Guest Editorial By THOMAS P. TURNER
The pilot of a twin-engine airplane sped through a narrow mountain pass. Low clouds obscured the ridges and peaks; pine trees blurred past just a few hundred feet below, materializing from the mist, flashing dark green beneath the sleek airplane, and zooming into the cloak of mist behind with dizzying speed.
The pilot pressed on, familiarity with the terrain and a business need to get through the pass to the other side giving him confidence, even as conditions worsened. As he knew it would, the pass narrowed until there was no possibility of turning around, certainly not at the aircraft’s fast cruising speed. Suddenly something went incredibly wrong, and a ball of what remained of the aircraft came to a gnarled rest at the end of a 700-foot-long impact scar.
I won’t cite the specific crash involved out of respect for all involved and in the absence of a compete investigation. Any specific incident to which you may link this narrative is entirely the result of your imagination. In numerous chat rooms and Internet bulletin boards, however, many pilots praised this pilot’s final flight with these supposedly comforting words: “He died doing what he loved.” [Read more…]