Thursday, July 28, 2005

Head Trauma, part three

I'm sure the investigator knows how to do his job better than I do. I just wish I could be there to see it. I never looked to see if the pavement scrape was smooth, as you would expect from a high-speed scenario, or if it showed jagged lines, from slow scraping. I never looked at the tire carefully. I simply never gave any credence to a possibility beyond my recollection.

This conclusion is not bad, as far as the investigation is concerned. It means we suffered a sudden mechanical failure, causing loss of control. At least it is a cause they can clearly identify as something that could reasonably result in our crash. To an extent, that gets me slightly off the hook for failure to control it.

I suppose there isn't much to do, other than accept that memory is an unreliable witness. Even seconds after the fact. One thing bothers me more than anything else though: If we had touched down, why did both of us believe we were five feet up and needing power to soften the landing? After my first two or three landings in that plane, I was always completely aware of our height above ground, and almost always got a feather-soft landing from it. Even once, 8 days before this, when we were returning from Tangier Island. I had to make a landing with gusty crosswinds, and a ten knot tailwind component. The people watching congratulated me after, on having such a smooth landing in those conditions. It had been a total non-issue.

The other part of the puzzle to me is this: I'm always conscious of keeping the nose up during the first few seconds of landing. DC had taken his training very well, and was never touching down flat on all three tires. I broke him of that. All the events, if they transpired as the investigator believes, require me to have misjudged a couple things, and react incorrectly. To react in ways that I never do.

So I don't know what to make of it. Did I react incorrectly there, opposing the brain and muscle memory of several thousand past landings? Or is my memory so far removed from the actual events that I simply can't process it?

I think I need more coffee.


At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Ruth Holman said...

Hey there, I'm sorry, I've only been able to check your blog today, not had access to a computer the last few days, and I see you had a bit of a mishap! I'm glad you're OK. Haven't had time to read all the details of what happened yet but thought I'd comment to say I'm glad you are OK


At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Dizzy said...

I have really, really enjoyed your blog. It's a great read and if I ever spin up the necessary funds to get my pilot's license, I hope I can get an instructor like you. :)

I'm glad your hard landing worked out ok.

At 9:45 AM, Blogger also-known-as said...

Thanks for the thoughts. I guess the primary thing to take away from it, for the uninitiated or inexperienced, is that a crash doesn't have to end up bad. There are not many scenarios that prevent a pilot from being able to affect the outcome. It should be a cause for caution and careful planning and training, but not a source of fear.

Thanks again for the well wishes.


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