TOM SWIFT AND HIS AIR GLIDER
TOM SWIFT AND HIS AIR GLIDER
"Well Ned are you ready?"
"Oh I suppose so Tom. As ready as I ever shall be."
"Why Ned Newton you're not getting afraid; are you? And
after you've been on so many trips with me?"
"No it isn't exactly that Tom. I'd go in a minute if you
didn't have this new fangled thing on your airship. But how
do you know how it's going to work--or whether it will work
at all? We may come a cropper."
"Bless my insurance policy!" exclaimed a man who was
standing near the two lads who were conversing. "You'd
better keep near the ground Tom."
"Oh that's all right Mr. Damon" answered Tom Swift.
"There isn't any more danger than there ever was but I
guess Ned is nervous since our trip to the underground city
"I am not!" indignantly exclaimed the other lad with a
look at the young inventor. "But you know yourself Tom
that putting this new propeller on your airship changing
the wing tips and re-gearing the motor has made an
altogether different sort of a craft of it. You yourself
said it wasn't as reliable as before even though it does go
"Now look here Ned!" burst out Tom. "That was last week
that I said it wasn't reliable. It is now for I've tried it
out several times and yet when I ask you to take a trip
with me to act as ballast--"
"Is that all you want me for Tom to act as ballast? Then
you'd better take a bag of sand--or Mr. Damon here!"
"Me? I guess not! Bless my diamond ring! My wife hasn't
forgiven me for going off on that last trip with you Tom
and I'm not going to take any more right away. But I don't
"Say look here!" cried Tom a little out of patience
"you know me better than that Ned. Of course your more than
ballast--I want you to help me manage the craft since I made
the changes on her. Now if you don't want to come why say
so and I'll get Eradicate. I don't believe he'll be afraid
even if he--"
"Hold on dar now Massa Tom!" exclaimed an aged colored
man who was an all around helper at the Swift homestead
"was yo' referencin' t' me when yo' spoke?"
"Yes Rad I was saying that if Ned wouldn't go up in the
airship with me you would."
"Well now Masa Tom I shorely would laik t' 'blige yo'
I shore would. But de fack ob de mattah am dat I has a mos'
particular job ob white washin' t' do dish mornin' an' I
'spects I'd better be gittin' at it. It's a mos' particiilar
job an' only fo' dat I'd be mos' pleased t' go up in de
airship. But as it am I mus' ax yo' t' 'scuse me I really
mus'" and the colored man shuffled off at a faster gait
than he was in the habit of using.
"Well of all things!" gasped Tom. "I believe you're all
afraid of the old airship just because I wade some changes
in her. I'll go up alone that's what I will."
"No I'll go with you" interposed Ned Newton who was
Tom's most particular chum. "I only wanted to be sure it was
all right that was all."
"Well if you've fully made up your mind" went on the
young inventor a little mollified "lend me a hand to get
her in shape for a run. I expect to make faster time than I
ever did before and I'm going to head out Waterford way.
You'd better come along Mr. Damon and I'll drop you off at
"Bless my feather bed!" gasped the man. "Drop me off! I
like that Tom Swift!"
"Oh I didn't mean it exactly that way" laughed Tom. "But
will you come."
"No thanks I'm going home by trolley" and then as the
odd man went in the house to speak to Tom's father the two
lads busied themselves about the airship.
This was a large aeroplane one of the largest Tom Swift
had ever constructed and he was a lad who had invented many
kinds of machinery besides crafts for navigating the upper
regions. It was not as large as his combined aeroplane and
dirigible balloon of which I have told you in other books
but it was of sufficient size to carry three persons besides
Tom had built it some years before and it had seemed good
enough then. Later he constructed some of different models
besides the big combination affair and he had gone on
several trips in that.
He and his chum Ned together with Eradicate Sampson the
colored man and Mr. Damon had been to a wonderful
underground city of gold in Mexico and it was soon after
their return from this perilous trip that Tom had begun the
work of changing his old aeroplane into a speedier craft.
This had occupied him most of the Winter and now that
Spring had come he had a chance to try what a re-built
motor changed propellers and different wing tips would do
for the machine.
The time had come for the test and as we have seen Tom
had some difficulty in persuading anyone to go along with
him? But Ned finally got over his feeling of nervousness.
"Understand Tom" spoke Ned "it isn't because I don't
think you know how to work an aeroplane that I hesitated.
I've been up in the air with you enough times to know that
you're there with the goods but I don't believe even you
know what this machine is going to do."
"I can pretty nearly tell. I'm sure my theory is right."
"I don't doubt that. But will it work out in practice?"
"She may not make all the speed I hope she will and I may
not be able to push her high into the air quicker than I
used to before I made the changes" admitted Tom "but I'm
sure of one thing. She'll fly and she won't come down until
I'm ready to let her. So you needn't worry about getting
"All right--if you say so. Now what do you want me to do
"Go over the wire guys and stays for the first thing.
There's going to be lots of vibration with the re-built
motor and I want everything tight."
"Aye aye sir!" answered Ned with a laugh.
Then he set at his task tightening the small nuts and
screwing up the turn-buckles while Tom busied himself over
the motor. There was some small trouble with the carburetor
that needed eliminating before it would feed properly.
"How about the tires?" asked Ned when he had finished the
"You might pump them up. There the motor is all right.
I'm going to try it now while you attend to the tires."
Ned had pumped up one of the rubber circlets of the small
bicycle wheels on which the aeroplane rested and was
beginning on the second when a noise like a battery of
machine guns going off next to his ear startled him so that
he jumped tripped over a stone and went down the air pump
thumping him in the back.
"What in the world happened Tom?" he yelled for he had
to use all his lung power to be heard above that racket.
"Did it explode?"
"Explode nothing!" shouted Tom. "That's the re-built motor
"In action! I should say it was in action. Is it always
going to roar like that?"
Indeed the motor was roaring away spitting fire and burnt
gases from the exhaust pipe and enveloping the aeroplane in
a whitish haze of choking smoke.
No I have the muffler cut out and that's why she barks
so. But she runs easier that way and I want to get her
smoothed out a bit.
"Whew! That smoke!" gasped his chum. "Why don't you--whew-
-this is more than I can stand" and holding his hands to
his smarting eyes Ned gasping and choking staggered away
to where the air was better.
"It is sort of thick" admitted Tom. "But that's only
because she's getting too much oil. She'll clear in a few
minutes. Stick around and we'll go up."