Volume 1, Chapter 5
The curator began to say emotionally, “I went to several rail transport companies and said that I would entrust with my precious to them for transport to Dunkirk. However, they wanted to charge me a ridiculous price. You know that we’ve spent a bit too much money the past few months, the museum’s financial deficit is starting to pile up. Some time ago the war simulation earned a bit of money, but I put all that money into repairing the aircraft and the test flight. You have to know that I would go bankrupt just by repairing a simple runway. And those transporters, those lechers, the cheapest price I got is eighty thousand euros ah! I really don’t have the money right now, so… I had an idea on the way back, but… I do not know how to tell you. ”
“What do you want to say? In the present situation, what are your plans? What do you need me to do?”Xu Jun started to get agitated at the curator for all the troubles.
“So… dear Xu, you should know that because of the museum’s financial constraints, we cannot pay for the costs of transporting the plane. So, I have an idea. Since we cannot ship via train, we can simply use this plane and directly it fly over.” The curator gave Xu Jun a hopeful look.
“What!!!” Xu Jun loudly objected to the curator’s plan. “Are you really not kidding!?!”
“Of course not.” The curator said.
“Are you crazy!?!” Karl! ”
Xu Jun finally took a deep breath and said, “How can you have such a crazy idea! You, of all people should know how fragile the structure of the plane is! Flying it to Dunkirk is simply impossible. Let me tell you something about flying an antique for long periods of time. Personally, I don’t even think she can stay in the air so long. Although the Messerschmitt 109’s theoretical range is 700 kilometers, the plane is obviously not in prime condition. Her aging wings would be hard-pressed to withstand the pressure. We would also need to remove the 400 liter main fuel tank, replacing it with a 250 liter one. Also using the excess room to reinforce the structure. Relying on the current fuel capacity, it could only barely fly to Lille, France. I can also not guarantee anything about its ability to run safely for so long. Surely you understand that, and yet you want me to fly this plane across half of Europe, do you want to murder me!?!” Xu Jun felt his emotions begin to get out of control.
“Xu! You do not worry, ah, listen to me carefully.” The curator went back to the desk, not yet feeling defeated. “Our Me109 might not be able to fly directly to Dunkirk, but we can still stop on the way. I have already contacted several airports along the way, and they are willing to provide security services for this expedition. We can fly to Strasbourg first, then to Paris, then finally to Dunkirk. Although it is an antique plane, if successful, it would create a sensation throughout Europe. Imagine what kind of honor you, your family, and your nation would have! No matter where you go, people will treat you as a hero. Ha, when you become famous, how much of that beautiful money will you receive my friend? Haha, when the time comes you will certainly thank me.” The curator could not help but start laughing happily, as if he could already imagine the success.
“A hero… bring honor to the family, hmm.” Xu Jun’s tone began to soften, considering what would happen if he really was successful. It has been so many years since the war-ravaged France, if he could fly an original Me109 then it would certainly bring a lot of attention. Then after returning home, he would be recognized for his achievements. If he really became famous, then it would also help his career. While thinking of all of this, he is still quite calm as he was also considering the concerns.
“But, if the plan fails then everything will be gone, the flight will likely be quite dangerous. I don’t want to die so young just for honor.”
“Dear Xu, I may not put my confidence on others, but as for you, I fully believe in you. I believe that you will be able to complete the flight. For me, and for your honor. In order to prove that you have flawlessly repaired the plane, you must complete this flight. You supervised the repair of the plane yourself, do you have confidence in your abilities? You understand the plane so well, what problems can stump you? Child, I believe you will be able to complete this feat, Randolph Museum will become famous because of you. Your family will be proud of you, your country will also be proud of you.” The curator looked at the unsure Xu Jun and decided to hit the iron while it’s hot.
“Well, that’s it, I’ll try it then.”
Xu Jun looked at the mechanic who was ready to start the propeller. After a loud bang, the engine started roaring. The exhaust spewing smoke and flames. The propeller spinning faster and faster. As the speed increases, the propeller starts to raise dust at the tail of the plane. The mechanic standing nearby put one hand on his head to keep his hat from flying away, his other hand making a motion in the air. Xu Jun then nodded and began to increase and decrease the throttle, taking the last tests. Adjusting the controls and warming up the engine. Then Xu began to pull around the joystick, back and forth along with the rudder pedals. Checking for any delayed reaction or failures. At the end, Xu Jun was saw no flaws and was satisfied with the plane, easing some of his worries. Then Xu Jun began his final cockpit inspections, the readings and functionality of each instrument. Opening the auxiliary circuit switch, putting down the flap, checking the oxygen cylinder switch and safety belt.
Opening the radio, the voice of the curator came to him from the headphones. “Xu, Xu, can you hear me?”
“Yes, I can hear you loud and clear Karl.” Xu Jun was sitting in the cockpit, gazing outside. Looking at the curator at the edge of the runway, waving with his hand on a walkie-talkie.
“Yes, I see you.” Xu Jun also waved to the direction of the curator. “Ugh, the scene I least wanted to see.” Muttering in his head.
Behind the director stood tens of thousands of onlookers. They waved a variety of banners and poster. Some gave out crazy screams and shouting. Hundreds of local police standing in front of the crowd to maintain order. Countless flashing lights and the various television cameras lined the crowd. And then there was that lone little plane in the middle of the runway.
“Now I’m really riding a tiger, my family may know of this. Even if I wanted to back out, I can’t. Why is it like this?” Xu Jun gave a depressed sigh.
After Xu Jun reluctantly agreed to the curator’s crazy plan, the curator immediately contacted the French Veteran’s Association. Hoping that they would in turn obtain the French government’s permission to fly over the border. Of course, the French agreed, and obviously they were also interested in the flight. As a result, the French media quickly caught on and during the last two days spread the news across the world. In total, all those tuning into the takeoff reached a million people, even the mayor of Frankfurt led an entourage of officials and representatives to see Xu Jun off. In fact, an airplane flight would never be such a big deal. However, this situation was different. The pilot was a youth from the East, flying a plane left over from the World War II. The one of the last of the original antique fighter planes of its kind. These factors, together with the French’s love for drama and speculation turned the ordinary flight into one like Charles Lindbergh’s over the Atlantic.
“Xu, I was not wrong. Now the whole of Europe is looking at you, the whole world is looking at you. You must succeed. You will be a hero!” The curator said with a thrilled expression.
“Karl, is the radio navigation good?” Also, are the relay airports ready?” Xu Jun was a little nervous, he began feeling more and more afraid of this flight. Simply an ominous feeling in his head.
“Of course, no problem, everything is in our control.” The curator said confidently.
“Well, I’m ready to take off at any time then.” Finished speaking, Xu Jun gave a thumbs-up to the mechanic signaling that he was ready to start. The mechanic nodded his head and withdrew from the plane. Followed by another thumbs-up, signaling that the ground was clear.
“Take off, my dear Xu, God is with you.”
“Understand, taking off immediately, but Karl. I have the last question, I hope you can answer me truthfully. Did you not have the money to transport the plane?”
“Ah, this? Oh, my dear child, how to explain it? This… It’s very troublesome business. Wait until you land in Dunkirk, I’ll be able to answer you better there. I’ll be waiting for you.” The old guy was sort of embarrassed to answer him.
Now Xu Jun finally understand that this whole plan was cooked up by that old fox. But now he’s already committed, no way to abort.
He then roared loudly: “Karl… you sly old fox, you actually lied to me! Wait until I come down and have a word with you!” Then Xu Jun pushed the throttle, the plane gaining motion as it sped down the runway. Then with its nose pointed up, it flew into the blue sky.
This poor, innocent, young man was finally pushed by that old fox on this dangerous and glorious journey he could have never imagined.