August 1999 Issue

When Tired Eyes Are Flying

Sooner or later you’ll have to fly without sleep. Relying on catnaps instead of caffeine is your best option

When the pilot woke up, he was soaking wet, and cold rain was pouring down on him. He couldn’t see out of one eye. His leg and arm were killing him. There were pieces of something in his mouth. He took them out. They were two of his front teeth.

It was about dawn. As he looked around, things were still fuzzy, but he realized that he was in his Comanche. The windshield was broken out, the cabin door was open, and they were sitting in a muddy cornfield.

Six months later the pilot, who also was a flight instructor, was telling the story to a group of people at the airport. How he’d changed. His face was heavily scarred now, and he needed a cane to get around.

He was a poignant reminde...

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