AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 101

really did, instead, was completely flunk a
pop quiz in critical decision-making.
In fairness to Frank, he weighed his
own critical decision points. Did we still
have a working motor? Kind of. Could we
see our home airport? Yeah. Did we have
altitude? Not a lot, but yes. All green lights
to take a pass on the runway below us, even
though he presumably knew better.
We did eventually make it back to the
airport, but not before the motor seized
with a soul-jarring clunk when it decided
it had enough of running without oil a
half-mile out. With a propeller blade
frozen upward, Frank got us onto the
runway, touching down just on the edge
of the asphalt. It was my only, and hopefully never again, firsthand witnessing of
a dead-stick landing. We coasted down the
runway and bailed as soon as the 1,300pound airplane rolled to a stop.
Once outside, we found streaked oil
on the cowling everywhere forward of
the wings. The airplane had essentially
rained lubricant on everything below our
flight path until there was nothing left,
all caused by an inspection bolt that had
worked its way loose and was not secured
by a required safety wire.
With the clarity of being back on the
ground, I knew Frank's decision to push
for home was irrefutably wrong. I tossed
aside my father's militant lessons of deference and pressed Frank on what he was
thinking. Why did he risk returning to the
airport when we had a perfect landing spot
below us?
" We were too high, " Frank demurred,
which we both knew was a load of excrement the moment he said it. He would

later concede that he turned us around
simply because " that's where his car was. "
Frank also admitted he would've landed
at the little airport given the chance to
do it again. The man knew he had made
an error in judgment, and we were both
lucky it didn't turn out to be worse than
it already was.
But that's not the takeaway from this.
In the end, we were fortunate that neither one of us met our untimely demise
that day-not to mention the damage and
harm that could have occurred to those
below us. And although my instincts were
proven correct, I was wrong for not pressing them. Admittedly there was little I
could do beyond starting a fistfight for the
stick, but that's an extreme and dramatic
perspective that pales against the one
thing I should have said, with increasing
volume: " Land the airplane! "
More important, I failed to manage upward. And I had done it out of an
antiquated sense of polite deference and
introverted passivity, thus making my
error nearly as bad as Frank's. Although
I was rusty in the cockpit, that doesn't
absolve me of my responsibility as a pilot
to make the right decision, even when I'm
not a pilot in command. And while this is
not an endorsement to start arguing with
those you disagree with, it is an endorsement to find your voice and speak to what
you believe, or know, is right.
Life is full of pop quizzes. Your life, and
those of others, may depend on how ready
you are for them.
AOPA
PAUL LOCANDER is an IT executive, writer,

and pilot based in Olney, Maryland.

aopa.org/pilot AOPA PILOT | 101

Contact:

www.BuildAPlane.org
505.980.5915
Help kids
learn
science,
technology,
engineering
and math
by building
or restoring
real airplanes.
www.buildaplane.org

The airplane had essentially rained lubricant
on everything below our flight path until there
was nothing left.

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Any
Airplane
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Receipt!


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AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 8
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 9
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 10
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 11
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 12
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 13
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 14
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 15
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 16
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 17
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 18
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 19
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 20
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 21
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 22
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 23
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 24
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 25
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 26
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 27
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 28
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 29
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 30
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 31
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 32
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 33
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 34
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 35
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 36
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 37
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 38
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 39
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 40
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 41
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 42
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 43
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 44
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 45
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 46
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 47
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 48
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 49
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 50
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 51
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 52
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 53
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 54
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 55
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 56
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 57
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 58
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 59
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 60
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 61
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 62
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 63
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 64
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 65
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 66
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 67
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 68
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 69
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 70
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 71
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 72
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 73
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 74
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 75
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 76
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 77
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 78
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 79
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 80
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 81
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 82
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 83
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 84
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 85
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 86
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 87
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 88
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 89
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 90
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 91
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 92
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 93
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 94
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 95
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 96
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 97
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 98
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 99
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 100
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 101
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 102
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 103
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 104
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 105
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 106
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 107
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 108
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 109
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 110
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 111
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - 112
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2021 - Cover4
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