NEW Story: The Fountain
✿ This article was part of Vekllei’s Mail Week in February 2021
The M.S. Fairie Model 54-2 “Mail Hopper” is a strange aircraft. The basic design has remained unchanged for over a hundred years, imported from the United States way back during the massive scrapping of junk warplanes after the Second World War. Even back during the Junta years the country had little respect for foreign intellectual property, and by 1949 had started rolling out Imitation Catalinas, which were among the first indigenous aircraft in the country. A hundred years on, the Fairie is still being developed and produced, its most recent version rolling out in 2054.
The Government Aircraft Factories (the actual name of the organisation and design bureau is literally “Government Aircraft Manufacturie”) produce military aircraft for Vekllei’s armed forces. And since the Royal Mail is technically a military organisation, Mail vehicle contracts are furnished by the government arms merchants of the country.
While keeping the same basic form and fuselage of the ancient Catalinas, the Fairie has been thoroughly overhauled inside and out. The twin props have been replaced by low-power Sami S.p.M. electric pulse jets raised high off the seas to keep salt water out, which are angled slightly downwards. Though inefficient at the sorts of altitudes the Fairie flies at, they are much quieter than turbofans and better suited for slow flying, benefitting the low-speed gliding tendencies of the aircraft. The aircraft is smaller overall than its predecessors, with a redesigned tail and wingspan that lower the Fairie’s stall speed.
Vekllei has many islands, and more emerge all the time. This is a violently volcanic country after all, and after a day of churning seawater whole new landmasses can appear off the coast. The archipelago communities of these landmasses are often serviced by light flying boat aircraft like the Fairie. Some of them, like this one here, are seaplanes exclusively and have no landing gear (the “-2” of its designation refers to this omission). Others, especially those assigned to the arctic, are equipped with skis.
The Mail retains fourteen Fairies across the Home Islands, and a further six across the Azores, Aismious (Faroe Islands) and Kala (Greenland). To the people they service, these planes represent much more than the arrival of the mail — they are a direct gesture of the mother Vekllei state; a reminder they are not forgotten by the Crown Metropole, and a pipeline to friends and relatives across oceans. These pilots are among the luckiest in the world, flying superbly engineered aircraft, refined over a century, across some of the most striking lands and oceans on Earth.
Bonus: a much larger Vekllei aircraft built by the Comen Aeroyards.