Last weekend I re-watched Disney’s Aladdin (I was looking for subtext on the 1991 Gulf War*) and the whole ‘Genie of the Lamp’ thing got me thinking:
If you could have any aircraft to fly, for 72 hours, what would it be?
Essentially, over the course of three days, it’s yours. Fuel, oils and other consumables are no question. Go for it. But there are some rules:
1. For that 72 hours, you’re an A-Cat pilot and you have all necessary crew required to operate this – aircrew and engineers alike. So essentially, there’s little danger of death due to inexperience.
2. Operating costs are no question, and assume you’ll have perfect serviceability for those three days (insert easy joke at expense of unreliable plane here).
3. It can be a retired/extinct type. Let’s just imagine for a moment that a mosquito bit the plane, got preserved in amber, and has been restored through the wonders of science.
4. It can’t be a paper plane, drawing board design or patent concept. It’s got to have flown. Just because someone made a sweet CADCAM drawing of it, or Hollywood brought some fevered dream of a Nazi madman to celluloid life, doesn’t mean it will fly here.
5. Assume that the ground facilities to operate this come with the package – whether it be a grass airstrip, mooring tower, or USS Yorktown.
6. We’re abiding by legal requirements here, by way of airspace restrictions and diplomatic clearances. So, don’t think you’re going to bust controlled airspace or commit a warcrime with this here fantasy. If it’s a military aircraft, assume you’ve been given a ticket to use their airspace as part of the deal.
7. You can use it for profit, if you’re so inclined. Because why wouldn’t you?
Three days is essentially to give some texture to this. If you want to zoom in to a low earth orbit over 25 minutes, for as many times as your body can sustain it in those 72 hours, knock yourself out. If you want to enjoy a three-day leg from Cannes to Algiers by flying boat, then that’s cool too. Having this aircraft for three days gives you the satisfaction of running out and seeing it waiting for you on the tarmac, for three days in a row.
The purpose of this is to express some love of aviation, so try not to get preachy when it comes to your pick.
*There wasn’t any.