Those EZ Chronicles

Surprisingly the icon on my screen has never shown any signs of wear. Only us pre-keyboarders would even think of that. I don’t know which is more titillating, waiting for Schubert's CSA to get to my mailbox and then wrestling with the staples, or clicking onto and waiting.

Wading into the CSA Newsletter or waiting for the spectacular EZ Squadron page to appear allows at least a millisecond or two for anticipation of what will come out into the light of day from the EZ world and those special folks that make up the dream and the reality of that lucky life with its wisps of epoxy and Avgas and carefully wiping bugs off of sleek handcrafted, still futuristic leading edges.

We pour over our airplane like a human glob of ants fighting the losing battle of fouling spark plugs and wear and chips and dings. But the instant the nose lifts and the tires spin free the hassles dissolve away and the magic begins again.

I always look forward to catching up on Terry’s and Avery’s work. Having watched the EZ movement from afar for too long and now fully in the middle, I never get tired of it. Normal life seems to always keep us away from our chosen torture chamber just enough that we are eager to escape and get back to where a sweaty faded fly-in shirt with dark shiny hard spots is a social asset, and mind numbing sanding and an itchy neck and arms can be endured just a little longer. The CSA pages and EZ Squadron site bring us together again for a little while, fellow travelers ignoring those around us with common sense, pushing past mother nature toward unreachable perfections and that extra five knots, and along the way sharing a life that’s more than we deserve.

Too often there is hard news in the pages or on the site. I know it’s coming with the summer and I hate it. Non-aviation tragedies can elbow in attempting to level an excuse but it doesn't help.

Then, re-reading the words in suspended realization, a grinning face appears with an elegant nosed-down work of art in the background. And I remember,
…At Oshkosh trading glimpses of the latest details on our planes,
…A flash of a conversation at Kanab, or
… Sneaking up behind him and getting him to repeat the first part of his exasperated version of why his airplane sits on its nose like that,
…The meal together at the Holiday Inn in Butler,
… Puffing overly-robust cigars at midnight at Jackpot squinting through the smoke and trading our story of “how it all began”,
…Sitting and laughing at each other on the crowded stone walkway at Rough River,
…Leaning on a motel balcony rail at sunset asking why he didn’t just order one of Klaus’s props and be done with it, and him grinning sideways and saying no, because it’s so much fun beating them with one of Bruce’s B&T props;
…Working through the memorial for someone I hadn’t met face to face, but knew;
…Reading the words and mentally floating along with him on that murky last approach, holding our breath, and me without excuse and of lesser mettle somehow still sitting here in guilty wonderment.
I fail under the sorrow that envelops loved ones, knowing they will be unable to escape and I remind myself that we’re not meant to handle some things ourselves.

I envy you guys. I envy you that got a friendly insult and welcoming smile when you walked up to their hangar. You that were comfortable with them on your wing. You that lived and breathed and dreamed with them. You that know what they would want to say to comfort us at this moment.

I think of time and technology. I think of those that lived before us that have walked this earth, and flown these skies, that we missed, that we never knew.
And I know that we are richer in this moment for having been a fellow traveler, sharing a passion, being pulled along with these special folks; that we knew them before our time got away.

Will look forward to catching up with you guys…
Bill James, Fort Worth VariEze

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