• Published 28th May 2017
  • 3,031 Views, 19 Comments

Stop That Blimp! - Alden MacManx

a short story crossing Goldfur's Safe Landing line with Mixtape's Sin Never Dies line. The main character is from a story yet to be published. A Ponies after People tale.

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Stop That Blimp!

“Before you leave, Hal, we have something to give you,” Machspeed told the visiting pony.

The grey pegasus looked puzzled. “Okay,” he replied as he followed the unicorn into the staff common room.

The entire ARRRS crew were gathered and waiting, and Flashpoint was holding up a jacket in her magic. Machspeed took it from her and faced the bemused pegasus.

“On behalf of the Aeronautical Returnee Rescue Response Squad, I’d like to present you with one of our jackets as an unofficial member as thanks for your invaluable help today.”

Hal grinned as he took the jacket, slipping his wings through the slots with practiced ease. “Thanks, guys, I had loads of fun helping out. Believe me, I’m not going to forget this day in a hurry….”

# # # # # # # # #

Major Hal Sleet, Nevada Aeronautical Survey (Reserves) and Dust Devils auxiliary, nodded to Machspeed as the two completed the tour of the Aeronautical Returnee Rescue Response Squad (A.R.R.R.S.) facility outside of Brisbane. “I have to hoof it to you, Machspeed, you have a first-class organization here. First-rate talent, too,” he said with obvious approval.

“Without Flashpoint’s skills, little of this would be possible,” Machspeed replied with more than a little pride.

“Here’s hoping Flashpoint can teach Raven her pinpoint teleportation skill, if not the range. Right now, she can only teleport herself, and the most she can do currently is about fifteen miles. She has yet to be able to take anyone with her,” the grey pegasus with the rainbow mane and tail said. He held up a hoof. “If I could still cross my fingers, I would be.”

“I know what you mean, Hal. Sometimes I find myself wishing I could do that.”

“Tough rescues, eh?”

“They can be. Some can be fun, but not all.”

“So Harper told me last time I filled in for the Dust Devils. I could fly small planes, but I never got past single engine prop. After my mother died these many years ago, I sort of lost interest. Kept it up, but never tried for my twin license. I can fly them, but never got the permits. She was the real pilot. I learned how at her knee, and got my license while I was in the Navy, but the only things I really flew were submarines. Now, that can be a challenge.”

“How so?” Machspeed asked as the two ponies approached his office.

“In a plane, you rely on dynamic lift – air moving over the wings keeps you up. Lose speed, and you stall and head groundward fast.” At Machspeed’s nod of understanding, Hal went on. “In a sub, lift is provided by the air in the ballast tanks. With air in the tanks, you go up to the surface, no two ways about it.

“However, you vent the air out of the tanks, and you can dive. Depth control is assisted by the planes, but you can control depth with the internal trim tanks. Pump some water out to go up, take water in to go down, send water forward to nose down, aft to nose up. Speed is independent of lift. You can maintain depth control at ahead flank as well as you can at ahead one-third. You can cruise along at an up angle or a down angle without changing depth. On the six fifty-six, more than once, Engineering asked for a half-degree down angle to drain bilges. It is possible to put fairwater planes down and stern planes up and cruise along at 200 feet. Not easy, but it can be done.”

“Sounds exciting. How can you see where you are going?” Machspeed asked.

“Simple – you don’t. All you see is an instrument bank in front of you, with ship’s attitude, depth, rudder and plane indicators, and other instruments. For where you are, you depend on the Navigation department, Sonar and the Quartermasters to keep you from running into an underwater mountain or another ship,” Hal said before shuddering a little. “One time, we came up through a thermal layer right under a supertanker. Estimates guess that the screws of the tanker cleared the missile deck by ten feet. They got screw counts from the engine room and the chief’s quarters.”

“Were you on duty at the time?”

“Yes, as Chief of the Watch. The Officer of the Deck ordered a crash dive, I started taking on water, we went to max down on all planes, and the Diving Officer triggered the general alarm instead of the collision alarm while declaring ‘Collision Imminent’,” Hal said before snorting. “Only time I ever caught Chief Brightling making a mistake.”

“When was this?”

“1983 in the Atlantic. My second patrol on the Carver. Did five there, and six on the Woody Wilson before that.”

“Hit any good ports?”

Hal shook his head as he grabbed a cup of coffee from the ever-ready supply for the staff. “Boomers seldom get good ports. Our job was to go out and stay hid, ready to launch missiles whenever called for. Once, we did go to Barbados. That was fascinating.”

Machspeed was about to ask more about it when his receptionist, Rosethorn, came in. “Mach, I have a call for a Returning aircraft in Rome. They want to talk to you,” she said.

“Thank you, Rose. I’ll take it in here,” Mach said as he lifted the telephone with his telekinesis. When he heard the connection being made, he said, “A.R.R.R.S., this is Machspeed.”

“Signor Machspeed, I is Leonardo Saldacci, airport manager in Roma,” a heavily accented voice said. “We have had an airship Return just outside of Roma a few minutes ago. It is slowly gaining altitude, heading inwards toward the city. Can you do rescue, yes?”

“An airship? You mean like a blimp, yes?”

“Si, si, blimp – that is word. If go too high, could rupture gas cells and crash. Can you rescue?”

Machspeed looked at Hal. “Think you can help me land a blimp?”

Hal smiled. “Since you asked me, I’m willing to try. Where at?”


“Roma? Ottimo! Parlo Italiano! Mi famiglia, e di Napoli!”

Machspeed turned back to the phone. “Mister Saldacci, we should be there within ten minutes.”

“Hurry, per favore, Signor Machspeed.”

# # #

Machspeed put out the all-call, announcing an imminent rescue, asking all hooves to gather at the muster area, which was done within two minutes. He quickly explained the situation in Rome.

“What do we know about flying a blimp, Mach?” Sunbeam asked.

“Not much, but we do have somepony here who knows something about handling buoyancy,” Mach said, pointing to Hal with a hoof.

“There is probably not much space at all in the blimp’s gondola, so I think the initial wave should be just Machspeed, Flashpoint and myself. Flashpoint can evac the crew of the blimp, while Mach and I can try to get the airship under control enough to bring it to a safe landing,” Hal told the group.

“You think you can leave me behind on this?” Amelia said belligerently.

“At first, yes,” Hal said. “Once we get aboard and look about, we can have you come up and assist. At first, we’ll need to get the crew off and see if I can puzzle out the buoyancy controls before we go too high.”

“He does have a point, Amelia,” Machspeed said.

Amelia’s temper settled as she thought some about the rescue. “Yes, he does. Okay, I’ll come along second. But you better call me in as soon as you need me!”

“Amelia, if I have to be altitude cox’n, I’ll need one of you for the rudder and the other for the planes. Everyone else will be line handlers, if we can get her down.”

“Lines! Pounder, gather as much line as you can find, with some sort of carabiners on one end to hook onto the line attachment points. Sunbeam, Featherdrop, get ready to attach the lines, once we get low enough,” Machspeed ordered.

“Hal, you be careful out there. I’ve already almost lost you once. I won’t have it happen twice,” Raven, Hal’s wife said, with their young twins, Black Onyx and Kaleidoscope, standing next to her.

“That’s what I’ll be there for, Raven,” Flashpoint said. “If trouble develops, I can get them down safely.”

“Let’s do this, ponies. First wave is myself, Flashpoint, Amelia and Major Sleet. Once we determine what is going on, Flashpoint will get the rest of you.”

“ARRR!” the group cheered as Amelia and Flashpoint moved close to Machspeed and Hal. Once they were all touching, Flashpoint teleported them to Rome’s airport.

# # #

In Rome, Mr. Saldacci, a red and green pegasus with white wings, met them and brought the ARRRS party to the tower, trying to explain in his broken English what was going on. Once Major Sleet indicated that he spoke Italian, Saldacci relaxed and gave a better explanation, which Hal translated.

“The blimp appeared on their radar about fifteen minutes ago, eighteen kilometers west of the city, close to the ground. Since then, it has been drifting east at about three kilometers an hour, and is climbing at a bit under one hundred meters a minute. No radio communications yet from the airship. The daily flight from Firenze will divert to get an eye on it, but that won’t be for another ten minutes or so.”

“Got a fix on it, Flashpoint?” Machspeed asked.

“Getting. I can feel it, but have not locked on yet. Give me a few more seconds to get a solid fix.”

“Okay. Amelia, you stay down here for now and be our comm relay. Once we get the crew out, you come up and give us a hoof. Clear?”

“Got it, boss,” Amelia said, going to look over the tower radios and radar.

“Let’s do this!” Hal said, moving next to Flashpoint.

“Onward and upward, team!” Machspeed declared. Flashpoint activated her teleport, and the three ponies were aboard the airship.

# # #

Once there, the team looked about. Two griffins were in the back at some sort of camera console, wedged in between the seats and the console. Forward, a pegasus and an earth pony were at the flight controls, the earth pony unconscious, and the pegasus on the razor’s edge of panic.

“Anyone here speak English?” Machspeed called out.

“I do, some. Captain knows more, but he pass out cold,” the pegasus managed to say. “What happen to us?”

“Long story, which we won’t have time for now. Let’s get you evacuated, and we’ll see about flying this craft down to the ground,” Machspeed told the new pegasus.

“Where are the buoyancy controls?” Hal asked. At the pegasus’ confused look, he repeated the question in Italian. The pegasus pointed to a bank of switches. “Sono quelli”

“Grazie,” Hal replied, looking the panel over.

One of the griffins started squawking in rapid-fire Italian, this one with red-brown feathers and a cream-colored fur pattern. Hal listened, said something in return, then said to Machspeed, “These two are stuck. Can we get them loose now? This one says she’s losing feeling in her feet.”

“Right. Flash?” Mach said. Together, the two unicorns managed to free the two stuck griffins while Hal studied the controls.

“Grazie, signore cavallo.” said the second griffin, a gray-feathered and furred male.

“You’re welcome. Flash, you ready?” Mach asked.

“Get the unconscious one on my back, and have the others touch me. I’ll get them back to the ground and bring Amelia up.”

“Right.” Mach levitated the earth pony out of his seat and onto Flashpoint’s back, while Hal told the others what to do, helping the pegasus pilot to get up and move to where Flashpoint waited. When all were touching her, Flashpoint and the four crewfolk vanished. Instantly, the blimp nosed up and started rising faster.

“Hal, what’s going on?” Mach called out as he scrambled for the pilot’s seat.

“Losing the weight of five people without changing the lift is causing the ascent rate to climb! I better get some lift out! Full dive on all planes, increase speed to full!” Hal shouted as he held himself in place with one hoof, studying the control panel.

Mach climbed into the pilot’s seat and pushed forward on the yoke, moving the elevators to the full down position. “We’re still climbing!”

Hal quickly worked some controls with both his mouth and a wingtip. “I’m taking some lift out, compressing the helium back into the tanks. What’s our altitude?”

“Twenty-five hundred meters and climbing. Going to full power.”

“Be careful. Once we start going down, let me know. I’ll have to put some lift back in so we don’t descend too fast.”

“Hey, Mach, need some help up there?” Amelia’s voice came over the radio.

“Would be appreciated, Amelia. This craft is being a little antsy!” Mach called back, holding the yoke at a full down angle, yet the blimp kept rising.

“Be right up!” Amelia responded.

“Altitude, Mach?” Hal asked.

“Twenty-seven hundred meters and climbing.”

“Is there a climb-rate indicator there?” Hal asked as Flashpoint and Amelia appeared in the gondola.

Machspeed looked over the flight control panel. “Attitude, artificial horizon, altimeter, speed, climb rate… okay, it’s reading seventy meters a minute and dropping slowly. Make that sixty-two meters a minute. Amelia, take the copilot seat and hold the yoke in full down. Flash, get the rest of the crew to the Rome airport, then call me on the radio. I have an idea,” he said.

“Will do, Mach,” Flash said before vanishing.

“What you have in mind, Mach?” Hal asked.

Mach was watching the climb rate indicator. “Climb rate now sixty-four meters a minute. Does that tell you anything?”

Hal thought as he kept shunting lift out of the gasbag. “I think I do. How many of the crew do you think Flash could get up here without us stepping on each other?”

“One at a time, to add weight. I’m thinking twelve. Once we start dropping, start adding lift very slowly. We can bring this ship down, if we work together.”

“I see, Mach! Living ballast!” Amelia said from the copilot’s chair.

“Yes! The more weight we have up here, the less it will climb. Humans are bigger than ponies, so when they changed, there went ballast. Moving the crew off lightened the load even more, and we can’t shift lift out fast enough, so, we bring our own ballast along and up,” Mach explained.

“Good point, Mach,” Hal said. “This beast is real sluggish responding to depth control. Must have been trimmed for a higher weight, and it’s not compensating fast enough. Altitude?”

“Nearing twenty-nine hundred meters, climb rate down to fifty-six meters per minute.”

“Good to hear. Let’s hope Flashpoint gets the crew here soon.”

“She will, Major,” Amelia told him. “She’s very good at what she does.”

“As are the rest of us, Hal,” Machspeed added. “While we’re waiting, how do you know Italian so fluently?”

“When I was human, my name was Charles Anthony Corso Junior. A lot of my older relatives only spoke Italian, so I learned while young. Mother’s family is from Sicily, father’s from Naples. Guess it stuck around better than I had hoped,” Hal explained. “Still shunting lift out of all cells. Compressors seem to be running slow.”

“That’s because the generators are off line. We’re cruising on battery power only, and it’s going down,” Amelia said.

“They must have been coming in for mooring, and had everything shut down. See if you can find the engine start,” Hal suggested.

“Good idea,” Mach said as he looked over the controls. After a moment, “Okay, found it. Starting.” He pushed the button with his telekinesis, and all the lights dimmed. He quickly let up on the button. “That’s not good.”

“Not at all. We have a power drain somewhere. Check all controls, and shut off everything not needed,” Hal ordered as he headed to the back of the gondola, where the griffins had been sitting.

The two pilots looked at their panels, conferring over what systems to shut down. One by one, they shut systems down, radio, outside lights, inside lights (it was a sunny morning in Rome), navigation aids. Amelia found a switch. “Nose winch? What’s that?” she asked.

“Blimps sometimes have a line up in the bow, attached to a winch, which can be extended for mooring purposes. Get close to the ground, extend the nose line, and handlers on the ground can catch it and move the blimp to a secure mooring,” Hal explained.

“Well I’m getting a malfunction light on it. It’s set to retract, and it won’t shut off.” Amelia reported as she tried to turn off the winch, which failed to respond.

“I think that’s the source of the power drain, ponies,” Machspeed said. “Can you find a battery charge indicator, Amelia?”

The teal unicorn checked the unfamiliar instrument panels once again. “Found it,” she said in not-very-encouraging tones.

“What’s the reading?”

“Ten percent and dropping.”

Hal came forward and shut off the compressors on the lift control panel. “That should lessen the drain. Climb rate?”

“Forty meters a minute. Better than seventy,” Machspeed replied.

“Hope Flashpoint can handle teleporting everyone up here one at a time.”

“Hey, she brought thirteen ponies down from the ISS in a big tin can. She can handle one pony at a time,” Amelia said confidently.

“The ISS? You mean the Space Station?” Hal said, not believing what he had just heard.

“The Space Station. Not only that, but we got the Shuttle down as well.”

Hal gave the two unicorns a look of pure admiration. “I didn’t hear about that. I’m impressed.”

“More on that back at the base. Right now, let’s get this puppy down.” Machspeed said, returning his attention to the controls. “Let’s see if we can find a breaker to that winch.”

The team spent the next few minutes looking before a call came on Mach’s radio. “We’re all here, Mach. How are you doing?” Flashpoint called.

“Not as good as we hoped. You got everyone there?”

“The standard flight rescue crew. How do you want to proceed?”

“Bring Sky-scream up first. I’ll fill you in then.”

“On our way!”

Within half a minute, Flashpoint and Sky-scream appeared in the gondola. “What you need me to do, Mach?” the big griffin asked.

“Stand in the back there, by that control panel, and just stay there. Flash, bring Pounder up next. Ascent rate?”

“Down to thirty-one meters per minute, Mach.” Amelia reported.

“Good. After Pounder, bring up the rest, one at a time. The more weight, the better, but not too much too fast.”

Flashpoint smiled in understanding. “Okay, I see now. Be right back!” she said as she teleported out.

“What’s going on up here?” Sky-scream asked.

“This balloon won’t stop going up, so we are going to weigh it down, Scream.” Mach told him.

“Why not let some gas out?”

“Because if we did, we may not be able to control the descent. Altitude control by releasing gas is dicey at best, because once out, it’s gone. We would either have to add gas or drop weight to stop the descent, and none of us are expert balloonists,” Hal explained.

“How do you know so much about balloons?” Sky-scream asked the visiting pegasus.

“Being Chief of the Watch aboard submarines put me in control of buoyancy, being a helmsman taught me flying a sub, and I’m a licensed private pilot. But most of my ballooning knowledge comes from my love of a classic Australian science-fiction author.”

“Which one?” the griffin asked.

“A fellow named A. Bertram Chandler. He was a merchant skipper who wrote science-fiction as a hobby for about forty years. Balloons and blimps featured in some of his novels.”

“I’ve heard of him.” Machspeed said from the front panel as Flashpoint brought Pounder in. “He died some time before the Event, right?”

“Back in the Eighties. I collected all of his works I could find. When I was a kid, he was my favorite author.”

“Where you want me, Mach?” the big earth pony asked.

“Back by Screamer, please. Ascent rate?”

“Dropping… stabilizing at twenty-two meters per minute. Altitude thirty-two hundred meters.”

“Okay. Flash – start bringing up the unicorns. Have Sunbeam and Featherdrop fly up with a line each and hook them up. Have them keep doing so until we start descending, then they can help guide us to the ground.”

“Got it, Mach,” Flashpoint said before heading out.

“Mach, I’m going to head out and see if I can unplug the forward winch, or at least have the line run free. If I can’t stop the power loss, at least I can get us nose-down,” Hal said, moving to the gondola door.

“Sounds like a plan, Major. Before you go, Pounder, give the Major your radio, please.”

“Right, Mach.” Pounder slipped his radio off and helped Hal put it on.

Once it was set, Hal opened the door and went out. “Sleet to Mach – radio check.

“Read you five by, Major. Go do it to it.”

“Do it to it, Sleet, aye.”

Flashpoint brought the crew members up one at a time, the ascent rate going down with each pony. However, they ran out of crew members before running out of ascent. “Hal, how are you doing out there?”

“I’ve found the nose reel, broke open the hatch and am about ready to start pulling lines. I can smell the motor overheating.”

“Hal, hold off. Come back to the gondola door and pick up Amelia. Have her pull the lines with telekinesis.”

“Understood. We’re still climbing, right?”

“At four meters per minute. We’re going to have to find some more ponies.”

“On my way.”

“Why me, Mach?” Amelia asked.

“You like to ride on Sunbeam’s back, you know how to hang on to a pegasus, and Hal knows where to go. You can get the job done faster than anypony else. Flash, head back to the base and see if you can round up a few more weights.”

“Good argument, Mach,” Amelia said as Flashpoint teleported out. She made her way to the gondola door and opened it as Hal flew up. Arclight telekinetically picked Amelia up and settled her on Hal’s back. Once set, he flew up to the nose winch.

“You see the power lines?” Hal shouted when they got to the open hatch.

“Yes, I do. Keep us steady while I pull, okay?”

“Got it!” Hal held as still as he could while Amelia’s horn lit up and pulled hard on the wiring. Several connectors came loose and the winch motor stopped straining.

“That did it! Let’s get you back inside and I’ll start pulling the line out!”

“Sounds good, Major! Let’s do it!”

Hal flew back to the gondola door where Arclight waited to lift Amelia off his back and inside. Once free, he flew back to the winch, grabbed the line in his teeth and pulled. The line resisted at first, but it slowly came free, running the reel out. That’s when he noticed the blimp had stopped rising and was heading down slowly.

“Mach, where did you find the extra weight?” Hal called over the radio.

“You better not call me fat, Chuckie, or I’ll kick you from Brisbane to Perth!”

“Yes, Raven. Let’s get this airship to port,” Hal said meekly before flying to the end of the nose line, looking ahead for a landing place.

Flashpoint looked at Raven. “You normally push him around like that?” she asked.

“It’s the only way to keep him under control, Flash,” Raven said with a smile. Their partner, Wordsmythe, a burly dark-orange earth pony, nodded in agreement.

“Raven, don’t give her any ideas!” Machspeed complained from the pilot’s seat as the crew laughed.

“Who said I needed any ideas, Mach?” Flashpoint said with an evil smile.

Ignoring the barb, Mach looked back at the flight control panel. “Hal, we’re dropping at ten meters per minute. Is that safe enough?” he asked.

“What’s our altitude, Mach?”

“Thirty-one hundred meters.”

“At that rate, it’s going to take five hours to land this thing. Try starting the generator again. If not enough power, ask Raven to try a jump start. If I can get some lift control, I want to try to drop this thing a lot faster until we’re a kilometer up, then add some lift. Need me inside?”

“Stand by. Trying engine start.” Mach pushed the start button with his telekinetic glow. The engine coughed, the panel lights dimmed, but the engine managed to catch. “We have engine start! Come on back in, Hal!”

“Be right there!”

When Hal got back to the door, he found he had to push his way through the crowd to get next to Amelia and the lift control station. “Okay, now. Batteries charging?” he asked.

“Batteries are charging, and we have full power available from generator,” Amelia reported.

“Activating compressors, taking lift out of all gasbags. Come to ahead full, full down on all planes. Better call ahead to see if the airport is ready for us,” Hal suggested.

“Will we even make the airport from here?” Arclight asked.

“We should, if I have not gotten turned around.”

“Flash, go to the airport and get us a steer from there.” Machspeed ordered. “We may not know where they are, but they know where we are, thanks to radar.”

“Will do, Mach!” she replied before doing.

“What’s our descent rate?” Hal asked.

“About twenty-five meters per minute.”

“Let me know when we hit one hundred meters a minute, and sound off when we pass fifteen hundred meters. I want to try to level off at one thousand before attempting a landing.”

“Better a bump than a thump, right?” Mach commented.

“I have not botched a landing in my life, and I don’t plan to now,” Hal said, looking at his wife across the crowded gondola. “She’ll never let me forget it!”

“She and I both, Hal.” Wordsmythe said from where he stood. “The write up on this will make a good page in the Review-Journal.”

Hal locked eyes with Machspeed. “We better not botch this.” the two said simultaneously.

“Mach, we have you on radar. Steer zero-eight-five true. You’re about nine kilometers out.” Flashpoint called on the radio. “You have clearance to land here. The airport staff is marking out a landing area for you.”

“Tell them ‘molte grazie’, Flashpoint,” Hal said.

“Will do!”

Mach turned the airship so it was on the proper heading, the descent rate steadily increasing as more lift was shunted out. A few minutes went by before Amelia reported, “Descent rate one hundred meters per minute, altitude two-one hundred meters.”

“Very well, Amelia. Let me configure this for gas release back into the lift cells,” Hal said.

Machspeed turned to look at the fourteen other ponies crammed in to the now quite cramped gondola. “Hang on to your dinners, crew. I just thought of a way to get down faster. Expect a steep angle.”

“Mach, if you’re going to do what I think you’re going to do, start leveling out at a thousand meters. This beast is real slow on depth control,” Hal said warily.

“Full power, full dive! Let’s get down from here!” Mach shouted as he put the planes down while dialing up full speed. Slowly, the down angle increased, passing through ten degrees, to fifteen, through twenty before stopping at a twenty-five degree down angle. Every pony in the back struggled not to fall forward, some of the unicorns setting up fields to hold them back.

“Passing fifteen hundred meters, Mach!” Amelia said.

“Remind me not to mention angles and dangles to this crew,” Hal muttered as he tried not to fall over Amelia.

“Pulling out of dive now!” Mach said as he eased the elevons out of the steep angle, dialing the engines back to cruising speed.

“Do you normally do thrill rides, Machspeed?” Raven asked.

“Remind me to tell you about the time he put the cargo 747 into a loop,” Amelia said.

“I did NOT loop a 747, Raven. SHE did!” Mach said defensively.

“I didn’t think that was possible.” Hal commented.

“Got news for you… it’s not.” Arclight said from the back. “They’re just jerking your chain.”

“Spoilsport!” Amelia accused before looking again at her panel. “Altitude nine hundred meters. Better get ready to add lift, Hal.”


“Just what are you chowder heads doing up there?” Flashpoint called.

“Getting down out of the stratosphere into some denser air, love. What’s our distance?”

“Seven and a half kilometers, Mach. You’re spot on course. The field will be clear for you for the next ninety minutes, then the Vienna flight will be arriving.”

“We’ll be there beforehand. Any word on the airship’s crew?”

“They have been taken to a hospital for observation. The captain is completely out of it, copilot close to doing so. The camera griffins are doing better than them.”

“Good to hear, Flash. We should be there in about twenty minutes, at this speed.”

“I’ll roll out the red carpet.”

“Suuuure, you will,” Amelia said drily.

“Hal, once we’re there, any instructions?” Mach asked.

“Yes, one important one.” Hal said, looking back at the crowd. “DO NOT exit the gondola under ANY circumstances until it is completely tied down to the ground, lift shunted out, and motors off. Your weight is making the ship descend, and if you get off before we are ready, this ship is heading right back up. So, STAY PUT, ponies!

“Sunbeam, Featherdrop, how many lines have you attached to the tie downs?”

“Three on each side, plus the nose line, Major,” Sunbeam reported.

“Okay, once we get to the ground, start anchoring the lines to anything possible. Buildings, bottle screws, dog runs, I don’t care. We need to get this sausage firmly set before we exit.”

“Roger that.”

# # #

An hour later with the airship firmly anchored to the ground, enough lift taken out so the ship could not lift its own weight, and generators off, Hal declared while standing in the doorway, “All hooves may now disembark. Thank you for flying Rainbow Air.” The resulting stampede bowled Hal over, finding hoof prints in his wing feathers afterwards.

He looked up after everyone had left. “Sheesh… it wasn’t that bad a flight, was it?”

Author's Note:

Edit 1 thanks to Orbiting Kettle, who cleaned up my admittedly sub-standard knowledge of the Italian language and grammar. Okay, so my last Italian class was in 1976...

Comments ( 19 )

Love your humor in this one. Great story line that works well with Goldfur's Ponies After People and I felt you kept true to his characters. Keep up the good work.


I did my best, and he liked it, so I'm glad to get independent confirmation. Grazie, paisano!

Micro chapter and link from my Safe Landings page has now been added! :pinkiehappy:

Bless you, kind sir. Bless you.

So, is this implying that Hal is one of Rainbow Dash's ancestors? :rainbowlaugh:

Not hardly, no how. But, he (and I) appreciate the thought. I didn't think of that....

Hold on Lads, I have an idea.

We are the Self Preservation Society. :pinkiehappy:

I think you phrased that awkwardly, because you make it sound the Ponies After People universe is Goldfur's, when it is actually Starscribe's. Goldfur merely wrote the Safe Landings sidefic that this is part of.

Oh hey! Look at that! You got the story up!

For those of you that don't know, Hal is a high ranking weather pony for the Nevada Aeronautical Survey: the air traffic and weather control organization for my fic 'Sin Never Dies'.
Hal is, of course, Alden's character, but we did a little bit of a collab with the storylines.

Yeah sorry bout that, been up for nearly twenty-four hours now and couldn't think straight to write a comment sorry Starscribe and all the other great author out there. Going to bed now.

He looked up after everyone had left. “Sheesh… it wasn’t that bad a flight, was it?”

I'd be shouting "AGAIN!" Hope they keep this one and not demolish it.:pinkiehappy:

Loop mightn't be possible but a barrel roll is.

8195294 Isn't that an aeleron roll and not a barrel roll? :trixieshiftright:

8198600 Hard to tell the maneuver in that video as the cameraman is keeping the focus on the plane not the environment. Tex's roll was recorded everywhere as a barrel roll, no mention of aileron roll anywhere, not something I'd like to try in a near 42 ton prototype jetliner anyhow. Even then president of Boeing, William Allen in a filmed interview refers to it as a barrel roll. Don't know why he mentions a chandelle maneuver as that's a steep climbing 180° turn

That was fun!
While I certainly did not understand a lot of the theory flying there, it was still an interesting read.
I don't know whether anything of this will stick with me, but I still enjoyed the terminology being thrown around.

The banter here was good as well. It wasn't outright hilarious, but at the same time it was pretty grounded in reality of the situation, which made it great as well.

Great job! :twilightsmile:

That was thoroughly enjoyable! Well done mate!

The best aspect of this rescue, is that the airship might be reusable. None of the rescued airliners would ever fly again, but an airship might just work in a tech-poor world.

you have a point, but, the infrastructure to support it is lacking. adequate landing spots, helium replacement, spare parts, fuel, etc. would ensure it would not be airworthy long. What can you do with a camera blimp? Not a lot...

First, you can do many things with a blimp that fixed wing aircraft and helicopters can’t, such as remaining in the air far longer than heavier than air aircraft.  Also, blimps are able to dock at Pegasus Cloudominiums as well as Pegasus cloud cities.

Second, the cannon TV series has shown many balloons and blimps.  Also, there is the upcoming episode “Once Upon a Zeppelin” and the 2017 movie also features airships.  Therefore, I’m hopeful that we can see more airships featured in our favorite MLP spinoff series.

See my reply to Lancerlot. That particular blimp would not be useful for any sort of transport, it being primarily a camera blimp, but the pieces, once disassembled, well, who knows what uses it can be put to?

Also, finding trained pilots would be hard. Hal and Mach were able to get it down in good weather with basic knowledge and a hell of a lot of luck. In rough weather? Who knows?

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