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pedalpusher
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  • Register:09/28/2013 3:41 PM

Date Posted:01/07/2019 11:49 AMCopy HTML

 "Monica, this is Phil. Come in.."

"Phil, Monica here.."

"Are you in the air yet? We're waiting on the 7:15am traffic report from 'Eye in the Sky'."

"Right, I'm still trying to get airborn!"

"You aren't in the air yet?"

"Negative, the helo is having difficulty waking up this morning!"

"Well call me as soon as you're ready with your report."


Monica was a star traffic reporter who had a voice tailor-made for broadcasting and who nailed her job when it became known she could pilot helicopters. Radio station KXWB in Allenville was always at the forefront of local news, weather, and traffic and last year had made the decision to jump in with both feet by purchasing a helicopter to better meet the needs of the listening audience with up-to-the-minute traffic reports.

Phil was the news anchor and at regular intervals throughout his morning broadcast would cut to Monica for the latest traffic report as she was flying the old helicopter over the greater Allenville area while simultaneously giving a clear, concise description of logjams and accidents.

Monica, a single woman in her early thirties recently divorced from an abusive husband, was 5ft 7in with a well-toned body achieved with frequent workouts at her local gym. With light brown shoulder length hair and olive skin, high cheek bones and aquiline nose with full lips, she turned heads wherever she went. Even while flying over the municipality, she preferred casual clothes that one would not expect to be worn by pilots. In particular, she would commonly wear shorts on hot days or capris on cooler days with choice of tops that suited the ambient temperature. She loved her well-worn leather black thong mules with stacked 2in wedge heels.

It had been a little over a year since she'd been hired by KXWB and by now she was quite comfortable soloing in the helicopter. Each day she would leave her apartment at 5:30am to get to the airfield by 6:00. It would take about 30 min to get the latest flying conditions and to check with Billy, the hangar mechanic, regarding any mechanical issues with the old copter.

Billy...the tall, gangly, shy, boy of 22 who seemed to blush everytime he saw Monica. She found herself initially getting annoyed that he always seemed to stutter only when talking to her as if something or someone was tying his tongue. Overtime, as his anxiety settled down with increasing familiarity, Monica and Billy began to enjoy each other's company and she began to regard him as a quite intelligent and comical presence in her life. He for his part regarded Monica as devastatingly beautiful and so quick and intelligent that he would never come anywhere near the strata in which she dwelled. Yet he had a burning crush on this goddess and fantasized about a different world in which he might have a chance at romance. Each morning, arriving at the airfield at 5:30, he would check the fluid levels and gas gauge on the helicopter as well as resistance in its controls to ensure cables were taut and functioning as intended. He then would await Monica's approach with heart thudding in his chest. Monica would greet him with her engaging smile and piercing bright blue eyes. Ticking off items on her mental check list, she would ask Billy about each one with a few follow up questions as needed. Then, with her flight plans in hand, she would climb into the small cockpit encased in a plexiglass bubble through which Billy could watch her every movement.

All was quiet while Monica would take about five full minutes putting headphones on and dialing radio frequencies required to communicate with the radio station and the tower and to go through another checklist which she carried with her before starting the engine. She then would reach foward toward the instrument panel, deftly flicking several toggle switches and turning dials carefully. To prime the well-used engine she would place her right foot on a small pedal on the floor, rapidly and forcefully pumping several times while visibly bouncing. Next Monica reached over with her left hand and depressed a small silver button on the middle of the instrument panel. Billy could hear the groan of the starter turning the gasoline engine that powered the chopper.

That this helicopter had been built in the 1960's was the result of the radio station searching long and hard for an airworthy craft that could be purchased wiithout breaking the bank. It had seen years of service, but was safe. It had passed all its airworthiness exams and was updated when necessary. Monica found that once in the air it was predictable and reliable and handled easily. She never felt endangered while flying.

Getting it into the air was another matter. Right from the start when first becoming familiar with this craft, Monica noticed a reluctance to start. Over the first few months of flying the thing she had to crank it up to four or five times with sustained cranks, smoke belching out of its exhaust as she did so. The first two or three attempts revealed only solid cranking without any response from the lifeless motor. Then she was met with auditory "chugs" from the engine situated behind and above her, they being accompanied by noticeable bumps and jerks of the lightweight chopper. After several tries her last prolonged cranking attempt was met with a sustained clanging and sputtering as the old engine came to life, clearing out its by-now flooded cylinders with tons of dark grey smoke exiting the exhaust to the rear. As soon as Monica detected the engine was running, she grabbed the hand actuated throttle on the lever to the left of her seat and gently twisted to increase RPM. Eventually the engine would smooth out and, once running smoothly, she would pull a lever to start the rotors turning. It was only after her gauges confirmed the engine was warmed and idle speed was normal and stable after a few light revs would she lift off the ground. Once airborn and at the appropriate altitude she would check in with the station about 15 min prior to being on the air with her live report to let them know she was ready.

End of Part 1.




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