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Happy Landings

“Right”, said Luke, groping in his bag for his camera. “So let’s get over the
town, low level, so I can get this job done and we can get home.”
There was silence for a bit, as the plane droned on.
“Are you a photographer then?” asked the pilot.
“Of course I’m a photographer.” Luke was getting a bit cross by now.
“For the newspaper?”
“The penny is dropping at last!”
“And you want me to fly low over the town?”
“Right again!”
More silence.
“The town’s over there,” said Luke, waving his thumb. “Let’s get over there,
shall we. Then we can all go home. Once I’ve got some low level shots of the
floods, my job’s done, and we can get back on the ground.”
The pilot looked across at Luke, in silence.
“You really are a newspaper photographer, are you?” he asked.
“Of course I bloody am! And you’ve been chartered to take me low level
over the town, so let’s get this show on the road, shall we?”
Silence again.
“So if you’re a photographer,” said the pilot, after a time, “where’s my
instructor?”
This time, it was Luke who was silent. A shocked silence.
“Instructor?”
“Instructor. I’m supposed to be having a lesson.”
“What sort of lesson?”
“A sort of „how-to-fly’ lesson”.
“What sort of „how-fly-lesson’ for heaven’s sake? You’re flying, aren’t
you?”
Luke was beginning to feel a bit hysterical.
“Yes. But I’m not supposed to be. Not without an instructor, anyway.”
“But you’re a pilot, aren’t you?”
“Not really.”
“What do you mean, „not really’?”
“Well, I’m not qualified yet.”
“To do what?”
“To take passengers, for a start.”
“What can you do then?”
“Not a lot, really.”
“How many lessons have you had, then?”
“Three. This was to be my fourth.”
“What have they taught you to do, in these three lessons?”
“Things called „general familiarisation’ - that was the first – then „straight and
level and left turns’ and, last week, „straight and level and right turns’.”
“Take-offs?”
“Haven’t done that yet,” replied the man.
“But you just did!”
“That was my first, but I’ve not had the lesson yet.”
Luke broke out into another sweat.
“I hardly dare ask this,” he said, “but what about landing this thing.”
“Lesson six, I think.” The young man frowned. “Or perhaps seven. I can’t
remember.”
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