Friday, March 09, 2018
I think that it was the Lockheed Electra that I really liked. It just looked like proper aeroplane. It was up there with the Ford Tri-Motor and the Fokker Tri-Motor in terms of design (minus an engine) and some other odd engineering quirks I liked. There's a timelessness there I wish had been just suspended so they might fly and work on today but with updated equipment. Imagine those classics regularly flying about instead of looking like curious engineering markers that are as lost in history as hot rivets, radio valves and full cream milk (forget the cancers and infections for the time being). Planes had deadly and short lives as a rule, you fall out of the sky once and that's pretty much it, hence the ghosts and the turmoil. Aviation of course enjoyed constant development... engines, streamlining, reliability, security and safety, that's all important. A world where development stops at some key point might be pretty interesting and artistically attractive but a bit dangerous but we might also get proper golden eggs and creamy milk back. Then there was the Joni Mitchell song, all sadness and blue skies and steel guitars:
"747s over geometric farms, I tell Amelia, it was just a false alarm. A ghost of aviation, she was swallowed by the sky or by the sea..."
I listened to that a thousand times, cricking my neck up to see the imagined jet trails leaving their sad, passing autographs on the bright blue paper thin universe of broken flight plans. Turns out Amelia Earhart was swallowed by the beach, that's if the bones are telling a true story. Experts have subjected them to rigorous testing says a headline today. Another lost aeroplane that didn't make it. Another historical footnote. Being famous for aviation achievements but being even more famous for being lost is a strange legacy to leave. Then there's all the other others, the non-celebrities, pilots, crew and passengers who just fell to earth and vanished into nowhere. Somebody somewhere is still searching for someone. We like a good mystery.