Flights & Fancy: You Go, Girl!
- By Homer Hickam
- Air & Space magazine, May 2002
(Page 2 of 3)
“Oh, she won’t need any accessories where she’s going,” I replied.
She gave me a suspicious look. “And where is that?”
I glanced at the ceiling. “Far, far away.”
I went after a few other supplies, mainly epoxy glue and a small model-rocket motor from a hobby store.
Barbie’s dimensions were perfect for flight. She was tall and slim, a very aerodynamic design. Her long legs were perfect stabilizers. The only problem I saw to her liftoff was the location of the rocket motor. She had to be perfectly balanced or her flight might turn erratic. I made a careful study of her trim, weighing and balancing to determine her center of gravity. Results indicated that the best location for the motor was on her stomach, nestled in her cleavage. But Frank said that would look like Barbie was glued face-first to a stove pipe. I decided to let art rule over sound engineering principles and placed the motor on her back. To stabilize her, I used a couple of Frank’s smallest fishing sinkers, artfully glued to her buttocks.
“Won’t her legs melt?” Linda asked. She was right. A heat shield was required. Barbie’s gingham dress was traded for an aluminum foil pants and blouse. She sure looked snazzy.
Frank and I scooped out a launch pad on the driveway. Old Joe, Frank’s bird dog, was designated our range recovery crew. To my surprise, an audience quickly gathered. Before we got down to business, everybody wanted to take a look at Rocket Barbie. “The Incredible Hulk might fly even better,” said Al Cunningham, an engineering professor. “He’s broad of back. Might take on an engine better than your slim Barbie here.”
“Nothing can fly like a Barbie,” I retorted, with the assurance of the truly ignorant.