Monday, May 8, 2017

Let's Hope This Plane We're On Doesn't Crash

I used to fly a Luscombe 8A.  While the photograph is definitely of a Luscombe 8A it is not a picture
of my Luscombe 8A.  My Luscombe 8A looked quite a bit different.  It badly needed a paint job so it was kind of a splotchy yellow, metallic color greatly resembling a plane that had already crashed.  The 8A model Luscombe did not enjoy a good reputation.  In fact, a guy named Budd Davisson several years ago wrote that the Luscombe 8A had been voted "The Airplane Most Likely to be Abandoned on the Back Tie Down Line."  The other not so good part of the reputation was that the planes were supposedly "squirrely" on the ground.  Despite all that, I used to fly a Luscombe 8A thus proving that to know a Luscombe 8A is to love a Luscombe 8A.  And I loved that airplane.  It must be noted, though, that I wasn't a very good pilot.  I flew out of a dirt field and discovered that the main difference between dirt and asphalt has to do with glare.  And glare, come to find out, plays havoc with depth perception.  I made that discovery while trying to land on an abandoned air strip.  I thought I was inches above the asphalt.  Come to find out I was several feet above it and dropped in hard.  I wound up with the nose of the plane sticking into a tree.  It must also be noted that the Luscombe 8A is one sturdy aircraft.  Since the propeller had stopped spinning I came to the quick conclusion that the engine was no longer running.  I pulled the plane out of the tree, found some rocks to use as chocks, spun the propeller and the engine started right up.  Being quite the experiential learner, I decided to try that landing again and managed to duplicate the first attempt thus proving that the Luscombe 8A is really a sturdy aircraft while simultaneously confirming my lack of pilot skills.  Those weren't the only stupid things I did in my airplane.  I was a beginner pilot, I had a hard time admitting my flaws, and apparently I did not learn much from experience.  At least I didn't have a twitter account then and I certainly didn't dislike anyone who was a better pilot.  The better pilots just kind of looked at me and shook their heads.  Here's the thing, though.  I truly believe that not one of those many better pilots ever wished me failure.  They never, I'm sure, wished I would crash.  No one should seriously hope for a crash or for pilot failure especially when we are all passengers on the same plane.

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