Keeping myself grounded
Iím not afraid of flying, but Iíd be just fine if I never do it again. I especially wouldnít be broken-hearted if I never fly in a small airplane again.
My apprehension about small planes is rooted in the one time Iíve actually flown in one. I was a college sophomore at the University of Central Arkansas when a friend who had gotten his pilotís license offered to take a small group of us for a flight around the area.
At that point, I had never been inside a plane of any kind. I liked to think of myself as pretty fearless ó the way a lot of kids of that age are when they simply donít know any better. So, I figured, what the heck?
I did just fine on the initial takeoff and was just getting comfortable when, somewhere over Saline County, my pilot friend turned off the engine. Apparently, thatís something that prospective pilots have to do in order to earn their license ó to demonstrate they are capable of restarting the engine in midair in case of an emergency.
I canít repeat in this space what I told my alleged friend that day but the gist of it was ďland this airplane and put me on the ground, now.Ē For reasons that escape me to this day, he seemed to find the whole thing amusing.
Since that hair-raising flight, Iíve restricted my air travel to much larger planes, and that has worked out just fine.
Still, there are some folks who absolutely love the experience of flying in a small aircraft. One of those people is Jim Bryant Jr. of Pryor, Okla. ó the pilot who made an emergency landing at the Carroll County Airport last week after his plane lost power.
Mr. Bryant and all three of his passengers walked away without a scratch, even though their aircraft wound up in a field well beyond the designated runway.
Hats off to Mr. Bryant for following his training and delivering his passengers safely to the ground. As for me, I think Iíll keep my feet firmly planted as long as I can.