Morgan Kaolian’s comfort level with the sky was like a trout easing through a stream. One went high, the other low. Some of us prefer low on land, good ol’ terra firma. CT Post columnist Michael Daly is one of them, at least when it came to an occasion in a plane with Morgan that Michael experienced a smooch-of-death moment up front while his family rejoiced in back.
Morgan, for me, was Red Baron stuff, especially that damned biplane thing. “Take a ride with me in the biplane,” he’d say. “No way,” I’d say. “Rather watch Midnight Run.”
Morgan’s flight with life passed last week at age 90. Ah, but the memories last forever.
We took off from Sikorsky Memorial Airport in a plane the size of a Volkswagen. We wore headphones so we could talk over the deafening clatter of the lone–only, sole, one–engine, Morgan and I in front, Sharon and Kate in back, knees to chests.
Good company, indeed. But that sense of detachment from the ground some 1,000 feet below–not so much. The plane seemed to be standing still. I wanted to punch my feet through the floorboards, like in a cartoon, and push with my feet.
The door I squeezed against seemed so flimsy, its one little metal latch so inadequate. When we landed, I got out, got down on my knees and kissed the tarmac.
The three of them thought it was very funny. No. The kiss came from the depths of my heart. (Some time later, Kate and one of her friends went up with Morgan in his bi-plane–his open-cockpit bi-plane. They wore leather helmets and said the experience was awesome. The only thing I found more incomprehensible was that the guy who eventually bought the bi-plane from Morgan flew it to California.)
Full column here.