High on a windy hill you'll stand. Alone and untroubled by the busy chaos below. Stretching away in the distance, like a painted picture will be highways and country roads, dark ink-blobs of Indiana woods, maybe here and there the impassive form of a lake.
You'll sense the life going on in the hundreds of tiny dwellings within your view. You'll sense it, but it won't bother you. You are isolated from the world and all its troubles.
You've been atop a hill like that, haven't you? If so, you know the feeling of an airman, alone in his plane. High, on a clear day.
Sunday was such a day. I had one of those rare urges to go up, up, high-then fall all over the soft sky. Carelessly and with abandon you can't exercise below.
With parachute for safety and in a light airplane, I soared to 5,000 feet. Just an even mile above Orion, U.S. highway 30 black snaked through the picture, bisecting the horizon ahead and behind. Atwood was only a slightly darker spot where the road seemed to widen. Other bulges farther along the snake were Etna Green, Bourbon, disappearing at the indistinct pattern of Plymouth.
Behind, Warsaw makes a long cross below, with jewels of our three lakes inset in the corners. Road 30, again is the predominate line, white now, striking eastward through the map-like scenery. It looks much better from up here than it does down there.
Plainest mark on our aerial map, is the old Winona railroad bed. It slashes, straight and black, like an arrow from the point where it gently curves across the shiny Pennsy tracks to the gray circle of Mentone--faintly seen through the haze.
Now we are alone up here. The wind is strong, but steady. We can feel it as the plane rests upon it. The motor is a companionable hum. Slowly we circle, 360 degrees around the clock, almost directly over the Russell Creighton home--you know, where road 30 crosses the Tippecanoe river west. There isn't another object within view. You and I and the airplane have this great blue bubble all to ourselves up here. The nose is on a straight country road, the motor opens to a roar and up comes our seat, down drops the horizon. We see nothing but blue now. Let a wing fall over and down. There is the horizon again and we are looking east toward Warsaw.
That was a gentle warmer-upper. An easy wing-over just to get the feel of the air and plane. So we lazily pull around in several of these maneuvers slowly to the right, slowly to the left.
There. We are nicely settled and this thing is in our blood now. Now up for a stall and tailspin. No, don't get away. It's a long way down. Up we go, throttle back to just a murmur, the controls get light, the plane is stalling. Hard rudder and snap, she goes. The nose falls downward through an arc to the right, and we spin, around and around goes our painted picture. We stop it on the road. The ship is diving fast, and the wind is whistling, screaming its defiance at everything. The sky is ours.
While we have some of this excess speed and still with the tingle of excitement fresh in our fingertips, we pull the nose sharply up. Hold it straight. Up, up we go, over on our back, and what do you know? There is the horizon, where it hadn't ought to be. Coming at us out of the top-side of the windshield. Now the entire earth tilts and slides by under us. We can feel the pressure as the ship levels off at the bottom of the loop.
That is fun. Up and over into several more gentle loops. Feel the slight bump as we complete the circle, cutting through the turbulent air where we started?
Now we are getting just a little tired. The zip is gone. We are lazy again, admiring the picture below. We've only lost 500 feet. Our altimeter still reads 4,500 feet above our field.
Let's loaf all the way down. Tilt a wing, crank back the stabilizer to hold the ship into a slow and easy spiral and down we go, like riding the red stripe of a barber pole.
Well, we're in. The runway is under the nose. In an instant we'll feel the gently thump of the runway beneath our wheels.
I don't do that very often. Fact is, I don't believe in unnecessary acrobatics most of the time. But Sunday was just one of those days and I'm glad you could go along. Come again.
Warsaw Daily Times, Mon. Mar. 15, 1948