Triplane Builder

Poems by Triplane Builder - William (Bill) Woodall

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Learned to fly in the service (not ashamed to make this known),
I am sometimes asked if a parachute, is one of the things I've "flown"?
Well, it's a fact we were issued one, and sat on it as we flew,
The trick of the game was to keep it there--"not join the noble few".

I recall our cadet commander, (a man of stellar repute),
Got into 'beaucoup' trouble--by using his parachute.
Our chutes were meant for real use-and only in last resort;
No one allowed to "skydive"-(that epitome of sport).

He claimed his belts unbuckled, (while solo upside down);
Fell out of his plane in free-fall- headed for the ground.
He yanked the trusty "D" ring-- began swaying to and fro;
(His yellow Navy trainer--- "split-essed" to the ground below).

There seemed to be some question, that this was an "Act of God",
Maybe he'd wanted to have a thrill, (maybe his story was flawed).
Was no proof for the "gold braid", to accuse him of a lie--
But as his chute snapped open, --lost a flight-boot in the sky.

Now here was a concrete case of his doing something wrong!;
He'd improperly done the lacing-didn't thoroughly tie its thong!
He was given a batch of demerits (near enough to end a career),
It left him five to work with-- for the rest of his service here.

This was recent hullabaloo, when I might have done a repeat.
Stage "C" meant aerobatics-(different pressures on ones seat).
As a "solo" doing "slow rolls" (my smoothness needing work)--
I shoved left stick to begin a roll and my right cuff felt a jerk!.

Just one thing across my lap-that might get in the way---
The lever that latched my seat belts---and I hoped that baby'd stay!
My tension high as the roll began and the harness felt my weight---
Not until back in the seat again--- was I to be sure of my fate!

A glance below confirmed to me--- this'd been mighty near!
The locking lever had lifted some-more!-and I am out of here!
So no I never had the thrill--of the free fall and the jerk;
But understand the anxiety---the wondering if it'll work!

Bill Woodall

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