We share a laugh and inspect the Ute for critters before loading up the back and piling in. She flips the two battery switches above her before turning on the NAVRAN switch on the center console. “We need to check the weather. With that breeze, I bet it’s going to rain.”
— Chasing Blue Dots
Her right hand flew to the Battery 1 and 2 switches while her left hand reached behind her to flip the NAVRAN switch. Next came both fuel pumps while her right hand opened the APU cutoff valve. Kat looked anxiously out her open door. The dump truck weaved a crooked line between the railcars, bearing down toward the flatbed and its wide-eyed driver was smashing his horn again and again. She pressed the APU start button and released the turbine brake with a simple motion. She opened the engine shutoff valve, skipping its governor, and pressed and held the engine start button. “Come on, come on,” she urged as the turbine RPMs slowly cycled up.
Ever wonder if narration like this is just techno-babble? In my case, it is and it’s not. Even though these stories take place in separate imagined universes, I used research for the start-up sequence for the same real-world helicopter to visualize how to start an “aircar.” Specifically, the similarity to the Kamov KA-50 Black Shark helicopter startup sequence I hope lends the writing a flair of authenticity.
I’ve learned over the years that I write my best work when I can see the person/object I’m writing about. Whether it’s my crude drawings of an escort frigate, meticulous layouts of a freighter, the overhead map of a shantytown or the floor plan of an underground house, my writing feels most vibrant when I can connect to the subject.
When seeking inspirations for operating aircars, I found some in the computer game DCS Black Shark 2. It’s a wonderful game with painstakingly detailed simulation. Here’s a link to a Youtube video (posted by PS2SirWigglyBottom) highlighting the startup procedure. The first 1:47 runtime takes you through engine start:
Who’d have thought that turning on your aircar and starting a KA-50 would be similar?