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The flight before Christmas

Devon Holmberg

Editor's Note: Bush Pilot contributor Devon Holmberg sent us this holiday-themed poem about his plane's mechanical woes on Christmas Eve -- enjoy!

'Twas the last flight before Christmas,
and all the through the engine,
no oil was cooling, which caught my attention.
Some duct tape was placed on the cowling with care,
in hopes of blocking some cold winter air.
However, my oil gauges proved something's amiss,
though I'd removed some duct tape during my last stop to...

Anyhow, my friend Garrett and I, we talked about flying,
how we'd like to get home and not think about dying.
My passengers were riding snug in the back,
while I watched the gauges and gave cowl flaps some slack.
This was unusual for 20 below,
my oil temp typically stayed fairly low.
Suddenly, from the panel there arose a temp needle;
the oil was hot, and all cooling seemed feeble.
I glanced at the Garmin, 3 minutes to landing,
I urged the bird forward, more cooling demanding.

I pulled out the throttle, more needles were moving,
the temp situation was still not improving.
I saw myself making it to the front page,
as "0" appeared on the oil pressure gauge.
Through the dark of night, I strained to see,
the runway lights bright, and blinding me.
A hurried approach and a delightful bump,
I taxied forward, my eyes to the front.
Once on the ramp, and engine shut down,
I climbed out of the plane, and started to frown.
The engine was radiating impressive heat,
while my passengers climbed out from within the backseat.
Placing one hand on a cold oil cooler,
I realized the problem was no duct tape blooper.

To try to fly home would be ill-advised,
Christmas being no reason for safety compromise.
With much hidden grief for my plight and my steed,
I threw on the cowl blanket and to a phone I journeyed.
I called a mechanic, then called my wife,
I wouldn't be home, not risking my life.
I spent the night at a good friend's house,
and come Christmas morning I called up my spouse.
She said a plane would be coming, a friend in his Cub,
"He'll be there real soon, I'll see you, my Hub".

Off towards the airport I went on my way,
and waited while darkness turned into day.
Over the horizon a small dot appeared,
it was our friend Mark who had volunteered.
Soon he flew over, the river examining,
and came back around for a smooth ski landing.
The door opened up and I climbed on in,
"Merry Christmas," said I, "and thank you for comin'!"
We departed for home with tail wind helping,
to give my long journey a nice happy ending.
I was glad to spend Christmas with family that night,
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good flight!

Devon Holmberg is a 25-year-old commercial pilot based in McGrath. Holmberg grew up in Aniak and started flying when he was 12 years old. In an email, Holmberg said, "I love my job, and I'll never fly jet!"