Triplane Builder

Poems by Triplane Builder - William (Bill) Woodall

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When I look at pilot training;
The way it now is done;
Compared to what it once was;
The new ones miss some fun.

In the days when I was learning,
There was something called a "spin".
And airplanes could stall and fall;
Their nose would chase their fin.

Pick yourself a roadway---
Three thousand feet below;
Just go ahead and stall her;
Kick the rudder-see her go.

Keeping watch upon that roadway,
As it flashed across your prop;
Gave some sense to your revolving.
Told you when to make it stop.

And if you had good timing,
With the rudder and the stick;
You'd end along that highway;
Like you'd done a clever trick.

At least that's how most learned it,
Mine wasn't quite that way.
My instructor just said "read the book".
Next day, he let me "play".

My practice ones were "so--so";
Not too good, but not too bad.
Then He did fly our Stearman;
Spiraled off the height we had.

He set up for a pattern,
For a field on down below;
I figured he would land us;
Have a smoke- or "take a blow".

But I began to wonder,
When he banked us steeply right;
Pulled the stick into my stomach;
Kicked left rudder-made it bite.

Our "down" wings traded places,
With the ones that had been "high"
As the ground began revolving;
Yelled "your airplane to fly!"

Although it took some doing;
I responded "by the book"
Socked in full right rudder;
Forward stick--- until it "took".

When the grass had ceased its turning;
Backed off rudder-kept it straight.
Kept the nose aimed steeply earthward.
Worried sick I'd been too late.

When the elevator pressures,
Gave a 'sense' the time was here!
Gently pulled the stick some backward;
As we glided-swallowed fear.

Then he opened up the throttle;
And the fifty feet we had;
Made me very much aware,
That this could have finished bad.

"Well, you got the word on spins";
Was all he had to say.
But the lesson that he taught me,
Is bright and fresh today.

A spin while in the pattern--
It need not be your last;
Just follow all procedures;
Be precise but do them fast!

How he had the nerve to test me;
I will really never know.
I hadn't even soloed,
And we were really very low.

Bill Woodall

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