Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tiger Moth

My package arrived this morning. Bad news. It is 96 kg (211 lb). It’s full and it’s in a huge wooden box that will not fit in any way in my car. So what is IT?
This is the story…
Some months ago a coworker and friend in England sent me an email saying a friend of his is flying his own plane from England to South Africa. Ok, how does that involve me? Well getting across Europe is pretty easy as there are plenty of places to land but after Brindisi the trip starts to get a little tricky. Like an ancient explorer he has to be completely ready to enter a new world before heading across the Mediterranean Sea and then across the Sahara Desert. To cross these two things he needs to add a long-range fuel tank to his plane and he plans on doing that here. The mystery package is this long-range fuel tank and now it’s here waiting for him and his plane. So on Thursday he will arrive, install the tank on his plane, and then continue on his incredible journey. I’m not sure how long he will be here. I guess it depends on the weather. I’m in awe of this man that I have never met and what he’s doing. He is a modern day explorer and having an experience that can be done no other way. Imagine his path from England across France, over the snow-covered Alps, down Italy, over the Med, then into green lushness of Tunisia that will quickly lead to miles and miles of desert. Then he will emerge from the desert to cross jungles, savannah, and all the beauty of Africa not from Land Rover or on a TV set.
The thing that excites me the most is the plane. He’s coming here in a Tiger Moth. For those in the aviation circles you don’t have to say another word. This is a famous plane built by the thousands to train pilots between WWI and WWII. That’s right this plane is almost as old as aviation itself. It’s a classic and the kind of thing you would expect to see in museum depicting life in the 1930s. It immediately conjures up imagines of pilots in a flowing white silk scarf and goggles, black and white movies, Duke Ellington, Clark Gable and the list goes on and on!
It puts all kinds of new ideas in my head for what I could do in retirement. What an adventure! On top of all this my coworker in England said he has already flown the plane from England to Australia.
To put it simply I can’t wait to meet this guy and his plane.

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