Anything with colorful charm and a smiley silhouette which harkens back to the early days of aviation makes me sick. Thus, I hate vintage biplanes. I mean, who cares about 20% more lift than a single-wing design? Each wing still adversely affects the aerodynamics of the other! Oh, and their stupid, stupid piston engines. Barf!
OK, I lied. I really, really love biplanes. As the descendant of a long line of aviators , I’ve decided that if in the future there is still such a thing as retirement, I plan to spend it taking flight lessons. And, building my own plane. The engineering skills for which I’m sure I can acquire during afternoon classes at the Kaunoa Senior Center of the future.
Though I’m clearly so lazy so as to do nothing about it now, I do love planes enough that I often park on the airport roadside to watch them . Even the ones that sit there and do nothing (as often, those placid, privately owned turboprops are the prettiest). Doing so, however, can sometimes garner stink-eye from airport police.
Such suspicion was not the case when I began my viewing traditions in the late ’80s, with my granddad. As you might by now have calculated, this was slightly before 9/11. Actually, it was so-before that, then, beyond chilling at-will at the terminal gates’ glass windows (now strictly for ticket-holders only), you could drive right up to the chain link fence that bordered the tarmac! It was there that I would stuff my chubby toddler arm through the lowest links to see how far I could get my mini model biplanes onto the blacktop–often in hopes that the wind might whip it away un-rescue-ably, so that a worker might happen upon it and forever fear shrink rays. As, shrink rays are were what I believed to be secretly emitting from the ominously spinning radar receptors.
Again and alas, those pre-9/11 tarmac-hugging days are long gone. My own chubby toddlers and grandtoddlers of the future will have to suffice (as I have for the last nine years, and counting) with far-away vantage points makeshift-made from roadsides leading to warehouse wholesalers.
A pleasure also stripped from my toddlers of the future: seeing my granddad’s fo-realz biplane .
Yes. The very granddad that inspired my aviation-allure had a fo-realz biplane. The body painted somewheres between royal and navy, it had been hand be-flamed with old school spray gun-less ruggedness. Awesome. And, for two decades it hung from the ceiling as the centerpiece of the venerable T-Shirt Factory. On occasion, I’d pop in for a visit to gaze at a piece of my family’s history–always imagining myself one day crouched on my haunches, a chubby child on my knee, pointing at the plane and telling of its aerial adventures through the Hawaiian Islands .
Woe be to the dreamers. Last year, a stark red and white banner proclaimed the store would be going out of business . So distraught by this news, I wrote a fine letter to the owners, carefully explaining I had no capital of my own to acquire the piece, but that I would be greatly obliged to be kept abreast of the plane’s future. My printer out of black ink, the text printed in pink. This, was unacceptable, and the letter was never sent .
A year later, I am reminded of my failures in letter-sending after reading an article in The Maui News, today. The reporter  reports of “the County Council’s Economic Development, Agriculture and Recreation Committee vot[ing] unanimously Thursday in favor of a countywide prohibition on aerial advertising,” and that strong support for this bill means “Maui County looks like it soon may be the last county in Hawaii to ban banner advertisements pulled by planes, giant kites and other aircraft.”
How does this all relate to my poor letter-sending, my granddad, 9/11, Costco, chubby toddlers from the future, and shrink rays ? Turns out, a few years ago, the owner of said T-shirt hub–who himself owns a vintage biplane that is not suspended from any ceiling–sparked the issue by Tom-cruising Maui skies with, as the story says, banners to “boost business and sometimes charm his wife with messages.”
In today’s economy, we’ve all got our opinions on boosting business. But, charming his wife with messages? Now that’s just crossing the line!
I can’t imagine a woman on earth who would stand to be charmed by sweet nothings proclaimed in the heavens–especially from an icky vintage biplane ! Like many long-time locals, I remember seeing these garish displays–the banners glinting menacingly in the sun like the poisoned tail of Chucky’s kite, the sound and shadow of the plane igniting the fear of kamikaze. Despicable .
Though the man “has since sold his company and stopped the practice,” and appears to be the only known offender of what likely–in the future–will result in “a fine of $25 to $500 and up to three months in jail,” the members of the County Council are pressing forward with the bill (first proposed in February 2007 by Jo Anne Johnson) before term limits end.
So, woo hoo for the County Council for seeing things through and putting a stop to the huge annoyance that is the prevalent act of aerial advertising and wife charming. But boo hoo for reminding me I am a terrible letter sender and meanwhile ignoring the long-standing shrink ray issue.
(1) Hey, given aviation’s relatively short history, you can piss-off if you think two preceding generations does not qualify as a “long line.”
(2) You know, the back road to Costco. Also, where I pulled over to take the call from MT editor Jacob Shafer, who extended an offer to join the team; and where I subsequently sat and wept for joy for an embarrassing indeterminate amount of time before proceeding to make the appropriate phone calls to ‘ohana (as I first sought profuse congratulations… then, profuse amounts of ice cream).
(3) Hereafter, I am too lazy to insert more images.
(4) Which I will learn of–sometime in the future, of course.
(5) Maybe I should have bought something, on occasion.
(6) Though I am very good at writing letters, I am VERY BAD at sending them. Too-true story [a].
(7) Who will smile kindly upon this blog (despite its many flaws and dry attempts at humor), because I think he is good-looking.
(8) It doesn’t, really.
(9) Again, I’m lying!
(10) Still lying!
^^^ Me, inside. ^^^
* If you think this blog contained more information than you require, please read THIS BOOK. Thank you.
** As outlined in the blog above, I am very lazy. If you were in any way lead to believe that I inherently posses knowledge about aviation, my sincere apologies. Here’s how I cheated: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biplane.