Whisper In The Wind – Episode 05

ENJOY it?” Reynolds smiled.

Her legs shaking, Helen struggled out of the leather coat, then pulled off the oil-stained leather flying helmet. The ends of her hair, which had hung below the helmet, would be frizzed up beyond rescue, she thought grimly.

“Sort of,” she croaked, adding in a firmer voice, “Yes, I did enjoy it.”

“Good-oh.” Reynolds handed her a grubby towel. “Wipe your face.” He smiled. “You’re like a white-eyed panda from the oil spraying back.”

Helen wiped her face. The towel came away even dirtier than before.

“Sorry we don’t have a cleaner one. But we’re only two guys working together, and don’t bother much ourselves.”

“Does the oil always spray over passengers?” she asked, scrubbing away.

“More or less. But they want to take away their oily faces like a trophy, almost. It lets them brag all day that they have been up in the sky, even if not for as long as you. My kids love getting oily faces.”

“You’ve had them up in the air?” Helen asked incredulously.

“Oh, yes,” Reynolds replied. “They want to be pilots, too, when they grow up. They love flying in Betsy.”

Helen handed back the oily towel.

“Why do you call her Betsy?” she asked.

“Look at the wings or fuselage. It’s her registration mark, the thing that identifies her on the ground or in the air. BT5Y. I read that as Betsy from the start, and the name just sort of stuck.”

Helen remembered that she had to keep him talking, conscious that Andrew was drifting round in front of the biplane and casually studying the open engine cowling where Ivan was working. Somehow it felt almost like betraying this nice man.

“Do you run flights right through the year?” she asked.

Reynolds shook his head.

“It’s a spring and summer game. Only about eight to ten weeks of the year the holiday months. I’ll lay her up over winter.”

“What will you do instead?” Helen asked.

Reynolds frowned.

“Last winter, I flew freight up in the north of Canada sea planes and floats when we could, sea planes and skis when it iced. It paid well, but I was miles from my family no nipping back at weekends. And downright dangerous, too. The Arctic takes no prisoners, worse than the Bosche. This year, I’m hoping to get a winter job with

de Havilland, delivering planes. I know a chap who works there as a test pilot, he’s putting in a word for me.” His face was suddenly grim. “I need a decent wage. We barely cover our costs with these flights here no chance of building a decent future for Janice and the girls.”

There was a sudden commotion behind them. Helen and Reynolds turned to see Ivan slam the engine cowling down and push Andrew roughly away.

“No publics here,” he yelled. “Dangerous. Clear off!”

Reynolds shook his head.

“That’s how accidents happen,” he said. “You can’t take your eyes off spectators for a second or they’re doing something crazy like walking into your turning prop. I know of pilots who have had killed or injured people blamed on them when it’s downright impossible to save the public from itself. Give me a second to run this guy off the field for his own good.”


Used to make posts more anonymous, eg a criminal case where you don’t want to expose the actual journalist.