. In 1971 a student of mine was an instructress at a small, local airport. She let me take control of a training Cessna for about an hour, at a height of 2000 feet. Of course the plane had dual controls, just in case. But I loved the adventure and flew quite well with no prior instruction from my student. It was simple, easier and less stressful than driving a car. The high point came when I used the artificial horizon, without asking her what it was. Turning at various attitudes, changing height, and adjusting velocity were all great fun.

    After the flight we drove home in my car. A tremendously nostalgic feeling was of my butt still being "lifted," although we were on the road. What a great day!

  4. Love the Hawkwind reference . . . .

  5. Smashing, sir. I hope you're enjoying your time out there. Wondering when you're going to make a trip out Dallas-way, though...

    I'm reading Hew Strachan's work on the first world war, and aside from some numbing geography (no good at some the antebellum European maps, sadly) it's a solid read. I'm excited to see where the air warfare comes into play.

    Just wanted to drop a note and say that a friend picked up a signed copy of Six Directions of Space in his local public library, and now I'm worried the only way the municipality will see it's property again is if I get him TW for his birthday in 2 weeks, which is to say, me and many of my friends are eagerly anticipating its stateside release. :)

    Best regards.

  6. Alastair, you should learn to fly. It's fun. Start with gliders. I started flying gliders in 1973 and stopped only three years ago when I bought my old wooden boat.

    Nothing like it, especially when thermalling with a hawk or an eagle, they're quite good at it!


  7. Awesome! I've had the privilege to fly the Cessna twice and it was a blast! But to fly an open-seater has to be a totally different experience!