Economics 101, a Novel, ch_21 -- Checking the Plane in the Water

[The almost-final draft of this chapter is here:]
(The story starts here:
The previous chapter is here:

We could intuit this chapter, but I need the practice writing. I should warn you, it feels a little over the top in places.

The radio crackled to life. "Coast Guard Eastern Crane to Matt Hansted"

Matt started awake and reached for the mike.

"Coast Guard Eastern Crane calling Matt Hansted. Do you read?"

"Copy. Go ahead."

Zedidiah shook himself awake and opened the plane door, stepping down to the beach.

"We are about a half hour off the target. Are you in the air?"

"Negative. We've been waiting on the beach, but we will return to the target immediately."

"Roger and out."

Zedidiah waited for Matt to signal coupez, then pumped the propeller once. It spun, the engine coughed, and then it stopped. When Matt signaled contact, he checked and pumped again, and the engine caught, settling into a smooth roar.

Zedidiah ran around to the co-pilot side door and climbed in, and Matt pushed the plane into taxi, checked the wind in the rudders and ailerons, then accelerated and put the plane in the air.

"Sure appreciate this."

"I'm sure my turn'll come around."

Matt and Zedidiah arrived first, scanning below the surface for the plane they had spotted under the waves a few hours earlier. The water was clear, and they could see to the sea floor, some twenty to forty feet below the surface. Not finding it immediately, they circled low, spiraling outward. On the third pass, they spotted it, confirming the registration number again on the forth pass.

Zedidiah took the mike and keyed it as Matt moved his plane out and started a circling climb around the plane in the water.

"Eastern Crane, come in."


"On location, visual on the target, and rising."

"Copy that."

Shortly, the radio crackled again.

"We have your plane in sight."

"We're waiting." And Matt nosed back down.

"Can you put me in the water when they have their crew ready?"

"I can hold the plane at forty knots. Into the wind should give you thirty-five, if we're lucky."

"I want to look at the plane."

Matt took the mike. "Eastern Crane, my co-pilot, the half-owner of the plane, wants me to drop him in the water when you get here."

"He's crazy."

"Do we have clearance?"

"Does he know how? We are not anxious to make an emergency run to a hospital."

"He's one of those acrobat types."

"It's his life."

When the Eastern Crane arrived, the crew was readying a dinghy to dive from.

Their radio operator called them and said, "We have visual on the plane and the registration confirmed. If he wants to drop, go ahead."

"Coming down."

Matt cut power and extended flaps.

"See you back at the island," Zedidiah said as he climbed out onto the wing.

Matt nosed the plane down, dropping to a little more than ten feet above the waves and then held the nose up, signaling Zedidiah as he approached stall speed. Zedidiah dove, and Matt trimmed the flaps, set the magneto back to contact and worked the throttle until the wind in the propeller pushed the engine back to life as Zedidiah cut the waves hands-first.

"You guys are both crazy!" crackled over the radio as Matt watched Zedidiah break the water surface behind the plane.

Zedidiah turned, sighted the Coast Guard's dinghy, and swam to it.

"Are you okay?"

"Stings a little. I want to go down to get a look."

"Hang on and we'll get you a tank."

Zedidiah waited while the crew dove first and gave the plane a once over. Then they gave him a tank and he dove with them. He checked the cabin, pointing out the log book and other things that the Coast Guard would need for their examination. One of the crew pointed out the fuel gauge, and Zedidiah checked it and nodded grimly.

On board the Eastern Crane, the investigators questioned Zedidiah, and he explained as much as he knew.

(The link to the next chapter will be here when it's ready.

(The chapter index is here:

Popular Posts