Steve Tupper

January 7, 2020

Fafner Flies

Mr. Pinkwater:

I first listened to Borgel on your podcast as I pushed or pulled my son around the neighborhood in a stroller or wagon, respectively. He began flying with me at 10, soloed at 14, became a private pilot at 16, flew his first airshow at 17, and is now heading for the airlines after college.

Becoming eligible for the airlines means showing up with 1,450 hours of flight time which, unless one wants to hemorrhage ludicrous (as opposed to merely obscene) amounts of money, means buying a two-seat trainer and flying it regularly. We recently bought just such an aircraft.

Not everyone names their aircraft, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Our 1977 Piper Tomahawk, N6205A, proudly carries the name Fafner.

Although there is no formal means of attaching a name to an aircraft, we did the next best thing. Upon landing at Oakland County (Michigan) International Airport (KPTK), we announced to the tower controller that the airplane had come to live at the airport and we bade the controller welcome “Fafner.”

Tower: “Okay, you’re going to have to explain that name.”

N2605A: “It comes from Daniel Pinkwater’s young-adult novel called ‘Borgel.’ ‘Fafner’ is the name of the family dog.”

Tower: “Awwwww . . .”

Fafner got an “awwwww” from the tower. So I guess that seals it as much as anything.

Thank you for providing a body of literature that feeds things like this father-son bond. As soon as Fafner’s altimeter comes back from the repair station, we’ll begin criss-crossing southeast Michigan training my son and building his hours toward the airlines. I’ve told my son that it might take a few extra days because the altimeter must go to the Dorbzeldge service center in the Old Country, but that’s okay because one wants such things done properly if one intends to navigate time, space, and the other.

You can follow Fafner’s exploits at

Best regards,

Steve “Dogbag” Tupper

FOD, Dogbag, and Faffner

Faffner on the ramp at KRNP

Daniel replies:

Wait a second! You're using a Dorbzeldge altimeter? I assume this must be the improved Mark II with the lead weight and knotted rope.  Very stylish to use such an instrument with a heavier-than-air craft. Happy landings and best wishes to you, your evidently tolerant son, and Fafner.