The Omicron Matter – A Working Vacation – Arrival in Prague

A new entry in The Omicron Matter – A Working Vacation. The airship is nearing Prague and the trip has been uneventful. But Prague is a busy town and our group’s airship has to wait its turn. Unfortunately, that means that Eleanor and John will have to land the ship in the dark. It has been done before, but not by Eleanor.

For those who are new to the Omicron Matter, the book home page is a good place to start.

Author’s note

In my town, there is a small local airport that services private prop planes and small business jets. It is also the local rendezvous point for blimps.  Whenever there is a major sporting event (there are 7 pro sports teams within 25 miles) some blimp emblazoned with a sponsor’s logo spends a few days being serviced and flying out of the local airport.  It is hard to describe just how steep these things ascend and descend and they do it with remarkable speed.  I also viewed a few youtube videos of the view from the pilot and saw how things are handled on the ground.  It is a remarkable dance of many players.

I have finished the next chapter and now need to get it typed. Thanks for your support.

Arrival in Prague

Eleanor stood at the wheel as the ship crossed the Danube. She adjusted the ailerons and the engines to tilt the airship into a steep descent.  She had warned everyone to strap in, but there were still shouts from the observation deck below. Millicent said calmly and without any touch of sympathy, “You did warn them.”  Eleanor gritted her teeth against the shouts from below.  At least Simone and John were taking the descent well. But even John said, “I’ve watch landings growing up and pulled in my share into the hangers. That is all that is keeping me from shouting out now.”

Eleanor said, “Trim the front bladders and lower the pressure on all.”

John muttered, “That and I’m busy.”

Eleanor heard Simone gasp, “Oh my, that’s steep.”

Eleanor said, “We’ll be leveling out at 500 feet. John, deploy signal flags and let me know when we are cleared to land.” She pulled some levers and the ship began to level out. She began circling the field. John said, “There two ships ahead of us. We will be cleared for landing in one hour.”

Eleanor grimaced and said, “Wonderful. Night landing. We probably shouldn’t tell them it’s my first time using this ship.”

Charles said from the notebook, “This was utterly avoidable.”

Eleanor pinched her nose and said, “Yes, Charles. We know.” She looked and said, “In for a penny; in for a pound. John and I have been practicing this and at least the wind is light.” Eleanor set the ship in a slow circle around the landing field.

Millicent said, “I’ll take the notebook downstairs.  Charles and I can point out the sights to the others while we wait.”

Eleanor nodded and breathed a small sigh of relief as Millicent grabbed the grumbling notebook and headed for the stairs. Simone said, “You’re nervous. Aren’t you?”

Eleanor tried to sound confident as she said, “It is a small ship and easy to control. John is doing a magnificent job interpreting my bad commands.” John nodded and gave a light two fingered salute. She closed her eyes and said, “Yes, I am nervous. It has been smooth, but landings are always the hardest part.”

Simone came up and gave her a light waist hug and then stood by her side. The ship slowly circled the field three times as the two other ships landed. John held a telescope watching the field for signals. Finally he said to Eleanor, “We’re cleared for landing.”

She said, “Alert the ship.” She gave small hug to Simone and then pointed to the chair. Simone headed over and strapped herself in.

John took a voice tube and shouted into it, “Strap in for final descent. Strap in for final descent.”

Millicent hustled back up the ladder and took her place behind Eleanor and strapped in.  She asked, “You won’t need Charles for anything will you?”

Eleanor said tightly, “No. It is me and John now.”

Millicent smiled broadly, “I thought so. You’ve done marvelously so far.”

Eleanor gave a small salute back and wondered what Millicent knew about piloting an airship.  Then Eleanor decided Millicent probably knew a great deal more than Eleanor would expect. She shouted to John, “vent lift bladders, Mr. O’Malley and flaps down 30 degrees.” She raised the engine speed pushing the balloon down like a large wingless bird. The ground raced towards the gondola.  A group of twenty or so people formed a large V on the landing field.  John called out temperatures and pressures and the airship headed down. At an elevation of about 20 feet, Eleanor began to level out the blimp. The lead member in the V grabbed the first line on the airship. As the ship lowered, more lines were grabbed and soon the ship was held be the group of people. Eleanor slowed and stopped the engines. The lines were attached to winches and the ship was stopped and slowly lowered. Eleanor let out a sigh. She then said into a speaking tube, “Welcome to Prague.” Millicent, Simone and John clapped loudly. A ruckus from below could be heard. Through the cheers, Eleanor heard Charles comment from the notebook, “Not bad. You’ll work out. But I really need to get you piloting a real ship.”


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