Hello, Benjamin from Brother’s Campfire here! Gather ‘Round and I will spin you a tale.
Some decision-makers held a dim view of women of intellectual capacity and others were ready to put Petra to work designing.
To balance the politics, JB was diligent to tell the public that Petra was an absent-minded street urchin who forgot what a valve was.
Those in the defense contractor community already knew who they were working with; they just needed a few signatures and making JB the figurehead would sway the ink in some circles.
There was more to the 24-foot aircraft than met the eye as it went aloft. Having completed trial runs with test animals, anything over 11,500 feet was considered very high altitude, requiring oxygen.
Thermal decomposition of sodium chlorate and iron was the method for manufacturing oxygen at altitude. The reaction was simple,
2 NaClO3 → 2 NaCl + 3 O2
requiring temperature management for release into a mask secured over the mouth and nose.
Perchlorates were a tough process, providing more air, but they ran out of time.
Green tinted glasses were a no brainer for a welder to reduce sun glare and JB secured a lens grinder and leatherworker for a good fit over Petra’s eyes.
The wicker basket was a facade.
Caustic soda and bauxite, refined to an oxide and smelted created a lightweight, durable metal that was the real frame under the fiber. It was an expensive product and a closely guarded secret.
The slow climb North over the city was completed with slow ballast release for visibility and demonstration of lateral steering.
It was the plate camera that was of the utmost importance. Reconnaissance and being out of reach of other inflatables was what the military was after and the photography would demonstrate the altitude.
JB was relieved that everyone had left. While he liked the business, he preferred the shop over the press.
“Ah, my friend, Jaydon Bluntbasher, you did well this morning!”
It was Andras, the handrail rail salesman. JB decided to take the polite route, but he was still sore that he lost the bid the other day.
“Hello Andras, thank you. Don’t you have a handrail project you are working on? That was a big job.”
“Oh, that. I subcontracted the work out to some Galtzerdiak immigrants I picked up on the docks.”
“Never heard of them.”
“It doesn’t matter. I think of them as disposable labor.”
This irritated JB to no end, but he ignored it. Andras was poking sticks and he knew it.
” You look angry JB. They are expendable. There is an endless supply of Galtzerdiak. If one fails to please my whims, I just get another.”
JB remained composed. ” You do you, Andras. Listen, I gotta run, clinkers are calling. “
“Stay well, JB and well wishes to Petra, don’t want anyone’s bubble burst.”
JB held his temper. Sales were going to increase after this flight and manufacturing for the La Longi military was more important.