Rough Drift

"Small" writing challenges for my small writing talent. Hotel note pads are the only space allowed. Let's see if I can strip it down and tighten it up to learn something. Improving my skill of weird fiction.

70.) That Old Feeling


Engine gauges spun up to redline as power levers pressed forward. The captain shoved every bit of power he could out the tailpipes of those big turbofans under swept wings. He wrestled the control column first far back to heave the nose of the plane up, to climb out of danger, and then fought hard forward against an enormous power surge once the engines reached their maximums. The flight deck tilted up past twenty degrees. Three pilots on that deck bounced in their seats with the motions and the weather.

“Watch the pitch! Follow the command bars!” shouted the first officer on the right. Her voice cut through the audible alarms announcing wind shear. The captain’s fore arms flexed against the control wheel, finding it always difficult to bench press that kind of force; thumb on the trim switch endlessly spun the trim wheels in hopes to relieve the pressure. He was still eight degrees above where he should be with warnings flashing. Wind shear. A violent downward push of air acting without mercy on any aircraft.

The third pilot sat between and behind their seats while watching closely  — a company check-airman for over fifteen years of his career. The three had known each other at this airline for quite some time.

“There you go,” said the check airman over the noise of the engines, wind and alarms. As soon as the control forces equalized and the pilot could assess more than just the action of flying, the temperature of engine number two rose sharply and more alarms sounded. Red lights and a ringing bell.

“Fire! Number two! Power loss!” shouted the First Officer in a giggle. The Check airman chuckled low. The captain fought the rudder pedals and sawed back and forth against the wheel hoping to get an entirely different balance between the inputs to keep control in the wind shear. The air pushed the plane lower and lower regardless of how strong the last engine pushed on. The pitch crept up, clawing at any altitude.

The flight deck shook from reaching a point of controllability. With slow speed there wasn’t enough airflow for the controls to have effect. The one engine operating several feet to the side forced the plane to slew to the right, without enough rudder force to oppose it. The wing it was under, moving faster forward than the other, made more lift and the flight deck heaved over sideways. All instruments show a roll over on it’s back, plunging down to the surface. The Other two pilots burst out laughing.

The flight deck jolted to a stop and overhead lights came on. “You’re an asshole, Roy,” said the Captain to the check airman behind them. The forward screens red from the computer sensing a crash.

“He got ya good there. At least you didn’t get the fire on an inverted approach that I got,” said the First Officer.

Roy smiled and laughed, “Gotta keep you on your toes, Andy! On your toes!” he turned to his left, around his large stomach, and pushed a few buttons so the simulator would settle to it’s resting position. A connecting bridge lowered into place between a walkway and the door to the sim.

“Fine, but don’t give me heart attacks in here! I’m over seventy for Christ sakes,”

“But that’s what life is! A series of tiny heart attacks every day,” Said a smiling Jeanette, her greying hair in a ponytail down her back.

Roy and the other instructors unbuckled their five-point harnesses and gathered their things, slowly climbing out of their chairs and walking out of the simulator, eight feet above the ground on hydraulic rams, and across the bridge to the walkway on the other side. Training was one thing, but occasionally a bit of fun is necessary. They each had their fill of that tonight.

“I already signed you two off for another year,” said Roy, “So let’s get some dinner, ok? Billy’s Cue is open for another two hours.”

Off they went. Thirty years each flying for their airline, now semi-retired and teaching what they knew to the younger versions of themselves.

(Author’s notes) Well, this was another I wrote during my training. It happens sometimes. The proficiency check is complete and everyone’s doing just fine but with a bit of time left in the session, once in a while something fun can be attempted. I liked saving the realization to the end. You thought this was pure disaster didn’t you?


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This entry was posted on October 5, 2016 by in #creative writing, #flash fiction, Airline, short short story, Uncategorized and tagged , .
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