“Flying West” *

I hope there's a place way up in the sky,
Where pilots can go. when they have to die.
A place where a guy can buy a cold beer.
For a friend and a comrade, whose memory is dear.

A place where no doctor or lawyer can tread.
Nor a management type would ere be caught dead;
Just a quaint little place. kind of dark. full of smoke,
Where they like to sing loud. and love a good joke.
The kind of a place where a lady could go,
And feel safe and protected by the men she would know.

There must be a place where old pilots go,
When their paining is finished. and their airspeed gets low.
Where the whiskey is old. and the women are young,
And songs about flying and dying are sung.
Where you'd see all the fellows who'd flown west before.
And they'd call out your name. as you came in the door.
Who would buy you a drink. if your thirst should be bad.
And relate to the others, “He was quite a good lad!"
And then through the mist, you’d spot an old guy,
You had not seen in years, though he taught you to fly.
He’d nod his old head, and grin ear to ear,
And say, “Welcome, my son, I’m pleased that you’re here.”

“For this is the place where true flyers come,
“When the journey is over, and the war has been won.
“They’ve come here at last to be safe and alone
“From the government clerks and the management clone,
“Politicians and lawyers, the Feds and the noise,
“Where the hours are happy, and those good ole boys
“Can relax with a cool one, and a well deserved rest;
“This is heaven, my son … you’ve passed your last test.”

* Aviation Midshipmen Log, summer 2000; © 2000.

Ottumwa, Iowa, Preflight Class 16-46