L. Ron Hubbard by his airplane Almost every flier has heard that the cows love to eat the dope off the wings and even the fabric. Flip and I had put that fact down as just another one of aviation’s tall stories. At Andersonville (I forget the state)—whence we had flown in search of beer, which we didn’t find and wouldn’t have wanted, anyhow—we floated too far and when we landed we ground-looped too fast in avoiding a fence. One tire blew. While we were pumping it up, the other went down. Then the first refused to stay inflated, and evening found us marooned in a cow pasture. A farmer let several cows into the field, and though the cows had never seen a plane before, they dashed up and began to lick the fabric in ecstasy. We spent the next few minutes trying to keep them off until the puzzled farmer came and took them away again. After this we are going to keep the tongue away from the cheek around the hangars.

One scene we witnessed will remain in my memory a long, long time. It was evening and the sun had almost vanished over the rim. Clouds were all around us on the horizon, their uppermost rifts so level
L. Ron Hubbard's pilot log that they made a continuous, circular black curtain which, though miles away, seemed to frown at us as they gradually came closer. We were flying at 3,000 feet, and though we traveled at ninety miles an hour, we seemed to have paused with the rest of an eerie world. Down below, the ground was streaked with long shadows made by trees and houses, small on a rolling terrain. Above the clouds, starting from a sharply defined line, the sky was a magnificent blue, dotted here and there by faint golden stars. For an hour we roared on, the LeBlond seemingly puny in all this expanse. Finally, I looked in back of us, and there above that black curtain, reared three flaming red tufts which seemed to blaze. I nudged Flip. He stared back at the clouds and began an immediate search for a landing field. Too much was too much. We had been up there in all that terrible grandeur so long that we had almost ceased to be earthly beings. We circled and circled over a huge stubble field trying to get back to earth. Finally our sense of dimension returned, and we set the Sparrow down. Anyway, with all our mishaps, we proved three or four L. Ron Hubbard's pilot log things (something always must be proved by a flight): Light planes are practical for cross country work; a pilot doesn’t have to follow the air lanes and empty his purse into hangar fees—he can get along just as well trying this backyard stunt; and touring for pleasure in a plane is not half as dangerous as the skeptics like to believe, and twice as much fun as any other way. Sportsmen pilots do not have to limit their flying to their own backyards. The more the US is informally toured, the quicker aviation will find a place in the hearts of the chaps on the byroads.And they say romance is dead!



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