|Air-Bike Ace's Bombing Mission
|Flying low over the Flint Hills' of Kansas' southern range at 60 MPH, Derby's Airbike Ace hunkers along at 200' AGL Using his own innate version of optical Terrain Following Radar, he avoids detection during the 55 mile trip to the target area. Carrying a full load of fuel and 7 1-lb. bombs, the valiant W.W.I. pilot navigates cross-country into the teeth of a 50 degree (F) quartering headwind. Although bundled against the weather, his open-cockpit monoplane offers little protection from the October cold. However, spurred on with the knowledge that his mission will bring destruction to an enemy encampment of ground troops hiding in the forest on the eastern front, he relentlessly continues.
Ace approaches the target area with caution, his steel blue eyes scanning the forest. With no rising campfire smoke trails to identify troop locations, Ace looks for targets of opportunity as he maintains his low-level stealth altitude. He flies a zigzag search pattern above the treetops while traveling completely around the lake. Suddenly he sees an enemy campsite hidden deep in a ravine. He has found a target!
Pulling up steeply and making a sharp banking torque turn, Ace aims his killing machine at the troop encampment. With the twin Lewis machine guns blazing and the smoke system fouling the air his mighty plane screams down on the surprised troops. Swooping up after making the pass he shouts "one bomb away!" A quick look over his shoulder verifies a direct hit!
Realizing he confused and disoriented the ground troops with the first bomb, Ace decides to make another run at it. Machine guns cocked and the next bomb armed, he makes a sharp turn into the wind and prepares for another strafing bomb attack. This time anit-aircraft batteries are firing but thanks to Ace's superior dog-fighting skills his Air-Bike takes only inconsequential hits. Diving down through the blue smoke with machine guns rattling, the the terrified troops are at his mercy. Another successful attack is made and this bomb too hits it's target!
Leaving the "hot zone" Ace seeks out another unwary target. Instantly he is upon a troop column hiking through a meadow between tree lines. Ah ha! Catching them in the open, he drops three bombs in rapid succession scattering the entire column.
With two bombs remaining, Ace searches for and finds another bivouac area; tents in rows, cooking areas well defined, latrines hiden in the forest and a supply truck enroute. Once again using his well practiced attack routine Ace drops his last two bombs. Both hit near the troop supply truck, forcing the riders to scramble out and scatter for cover.
Pulling back on the stick while the plume of his smoke screen trails behind, Ace does a "Victory Roll" then hugs the ground and races away from the scene of smoking ruin. Mission accomplishedamd fatigued, now he has only to limp his wounded plane home.
The lonely return flight to the aerodrome is anti-climatic, altitude gained to catch the trailing wind becomes a welcome friend. A grueling, 2.4 hours of non-stop flying after taking off for this mission, Derby's Air-Bike Ace gently settles his plane upon the grass runway and taxis to his camouflaged hangar. Ace throws the wing & engine covers over his plane to both protect and hide it while the overheated motor gives off metallic creaking and popping noises as it cools. He gently pats the nose bowl and walks away.
Mission accomplished! My God how I love flying! (If you are gonna pilot a W.W.I. wannabe aeroplane you have to have a good imagination)
Footnote: This scenario describes Paul Fiebich's annual Fall bombing mission to deliver Halloween candy "bombs" to the Boy Scouts who were camping in the Quivira Scout Ranch near Sedan, Kansas. No animals or people were killed nor were any trees damaged during this sortie, however the sky was perforated with holes.