The last couple of days, I went to the Smithsonian site for something. I wanted to watch a video but I had to be logged in with a TV provider. I tried Cuz’ login for Direct TV but it said the plan didn’t include the Smithsonian channel. When did that ever stop me? I tried Hulu and there are lots of videos listed but…they are on the Smithsonian site. I clicked on one and held my breath. It played. There are lots of documentaries listed here. I gave the link to my roommate.
She let me know she was watching Terror in the Skies. It’s a documentary about planes that met with some misfortune or other. However, all of the incidents (disasters) ended well as far as the passengers were concerned.
That’s when I started remembering some near misses I experienced when I was flying with my DH. There was the time we’d headed to Seattle for Christmas. We were planning to spend it with my sister and her family. The five of us were in a Piper Apache, a neat little twin engine plane with all the bells and whistles. Leaving from Nebraska, we were bound to encounter cold weather but the plane was outfitted with deicing equipment so we weren’t concerned. As usual, we had prayer before we left.
All was well until we crossed into Idaho. That’s when the plane started picking up ice. No problem. DH turned on the deicing boots and they started working their magic. Soon, though, it became obvious that they were no match for what Mother Nature was throwing at us. I could look out the window from my co-pilot’s seat and the ice was building.
DH had explained to me before that the weight of the ice isn’t the problem. It changes the shape of the airfoil so it can no longer provide lift. He started looking for a place to land.
By that time, it was night. He’d filed an IFR flight plan so he got on the radio and requested to divert to Boise. He was given a heading and altitude to fly and we were on our way. Just as we broke through the clouds, the controller radioed and ordered him to pull up. I looked down and we were mere feet above the houses that were close to the airport. He added power and we made it safely to the runway. The controller’s voice was relieved when he complimented DH on the good flying. I thanked the Lord for taking care of us.
We spent the night at a nearby motel and continued on to Seattle on Christmas day with no further complications.
Then there was the incident with a Beech Queen Air. We had been to visit DH’s sister and her family in California. Another pilot was in the right seat this time so I was demoted to the cabin. DD hated flying so I distracted her by having her act as our flight attendant. She handed out peanuts and Perrier and was happy to be occupied. Her two brothers were back in the back of the plane and being peaceful, for a wonder.
We’d come over the Rockies and were headed for the Denver airport when I noticed what I saw outside my window wasn’t runway but grass. I looked up at the cockpit and both pilots were busy adjusting levers and knobs. We had our seatbelts on in preparation for a landing but there was alarm in DH’s voice when he called back to us to hang on.
The landing wasn’t any harder than usual but the location was definitely different than what we’d expected. When we deplaned, vehicles came screeching up and the men in their aluminum foil suits jumped out. They realized there wasn’t a threat of fire so they came over to talk to DH.
They were amazed that he’d been able to set it down in what turned out to be a pasture. The Rockies were directly behind us and a field of broken asphalt was just beyond. It was the only place to land that was safe. When we went back the next day, the plane was surrounded by cows. They hadn’t been there the day before.
The culprit that made the engine cut out was a clogged fuel filter. There must’ve been some bad fuel put in the plane somewhere along the line. With the filter changed, we boarded and there was just enough room for a takeoff. Once again, our angels had been with us.
When DH was still around, I’d asked him to give me a “crash course”. I didn’t want to learn to take off. I could already fly the planes once they were in the air. I wanted to learn to land. Period. He had finally agreed to do it and then he was gone. I’ve never learned to land a plane but I don’t fly in small aircraft any more. If a passenger plane was in trouble, I don’t think they’d look to me to take over, anyway.
My life is radically different now. It used to be we’d fly everywhere we went. If we wanted to go to the next town for lunch, we’d climb in the plane. We’d take the little Aeronca Champ up to watch the sun set. Now, I couldn’t be more earthbound if I had roots.
The days of the hangar out back with the hang gliders, ultralights and Piper Cub are gone. I can’t say it’s better or worse. It just isn’t the same.
As for my day, I’ve fed Catz and wondered where the Interloper is. I haven’t seen it for days. I don’t like for it to eat the Catz’ food but I don’t wish it any harm, either.