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Random Aviation Research

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Oct. 18th, 2012 | 11:02 am

Jo and I have just turned in the final draft of Steel Blues, the sequel to Lost Things - all about a transcontinental air race, a cursed necklace, and a string of murders that comes back to haunt the characters - and so I've begun work on the book to follow, Silver Bullet. Among the useful and fun online resources is the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum's America by Air exhibition's companion website, from which I excerpt part of a disciplinary letter sent to an Air Mail pilot named William "Wild Bill" Hopson:

"I am writing you in a friendly spirit to give you the idea of the Department in regard to this matter. I believe you have not realized that you have been taking unnecessary chances with your own life and government property.

I am not blaming you altogether for the crashing of #63 at Bellefonte.  After mature thought I do believe that your desire to pull off a spectacular take off lessened your chances for a successful take off."

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Comments {8}

penknife

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from: penknife
date: Oct. 18th, 2012 03:04 pm (UTC)
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Hee! "Spectacular" is not a word you usually want to see applied to just taking off ...

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Melissa Scott

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from: mescott
date: Oct. 18th, 2012 03:08 pm (UTC)
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No so much, no! Though I am also taken with the supervisor's rather touching assumption that perhaps Wild Bill hasn't realized he's been taking chances....

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penknife

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from: penknife
date: Oct. 18th, 2012 03:09 pm (UTC)
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"You may not realize that there are other ways to take off ..."

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Melissa Scott

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from: mescott
date: Oct. 18th, 2012 03:14 pm (UTC)
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"...but we would be happy to offer a refresher course should you feel moved to attempt one."

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Cannon

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from: geonncannon
date: Oct. 18th, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
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The gist seems to be "We understand you're not a careless jackass. We just suspect you might be an imbecile." Nice of them to give him the benefit of the doubt. ;D

(And speaking of Lost Things and Steel Blues, I had dreams about those books last night! The details are hazy, but it was definitely in that world. :D)

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Melissa Scott

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from: mescott
date: Oct. 21st, 2012 02:41 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, pretty much! The whole Air Mail service in the '20s deserves some stories of its own.

Heh. The holiday "Nikola Night" appeared in one of my dreams lately, though it wasn't nearly as much fun as I expected!

(edited to fix the picture. *sigh*)

Edited at 2012-10-21 02:42 pm (UTC)

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Cannon

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from: geonncannon
date: Oct. 21st, 2012 03:14 pm (UTC)
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I had an idea to do a series of books and/or stories about Harriet Quimby, who was a reporter/aviatrix in the '10s. She did all these things women were NOT supposed to do, and she did it with style. She knew that newspapers might not want to cover a female pilot, so she wore a beautiful purple flight suit that made them WANT to photograph her. But huge chunks of her life aren't chronicled, so there's room for her to be an adventurer. ;D

And hmm. Nikola Night does have all kinds of dream possibilities! ;D

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Melissa Scott

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from: mescott
date: Oct. 21st, 2012 04:08 pm (UTC)
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You should totally do those stories! She sounds like she was a whole lot of fun, and if there's room for adventure - I'm sure you could think of suitable things for her to do!

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