“Squeaky Toy tower, Camel three zero zero, requesting clearance for departure, runway one eight, Over!”
Through his headphones, Shiloh heard a voice say, “Camel three zero zero, Squeaky Toy tower. You are clear runway one eight. Wind zero niner zero at five. Have a nice flight. Out.”
Momentarily, he looked out the side of his Sopwith Camel, and saw that the little black and tan dachshund was beginning to cry. She looked up at Shiloh, and said, “Do you really have to go?”
“It's only a day long airshow. I'll be back tonight. Besides, I told you that you could come with me.”
“You know my mom won't let me fly unless the plane's an F-14 Tomcat.”
“What's up with that?”
“Something about it being the world's greatest fighter plane.”
Shiloh grumbled and turned his glance towards the nose of his plane, where his younger sister Shasta was standing by. Shiloh raised his paw, and Shasta grabbed the propeller, and said, “Contact!”
Shiloh yelled back, “Contact!”, and Shasta wound the propeller and jumped back.
The engine sputtered, and roared to life. As it ran up, Shiloh yelled, “Pull back the chocks!”
With tears in her eyes, Tasha watched Shasta unblock the landing gear. The plane moved forward, gaining speed, until it finally lifted off the ground.
Shasta and Tasha watched the plane fly out of sight, then turned and headed back to the airport. Tasha said, “Aren't you going to the air show?”
“My plane isn't certified for air shows yet.”
“Didn't you put in for it?”
“Yeah, it just hasn't shown up yet.”
“Doesn't he need you at the other end for ground support?”
“I'm taking the train. Aren't you coming with me?”
“Dad won't let me ride the train unless he's there.”
“There's got to be a better way. How'd you like your first flying lesson?”
“If Mom finds out, I'll be black and blue and tan.”
“Must be a pawball game today”, Shasta said, looking skyward.
“How can you tell?”, Tasha asked.
“'Cause here comes the Badyear Blimp.”
Far down the other end of the airfield, five dachshunds in grey coveralls were busy rigging the portable mast. Above their heads, the big grey blimp hovered. Six other dachshunds were standing by directly under the control car, ready to ease the blimp down.
From the pilot's seat, snoopy looked out the front windows, and slowly opened the helium valves. As the blimp descended, twelve dachsies ran onto the filed. Four went forward to catch the snoot lines, six reached up to catch the control car, and two grabbed the boarding ladder.
The snoot line quickly hit the ground, and two hunds grabbed each one, and gently eased the blimp down. When it was just above their heads, twelve paws went skyward, and grabbed the rails on the bottom of the control car. Within seconds, the landing gear hit the deck, and up forward, the hunds on the snoot lines pulled the ship forward and hooked it to the mast.
Snoopy unbuckled his seat belt, and headed for the exit hatch, just as the boarding ladder was rigged. He eased himself down the rungs onto solid ground.
Another dachsie met him at the ladder, and said, “How was your flight, Skipper?”
“Great Flight, Ernie. But I could eat.”
Ernie checked his paw watch, and said, “We got an hour til takeoff, let's head over to the terminal.”
Just then, the crew bus drove up, and Snoopy said, “Perfect timing.”
Shasta glared at the black and tan dachsie perched on the wing of her plane, and said, “What do you mean I'm grounded? Frankie, you've had this plane for a week, and it was supposed to be ready to fly today.”
Frankie stepped down from the wing, wiped the grease from his paws, and said, “Look, the engine's been overhauled, but if we don't make sure all the metal shavings are out of the crankcase, she could seize up when you're at 10,000 feet. So if you want to take her up, I hope you're good at skydiving, 'cause you won't have much choice.”
“So how am I supposed to get to the air show?”
“Hey, see that sign over there?”
Shasta looked to where Frankie's paw was pointing. “Failure to pawlan on your pawrt does not constitute an emergency on my pawrt.”
Disgusted, they walked out of the hangar, into the warm, late morning sun. Tasha looked at Shasta, and said, “Now how will we get to the air show?”
Shasta was unsure of how to answer, until the Badyear bus rolled up to the terminal restaurant. As she watched the dachsunds leave the bus, she said, “Doesn't your brother fly for Badyear?”
“He sure does”, Tasha said. “And there he is. Snoopy!”