A hat and a dream


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Nikolai Shchekin with school children.              Photos, courtesy Larisa


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Story by Larisa.  Native languages, Ukrainian and Russian. … …          … This is Larisa’s first story for InterestEng.  Welcome, Larisa!

A SMALL boy named Nikolai lived in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. When Nikolai was very little his father gave him a pilot’s hat. After that Nikolai dreamed of being a pilot.

     The first plane Nikolai flew was a small plane named Li-2.  This plane was very important in Nikolai’s life because he spent over 10,000 hours in this plane! He worked hard and became a master of his favorite thing in life.   Time passed and this small plane was left behind for a newer, bigger, faster plane.  Captain Shchekin was one of the most experienced pilots in the Soviet Union [an earlier name for Russia and fourteen other communist countries].  He was trusted to be the first pilot of a new airplane called the TU-154. For this he received the Badge of Honor. During the time he flew this plane, he carried more than 200,000 passengers, almost 2,000 tons of cargo, and 300 tons of mail.

     Nikolai flew more than 20,000 hours.  That is more than 2 years in the air!  In this time he did not have one accident.  He was also an instructor.  He taught many young pilots how to fly.  He talked with many children about the beautiful sky, the wonderful stars, modern planes and hard work. Every pilot loves beautiful clouds and the blue sky.  But they must always remember the safety of the passengers.  When we travel in a plane we should remember the pilot who every day feels responsible for all the people who sit in his plane.

     Nikolai was known for how he could land the Tu-154. He could make the wheels so gently touch the runway that the passengers did not hear it!  When the plane landed, a large group of airport workers and people would meet the passengers.  Finally, on the top step of the ladder a short figure would appear. Captain Shchekin. Everyone would always applaud for him. They were proud of his skill!

     Every pilot has a very special soul. They love to be free. They must have a strong will but they must also be dreamers a little bit.  They dream of being masters of the sky. They know the sky does not forgive mistakes. The longer they are in the sky, the more they love the earth—the more they want to see peace and beauty here. 

 ©InterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com