Old Mack’s Tales

August 6, 2011

A Quick Flying Tale

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ron McKinney aka "OldMack" @ 3:33 am
Tags: , ,

Here’s a quickie:

We’re flying south from Westwego field, over the eastern arm of the Atchafalaya Swamp. Below are scattered cypress, up to their knees in brackish water, and a few random oaks and pines on the hammocks and stands of maple and dogwood planted on dikes serving as service roads. Chris is in the co-pilot’s seat, A.J. is on her knees in the back seat of this Cessna 150, peering down at the billions of birds dotting the surface of the waters. I’m heading for the Gulf of Mexico to show them a sunset that’ll knock them senseless.

We are following a cluster of pipelines, some carrying crude, others natural gas, straight from the wells to the refineries. Ahead and below, where the trees have been cleared from the right of way the water is boiling. Chris sees the boil and asks: “What is that?”

“That my dear is what we’re here for. That’s a ruptured natural gas pipeline. When we get close enough to identify whose pipe that is, you’ll see ice drifting away from the blowout.”

I descend to two hundred feet, read the Texaco marker and ask her to pass me the mike from the Motorola portable beside our daughter.

The report to Alliance Refinery was acknowledged in Hispanic-accented broken English. By now we’re directly over the blowout.

The engine falters. Chris screams and Allison begins to cry. “Are we going to crash, Daddy?”

“Are we out of gas?” Chris asks.

I bank away from the boil, work the throttle a bit, and the engine runs smoothly. “The gas from the pipeline down there got into the carburetor. For a second it cut off the Oxygen, causing the engine to sputter. It’s okay now. I should have seen that coming.”

“I’ve had enough of this adventure, Mack. Take us home to Hammond. I mean right now!”

“That’s a shame. We’ll miss the sunset and won’t see those flamingoes.”

“I can see flamingoes in Florida. Take us home.”

It was almost dark as I made the approach to Hammond from the south in dead calm air. Chris didn’t say another word to me that evening.
The End


1 Comment »

  1. A great tale Mack. I think I’d only want to fly ina big jet after that too. –tw

    Comment by train-whistle — August 7, 2011 @ 8:08 am | Reply

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