Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Dot was surprised to get a call directly from Sammy.
Dot was flying 3500 feet above the deck and Amie was spotting. Like Shelly, Amie was a tiny, loose-limbed young lady who could contort into a pretzel and she actually thought it was comfortable.
“Sammy to Eats. Sammy to Eats” he transmitted. “Eats” was short for “E-I-T-S” or “Eyes-in-the-Sky”. Not very original but it was sufficiently unique that nobody else ever answered.
“Go for Eats” Amie responded.
“Did your muffler fall off?” Sammy asked.
“Please repeat” Amie responded.
“Did your muffler fall off? I have guys on the ground saying they can hear a plane overhead.” Sammy said.
Amie pulled off one ear of her headphones and listened. It wasn’t much louder than the inside of a Chevy truck. “Nope. We are good on the mufflers” Amie responded.
Dot had been listening in. “Where did they hear the plane?” she transmitted.
“Two miles south of Howell Road” Sammy replied.
That presented Dot with a dilemma. She could climb for elevation and try to avoid being seen or she could engage. The smart money would be to avoid the conflict because losing an aerial engagement would leave the boys on the ground blind except for the sensors.
The enemy made the decision for her.
A plane needs three things to fly: Elevation, Air-speed and Operator skill.
Dot had no illusions about her skill as a pilot. Granted, she had been getting a lot of time at the controls but there was no way she, or the little Zenith could pull serious Gs.
She had more than three thousand feet of air between her and the ground and the Zenith’s speed-lift characteristics almost meant that she could take off from a stationary position if she had enough headwind.
When the shadow fell on the cowling of the Zenith just ahead of the windshield, Dot instinctively dropped the nose.
Looking up through the top of the windshield, Dot saw the blur of a rapidly spinning propeller as the plane accelerated, climbed and turned to make another attack on the Buffer-Zone plane.
The attacker had obviously intended to destroy Dot’s right wing by smacking into it with his landing gear. Point being, the landing gear is very tolerant of abuse while wings and diagonal struts are much less robust.
Dot didn’t see what he was flying, but it was clearly sleeker and faster than the Zenith. He was circling around and was going to try to approach her from her blind-side.
“Amie?” Dot got Amie’s attention.
“Put down the binoculars” Dot said. Amie had assumed the “bump” was just a bit of turbulence.
“I need to have you looking behind us, if you can. Then, when I tell you, I need to have you pivot the guns into their firing positions” Dot said.
It wouldn’t do for the aggressor to know the little plane was armed.
“Remember what I told you. Slap those guns out there like you would slap a mouthy seventh-grader.”
That got a smile out of Amie. She had been in eighth grade when Ebola started. There was more than one mouthy seventh-grader she wished she could slap.
Then Amie did something that surprised Dot. Amie rummaged around in her fanny pack and pulled out a small mirror used to apply make-up. Riigght. A girl. Lots of young guys. Of course she had a mirror.
Amie was able to push the mirror against the window of the plane and look behind her at a much sharper angle than she could by turning her head.
“I expect him to come at a slightly higher elevation than we are flying.” Dot informed her.
Dot was wrong. He lined up behind her right wing and then started to drift upward.
“Lemme know when he is above us” Dot commanded.
“OK, he is above us” Amie said.
“Slap that bitch” Dot said as she swung the two AR-15s on her side of the plane. The pivot swung outward and latched solidly into the wing-strut as did Amie’s”
The enemy pilot was clueless about the weaponry since he could not see through the bottom of his plane or through the Zenith’s wings.
Dot pushed her head back into the contoured headrest. Neither Dot or Tory had been able to consistently hit the 4-8 sheet of plywood they had used as a target before they added the headrest. They did fine when flying straight at it but failed miserably when trying to hit it while turning or banking. Dot figured out that they were tipping their heads into the turn and that their heads were bobbing.
After they added the headrest, the only times she had missed the target in practice sessions had been when she had gotten excited and had lifted her head out of the headrest or lifted her finger off the trigger too soon.
Dot dumped the flaps and the little plane shuddered as the increased wind-resistance slowed it.
Dot tipped the nose down and then back up. She called that her rocking-horse move. Dot squeezed the triggers when the rapidly climbing cross-hairs painted on the inside of the windshield were still aimed six feet below the propeller of the enemy plane.
Dot lifted off the trigger when the plane was more than seventy yards out. The guns were regulated to hit the same point of impact at 50 yards. Dot had been on the trigger for slightly less than a second.
The enemy plane went nose down and started violently corkscrewing.
Dot and Amie flew past the doomed plane. They were well past it when it pile-drived into the ground.
One of the sixty rounds fired by the four full-auto rifles had glanced off an aluminum frame member. The tiny bullet was deflected and was tumbling as it punched through the pilot’s seat and pulped his left kidney and then exited his body immediately below his sternum.
The excruciating pain of the destroyed kidney caused the pilot to involuntarily bend over and lock his arms straight. He also extend his left leg to full length to lessen the pain. A plane is a mindless being. The controls responded to the rudder and the command to dive.