A plane went down the other day. It was rented from the school where I learned to fly. It was the plane I did all of my dual-in. It was my x-county solo plane. It was one I always smiled at when I saw it. “You and me, baby”
The owners are friends of mine. They run the school, and are the finest people you could ever want to meet. I would trust them with anything. In over 20yrs of flying, with dozens of planes and instructors, they’ve never had to deal with anything like this. Nothing even close. I worry about them now.
I didn’t know the pilot or his two friends. I don’t believe anyone at the FBO really did. He trained somewhere else, was (I believe) a fairly new pilot going out for a night ride. I’m not the NTSB. All I know is the night they went down was Marginal VFR at best in the coastal fog over water. A scenario that’s all too familiar. We’ll see I guess.
I’m not writing to speculate on causes. I’m writing because even though I didn’t know these people. I feel like I did. I can see the pilot excited to show his friends. I can see him getting in “my” plane. I can see my friends the owners watching him taxi out. There he goes, the route I fly all the time.
It’s strange, as many reports and safety studies as I’ve read, this is my first even “close” experience. And it wasn’t even close except that now when I see the wonderful people who taught me how to fly, there is less of a twinkle in their eye. The whole places is dimished just a bit for the loss.
So why am I writing this? Not even really sure, except to say that this forum is, to me, like a community. I log on, read posts, laugh, agree, disagree. Whether we realize it or not, we are a little virtual FBO. Our posts just another way of slinging the bull around the airport. And that means I guess this is a reminder, or a request to all of you. No matter how good you are, how experienced or how new for that matter. No matter how much your new SR22 or Lancair, or old Tabago, or Archer feels like home to you. Be one notch safer than you think you should. Please. Go that extra step. Because I like reading all your posts - even the ones I think suck eggs. And Flying is a little less grand whenever we lose someone. Even if we didn’t actually know them very well, or saw them face to face.