You know, as a novelist, if you crash one aircraft; hey. It happens. You crash two? Crappy luck. If you crash three, it’s time to admit you have a problem.
A few years ago, when I was the online editor at the Salem Statesman Journal, I was working on another novel manuscript (about which, I pray, you’ll hear more later) called “Cauldron.” Like most of my fiction writing, it involved dropping an airplane outta the sky. Apparently, I can’t help it.
Anyway, in real life, an airplane did fall out of the sky that day. It was a Hercules C-130. The graphics editor and a graphic artist were hustling through the newsroom, trying to find an on-line image of a Hercules to put in the paper.
I was pushing out wire-service stories as fast as I could, updating our Web page every few minutes. At one point, I crossed behind the graphic designer’s desk as she was downloading an image for the paper. I glanced at her monitor.
“That’s not a Hercules!” I called back, dashing to my desk. “Herkies are prop-jobs! That’s a jet!”
Later that day, the graphics editor turned to me and said, “I didn’t know you were a pilot.”
“Me? I can barely drive a car. I’m no pilot.”
He looked confused. “How’d you know we had the wrong graphic for the Hercules?”
I was way too busy to explain to him that I was in the middle of a manuscript. “I crashed one of them,” I said, posting another story to our Web site. “Coupla weeks back.”
That guy sort of avoided me from then on.