Last week Hauptmann Boehm directed me to fly to another field and return. He originally said at least an hour away, but since the choices were either nearby Dusseldorf or else all the way to Berlin, he waived the time stipulation for Dusseldorf. The thing was, though, that when I landed, I very briefly hit the engine kill switch by reflex. I turned back on in time for the engine to keep running, but when I returned to Koln, Herr Boehm only signed my logbook for the time there and not also for the return leg. I argued that it wasn't even a blip, but he merely said "Nein," and walked away. Penalty for the closer aerodrome?
Well, next up, Herr Hauptmann directed me to go up and do "aerobatics." In the Aviatik. And he kept a straight face. So, off we went. I figured also to see if I could get up to 10,000 ft. I flew due east for about 20 minutes, and then headed back due west, simply climbing all the way. Imagine my surprise when my inner sense let me know that indeed we were at 10,000! If it could do that, maybe it was better than I was thinking, so I warned Herr Boehm and tried a roll. Actually just about made it, too!. In for a pfennig, in for a mark as they say, so I put the nose down (a feat in itself!) and as fast as I dared, I pulled back (actually, held the stick neutral) and would you believe that the crate just about flopped over in a loop. Will miracles never cease?! Of course, on the ground, Herr Hauptmann berated me for the sloppiest roll and loop he had ever seen. But I was ready for him: I pointed out that the real aerobatics were on the way out, during which time I flew in a straight steady climb, the whole time using one hand to drink a cup of coffee. Truly, with that plane, a masterful demonstration of airmanship. You've heard of the "Immelman turn?" I'm thinking of calling what I did the "Lofthoven Line." He stared at me without blinking, but in the end he signed my book before walking away.
I've heard that I will go with Herr Hauptmann sometime in the next few days to FFA 10 in Habsheim. When I asked him if he was sure he wanted me as his Emil, would you believe he said "I would trust no other. Besides, no one else gets my sense of humor." I swear my mouth was hanging open long after he had turned and left.