Back in 2011, this short story of mine was published — but the online publication where it first appeared is no longer in operation. Since I retain rights to my short story, I’ve opted to publish it here on my blog. It appears as it was first published.
THE ART OF DOGFIGHTING’S AERIAL COMBAT MANEUVERS
By: Mariecor Agravante
A real test of stamina that Immelmann Turn was. I could only imagine what bodily stresses he was undergoing as his fighter jet soared through the sky. Crowds all around were ‘ooh’-ing and ‘ahh’-ing as the air show continued. My thoughts were on my brother, one of the pilots up there exhibiting flying prowess. Barrel Rolls, Split S maneuvers, Inside- then Outside-Loops, and Thach Weaves were being executed above.
As the folks around me—with craned heads—applauded dazzling displays of gyroscopic tumbling performed overhead, my mind wandered to snatches of distant recollection… My brother and I first came across Grandfather’s WWI aviation uniform. I had to smile at that memory. How eager we were to hear all his war stories! Grandfather’d show us his collection of aviation dogfighting paintings and vintage photographs; we’d pore over them, thirsting for knowledge.
“Well, really! I think every reasonable girl’d love to marry a flyboy!” I turned to see a clique of teenage girls pointing upward in admiration, as my brother and his flight buddies climbed vertically in diamond formation for a Bomb-burst. The hoydenish squeals reminded me of when my brother was accepted to both the Naval Academy and Purdue University—two universities renowned for producing astronauts. I wanted him to choose the Naval Academy so that he could take me to the Academy’s renowned Ring Dance. Instead, he chose Purdue: he wanted “to meet the professor Kermit the Frog was named after,” he’d always say. Frankly, I think he wanted to be civilian a while longer before committing to a military career.
“Saxony Wagemann!” I turned away from the Pugachev’s Cobra maneuver to see who’d called out my name.
“Riles Niebuhr! Howdy! Didn’t expect you here,” I said to him.
He grinned, “It’s been a while since we last saw each other… When was it? I reckon, right after graduation from university?”
“Yes,” I smiled in return as the aircraft did a flyby.
“Where’s your twin, Zac?” he asked, while I pointed skyward as my response. “Ah! Still flying, I see… Well, how about you and I get together for coffee? I’m back here in our cozy childhood hometown for a few days before I’ve to return to professorial duties at the Air Force Academy.”
“You’re a professor now?” Lomcovaks and Kulbits were being demonstrated on high.
“Yes, it’s very academic,” he laughed. “Do you still paint aviation artwork?”
“You remembered! Yes, yes, I still do…” My brother was flying a Standing Eight as he zoomed past. “Hey, I’m curious: does the Air Force Academy have a Ring Dance like the Naval Academy does?”
He watched a High Yo-Yo taking place while I looked at him intently for his answer. “Yes, and I’m one of the chaperoning professors this year. I—”
“Let’s have coffee! Actually, let’s go have lunch now!” Armed with my sui generis situational awareness, I slipped my hand onto his elbow and proceeded to be charmed by him. “You can tell me all about that Ring Dance…”
Photo is courtesy of the Public Domain.