Old Ninety Seven ...

... or Better Get There By Rail

There were ninety-seven airplanes warming up on the apron,
Far as the eye could see,
Now the first ninety-six were of recent construction,
But the last was a 51-D.

Then a second lieutenant wandered into operations,
Asked for a ship to fly,
They said “Young man, we are very short of airplanes,
But we’ll get you a something by and by.”

Now the first forty-six were reserved for the majors,
The captains have the next forty-nine,
There’s only one other ship on the end of the apron,
Said the shavetail, “Then that one is mine.”

So he flew over Taejon and the Taegu airstrip,
When the ceiling began to fall,
The clouds closed down on the tops of the mountains,
He couldn’t see the ground at all.

He flew through the rain, he flew through the snowstorm,
When the light began to fail,
Then he spied a railroad going in his direction,
And he said “Better get there by rail.”

He flew down the valley and he dodged through the canyon,
Keeping that train in his sight,
Till the rails disappeared in a hole in the mountains,
The was the end of his flight.

It was old ninety-seven with her nose in the mountain,
Her wheels set akimbo on the track,
Yes her throttle was bent in the forward direction,
But her engine was facing straight back.

Oh ladies, ladies, take fair warming,
From this time now on,
Never speak harsh words to your high-flying pilot,
He may leave you and never return.


From Ron Edward's Australian Folk Song Index

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