Cumulonimbus clouds are those rising columns of unstable air that you often sea on a hot summer’s day. In 3 WISE MEN, Jak’s flight from Rome is directed away from these ‘serpent heads’ soon after takeoff. Let’s pick up the conversation between the control tower in Rome (at Fiumicino Airport) and Jak’s flight.
[“Fiumicino tower, Alitalia ten-twenty-six. Climb and maintain thirty-two-thousand.”
“Up to thirty-two-thousand, Alitalia ten-twenty-six,” Captain Bruno replied.
“Roger, flight ten-twenty-six. Head three-two-zero to Genoa to avoid cumulonimbus storms building over Tuscany. Genoa will guide you into Milan. Have a pleasant flight, ten-twenty-six.”
“Copy, Fiumicino. Roger and out.”
As they leveled off, the cockpit brought an update.
“This is Captain Bruno speaking. We have now reached a cruising altitude of 32,000 feet and are on a heading that follows the Italian coast to Genoa. This will take us away from bouncy air over the Apennine Mountains. Although we have clear skies ahead of us, we advise all passengers to remain seated with your seat belts fastened.
“Expected landing time in Milan is now 4:15pm and local weather is cloudy with a ground temperature of 15 degrees Celsius. Rain is forecast for later in the evening. I will give you an update closer to our arrival. Now please sit back and enjoy your flight.”
He turned to the Co-pilot.
“It’s all yours from here.”
“Thank you, Captain.”
Captain Bruno released the controls, sat back in his seat and scanned ahead to a large expanse of blue sky. At 1 o’clock, a bank of dark-gray clouds rose above the horizon, their billowing serpent heads appearing angry through his polarized glasses. To his trained eye, they seemed stationary and too distant to bother them.
“It should be a comfortable flight,” he announced confidently, unaware of the severity and speed of the brewing storm – ]
3 WISE MEN is available in Kindle or paperback format from Amazon.