Full Circle: Old Notes, Part Three

Written by Thomas Block

Decades ago when I was flying as copilot in a Convair 240, I made notes for a future use that I never got around to.

May 2015-

Here is the final installment of the fragmented creations from decades ago when I was flying the original piston airliners—notes I'd made for a future use which I never got around to. These observations from my earliest years of driving airliners provide a sense of what I was seeing and hearing and thinking in those days.

The Convair 240 piston engine airliner droned on through the thick, wet night sky, the clock on the panel measuring off the quiet minutes in their progress toward Boston.
"Any delays?" the flight attendant asked after having stood silently at the rear of the cockpit for a short while. The sound of her voice yanked both pilots' attentions back to the moment.

"Probably," the copilot answered quickly to fill the void. Too quickly, perhaps; the captain had said nothing yet. The copilot glanced to his left. "What do you think, Skipper? Delays?"
"Shouldn't be bad," the captain had answered in a low, disinterested voice, keeping his eyes straight ahead, staring intently at the black nothingness on the far side of the cockpit windshield.
"Back to work," the flight attendant mumbled as she turned and headed back to the airliner's cabin.
They flew another 15 minutes in silence before the pertinent radio call to them was sent. They would hold at a radio fix up ahead and expect further clearance in 20 minutes. The copilot acknowledged, then held his microphone up toward the captain. "Call company?" he asked.
The captain nodded.

The copilot complied, and sat back in his flight chair. They were flying through an area of light, choppy turbulence. The copilot eased his seat nearer to the windshield, then leaned forward nearly pressing his face against the glass.

The Convair's nose section curved away, tucking out of sight several inches beyond the windshield. When he sat higher in his seat, he could see a greater amount of the airplane's front end before it dropped from view. He picked his eyes up and examined the night sky again: the clouds were unremitting. There was not a single gap in the veil of darkness.

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