Really?!? This is Really Happening?!?
Yes. Why is that so surprising? What had me believe that a plane can’t suddenly have an engine failure while "I" am flying it? Did I think I was invincible? Did I believe that I was special, immune from anything like this ever happening to me? Why was I surprised? Why was my thought not more like, yep, I knew this day would happen, so here I go?
I can somehow distinctly remember, somewhere in the back of my head thinking, before this accident, I won’t ever have an airplane accident, I’m aviation untouchable. I was president of the EAA chapter, now the Young Eagles Coordinator, the Angel Flight West Area Wing Leader. I had multiple students, two airplanes, a Light-Sport Repairman helping start up a business while doing work on other airplanes. I was busy, helping people and doing lots for the aviation community. I was the aviation salt of the earth! Of all the people in aviation in Colorado, nothing bad could happen to me. Others maybe, but not me. Hmmm.
Apparently not true. So, what’s going on here? None of us expects the Spanish Inquisition! (Sorry, I just love that line!) We as humans need to have a good bead on things. When fate is the hunter and deals us a blow, we are surprised, angry, outraged or…We are born into a world of pain and survival but most of us come to some suckling comfort and eventually grow up working hard, climbing the ladders of some success never even realizing that the ladder is ready to topple over at any moment. Tragedy and trauma strike all around us as friends and family fight diseases we can’t see but somehow, we still think, no, this won’t happen to me.
Yet, I still fly, to this day…I don’t believe I will have another airplane accident. Why? Because statistically I am immune? No, that’s not true at all. If so, the insurance company wouldn’t be raising my rates. In fact, they somehow think I would do it again! Because I know what to expect and am better prepared? Maybe, but that just seems like a false platitude meant to secretly hide the real reason. Which is I think I won’t have another accident because I am special, at least to me. I have such a high worth or opinion of myself that I believe that I am unique, special and that fate would smile and look the other way. But that’s not true either.
In fact, I am scared, anxious it is going to happen again, and I don’t want that! This was not a particularly fun flight! But, I am more scared of being scared, of turning my gaze inward to stare at my fears and self-doubt and let them drive me into hiding in a fake cocoon of safety, never flying again or driving, just staying home, with the blinds closed, watching tv and eating chips. Telling myself, I’ve done my best and I don’t need to prove anything to anyone at all.
I’ve learned through the years, regardless of your spiritual leanings, that life on this planet is precious, fleeting and really a wonderful gift! It is unfortunate that it is squandered or taken away from others but for those of us that recognize this immense gift, living life as full as we can, still giving to others, making a difference and yes, dealing with our mental apparitions, this is what we do and will continue to do.
“…I think that the chances of finding out what's actually going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say, "Hang the sense of it," and keep yourself busy. I'd much rather be happy than right any day.” (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) Yeah, I’m not special. Yeah, I’m not unique. There is no rhyme or reason on earth why I should or should not be in any kind of accident. But I can tell you, out of 7 billion people on the planet, I’m the only one that has successfully landed a Pipistrel Alpha Trainer with an engine out!