The story was published in 1911. At this time, flights on airplanes were still a wonder. The author about his flight (though, as a passenger) was questioned by several hundred people.
Kuprin rose in the air in a hot air balloon. When in Odessa he saw flights on a plywood airplane “Farman”, he wanted to experience this acute sensation.
The pilot Ivan Zaikin promised the writer to take him with him.
Several tens of thousands of people watch Zaikin circling over the airfield, first one, and then with a young passenger.
“The devil pulled me,” the narrator laments, “to wave the pilot’s hand.”
“Let’s fly!” invited the pilot.
Kuprin is a rather burdensome man. He had to take off his coat in cold, windy weather and cover himself with newspapers.
The plane was open to all winds. Outstretched sticking out, wooden pieces. The narrator was barely able to settle in a small seat. From the inconvenience his leg cramped.
The pilot was sitting a little ahead in the same uncomfortable “child’s chair.”
“The Counter raises us, like a toy snake system.” It seems to me that we are not moving, and the stands, stone walls, green fields, factory pipes are running under us.
I look down – everything seems so funny and small, just like in a... fairy tale. Fear has already passed. “
And then the pilot made a turn, the wind began to blow from behind, the excess weight of the passenger affected. The narrator saw that the plane was carrying to the Jewish cemetery, where about three thousand observers had gathered.
But the pilot decided to better sacrifice the plane.
“He turned very abruptly to the left, then I heard only a crack and saw my pilot fell to the ground.”
The first thing the pilot asked when he regained consciousness:
The writer claims that the fall occurred so quickly that neither the pilot nor the passenger had time to get scared.
“Sitting in the cupboard after tea, Zaikin cried.” The owners of Farman, the millionaire brothers Ptashnikovs, locked the warped airplane in the hangar and did not allow the “guilty” pilot even to look at his offspring.
Zaikin returned to his previous occupation – he was a professional wrestler who gathered a wide audience.
Sometimes he writes to his passenger “illiterate, but unusually tender letters and signs:” Your gray Ivan. “
Zaikin is still loyal to air transport and hopes to ever climb to the sky on his own air vehicle.
“As for me, I will not fly on an airplane!” – so ends brave (really brave!) Kuprin his story.