Zlin Savage e Fiat 500


Two "machines" without time and age

Italy flag (italian version)
Translated from original italian article appeared on VOLARE magazine (March 2006, page 76-77-78)
Beppe Baschieri

Zlin Savage and Fiat 500 Zlin Savage and Fiat 500 Zlin Savage and Fiat 500

When I was ten years old, looking for some toys in the garage, I discovered a fantastic little glider model, constructed in balsa and covered with a very light red paper film. I was shocked: my father was a model aircraft enthusiast! It is absolutely impossible to describe the emotion I felt when he said to me that, if indeed I wished it, we could carry into flight one more time that small glider and we could have made it together. From that day my father has become also a great friend, securing in me that particular respect that, sometimes, children reserve just for older boys.

From that moment the flight had begun to be a part of my existence, a place where, everytime, I could find that pure and essential joy that we feel only when we are children and we are still able to play. I still did not know that one day I would be piloting large white gliders, soaring on the same mountanis where for years we had launched the radio controlled models.

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I still did not know that two great yellow Cub wings were waiting for me, ahead in time. In 50 years my father (FAI license number 407) planned his models, built them and participated in contests of circulatr bound flight and free flight. This history of his old passion for airplanes, however simple and essential, captured me more and more. When he decided to restore an old Fiat 500 car I did not imagine that I would have had to wait for nearly twenty years in order to understand the meaning and the coherence of that desire, which nearly went unnoticed in the moment.

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Essential is a magnific word. If we remove the necessary or we add anything superfluous to something, that is essential by its nature, we immediately obtain another thing entirely. Now this "machine", this little, yellow Fiat 500, is much more than a small, restored, historical car. For me it represents one of the many possible ways in which we can interpret our lifes, simple and essential.

Essential like a piper Cub, an airplane without time and age, a thought which I have caressed many times and which is nearly impossible to approach, until the day in which I discovered that exists a magnificent interpretation in an ultralight key, called Savage. Ten months later I found myself driving on the highway with my father. We were travelling in order to catch up with our Cub in an hangar in the Czech Republic, 1.000 km away from home. I will always remember this long trip, a sort of small adventure in which two fathers were able to talk together like never before, while they ran to find out the places and the people who had interpreted so well the essence and the spirit of this Cub airplane.

I have travelled along a long road to arrive at this moment. A road that had to cross not only space and time but many engagements and responsibilities that were given to me through the immense joy of being, at the same time, a father, a husband and a son. Perhaps a pilot too. I was thinking about these truths while the city of Zlin was approaching. In the same moment that the door of the hangar was opened and the light illuminated the high and fierce snout of an airplane that I once perceived with the same shock as when I was a child, in front of that small, light, glider model.

I have admired the profile of Cub since I begun to breathe. Its proportions and that snout which obstinatly watches up, overhung by two great wings supported by the mounting bars. When I tightened the cloche I feel myself well, embraced by the belts of my yellow Zlin Savage while the pistons begin to move dragging with them the wood propeller. Here we are, the wings are supporting more and more of the weight of the plane from the undercarriage, until it detaches from grass. Flying a Cub let me know the best of myself, to approach my deeper thoughts a little bit more. The time has been generous and if I can dare to ask for a single thing more, I would like to be able to help my son to meet and realize one of his own passions, whatever it is.

Fiat 500 and Zlin Savage, two "machines" so different nevertheless so equal in their being essential beyond any measure. My father and me, two people so different nevertheless so equal. Time, in its motion, can become a great friend indeed.