Triplane Builder

Poems by Triplane Builder - William (Bill) Woodall

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Viscount Ride

This plane is really quiet--- (nothing like a "recip")-
Its four "Darts" only whistle as they're pulling me on this trip.
I can hear the talk of others-though they are some rows away-
It's a treat to fly on "Capital"-"turbines here to stay!"

Wish I hadn't had that 'chill'-- when I took this seat of mine-
'Picturing a twisting wing--- "three" and "four" so out of line'!
Never thoughts like this before---the 'vision' bright and clear---
Were I not needed with this group---I'd been "out of here"!

That was back an hour or so, and Pittsburgh's come and gone-
The airplane's full and the meal is good and Atlanta's coming on-
At 'one niner' thousand feet -- dessert is next for me-
Felt a skip-- belt light' is "on" for one and all to see.

We're rolling right! -on our wingtip stand!-but this is not a turn!!
Back to the left in the wink of an eye and "wing-twist" I discern!!
Engine three is pointing up--- while number four is down-
Now I'm shoved against the wall-as if I'm whirling 'round"!

Cloud envelops our descent and the slipstream's now a shout---
Someone is screaming out in pain--- in the rear-or thereabout--
No one else is making sound- I'm plastered in my seat-
Think some lines from Psalm 23-by rote I can repeat.

Now the sideways shove is gone--we are really diving fast-
The roaring wind outside the plane-I doubt that we can last---
I'm sure that wing spar must have failed when we entered this spinning dive---
When we add load to stop this plunge-there's no way we'll survive!!

Now I'm really shoved hard down-my face is sagging too-
We're rounding at the bottom--- and the wing has pulled us through!!
Why that 'boom' and hiss I heard?-and the lights no longer light?-
But the sound of the wind is softer now--- the ground is now in sight.

The inside of this airplane is like a garbage truck-
Papers--hats and dinner food are on our portside stuck--
That's an M.D-- in front of me-he's struggling to the tail-
Flight attendant broke her leg in her un-restrained travail.

The other "stew" is on her way with a message from the crew---
We're going back to Pittsburgh to assess what we've been through-
Our radio will not "receive", gear and flaps in doubt -
(If we are going to "belly-in"-I hope our belly's stout)!

The view out through this window--- I can guess at what's our height-
Not much more than a thousand feet! Good thing he did this right!!
Over the fence at Pittsburgh and the crash trucks speed beside-
The flaps and gear work as they should-anti-climax to the ride.

I'll hang around this ramp-side door and see what I can learn
That message-"we'll soon re-board" has made my stomach churn.
I hear one "mech" (to another say) "that this plane will stay the night-
"A fillet's burst and a stab is sprung and crash-relay's not right."

Past mid- night when I take this seat on another Viscount plane-
Of the forty four on our manifest-forty two remain!-
My beard is showing through my skin-my smarting eyes are red-
On the ground in Atlanta now- once sure that I'd be dead!

Bill Woodall

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