We’re 1500 feet over the Gulf Islands, westbound with Biloxi off my right wing. Until yesterday, I had no idea where Biloxi was. And until this morning, I had no idea where Lafayette was, other than “somewhere in Louisiana.” But that’s where we’re headed. Did I mention, by the way, that I’m flying a B-17? Mac is in the left seat, but once we were set up and clear of Pensacola’s airspace, he handed the controls off to me in his usual offhand style:
“Okay, Pablo – you take it. Keep us on 262 at this altitude.”
“I’ve got the controls.” <- me doing the positive exchange of control confirmation
“Yup, you’ve got ’em.”
And so I got to hand fly us for two and a half hours, just me, Mac and Zane. Lumbering across Alabama, Mississippi and half of Louisiana, lumbering along over bayou and bay, lumbering past iconic names that were far away in my mind and unstuck from any map I had ever imagined: Mobile, Gulfport, Pontchartrain.
Regular readers will have guessed that I’m back on tour with the Collings gang. It’s a surreal little world where I get to go barnstorming around the country with a bunch of other volunteers, flying WW2 fighters and bombers from town to town, giving rides and trying to bring history alive. We’ll be in Lafayette for a couple of days, soaking in Cajun hospitality, then on to Alexandria before I have to head home and rejoin what passes for “normal” for me. I’ll keep you posted.