June 2000 Issue

Mystery Machine

The Grumman’s pilot approached the trip as business as usual. The wreckage provided more questions than answers.

Although pilots do their best to minimize the risk they assume every time they switch on the magnetos, somewhere in the back of most pilots’ heads is a tiny voice urging them to watch out for the unexpected. Some may consider this self-doubt and banish it from their consciousness. Others embark on a near-manic attempt to silence it through endless training, hardware and conservative decision-making.

Though most pilots generally fall somewhere in the middle, there are those occasional flights where almost anyone may be tempted to shout down the doubt or defer the flight because “something doesn’t feel right.” Usually those flights pass without incident. Occasionally they don’t.

The voic...

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