How To Handle A Crisis Without Freaking Out! – Part 1 of Many
This is going to sound like it’s a flying lesson. It isn’t. It’s a metaphor for life… for handling The Unexpected when it shows up. And no matter what it is in your life… a relationship, a business, an adventure, your finances, whatever… The Unexpected has a nasty habit of showing up, well, unexpectedly.
Excerpt from Chapter Three of Fumes and a Prayer: How to Live at the Edge and Still Be Home for Dinner!:
~ operate an aircraft; fly ~
How do you feel, five thousand feet above the ground in a small airplane with a single engine, and that single engine quits?
The man to my right was certainly excited. He turned around to his napping wife, woke her up and pointed out the fuel gauges, which were still on empty.
I’ve never figured out why he didn’t let his wife sleep peacefully through the event, but apparently he wanted company as he was freaking out.
A small group of seventh-grade girls asked me once, when I told them I’d run out of fuel flying a six-passenger airplane to Denver.
“What did you do?” they asked.
I responded, “What would you do?”
The instant reply: “Scream!!!”
“Really?” I said. “You’d really want your pilot to scream?”
I was outwardly calm, controlled—no matter what the circumstances…
…you do not want your pilot to panic.
Still, I had no idea how much fuel was in the other tank. The left tank was dry, and I quickly leaned down and flipped the fuel selector valve to the right tank.
The fuel-injected engine on this airplane, I’d been told, was not known to be an easy one to restart in the air, and a successful re-start depended on having enough fuel to get it started in the first place.
I needed two things at that moment: enough fuel in the right tank to feed the engine, and a cooperative engine.
If the engine started, we could continue on for a short bit at least.
If not, the rest of our trip was going to be very short.
Aviate. Fly the plane.
- Forget for the moment about looking for a place to land
- Forget about going through checklists to figure out what went wrong
- Forget about calling on the radio.
Fly the plane. First and foremost, get control of the plane.
Don’t be like a student I once had who, when I simulated losing an engine by pulling the throttle back to idle, immediately began to flip switches, pull levers and turn knobs, completely without thought and totally in panic.
When you do that it’s easy to forget about the most important thing, the basic thing: Fly the plane!
Aviate. Fly the plane.
Whether driving a car or flying an airplane, whether climbing a mountain or scuba diving, whether starting a business or getting married…
…if you start with the basics, you have the best chance of survival.
Ever had an experience where you, or others, freaked out?
Share your comments below.
~ excerpted from the author’s book,
Fumes and a Prayer: How to Live at the Edge and Still Be Home for Dinner,
Chapter 3, “Aviate”
available on Amazon
or personalized and signed by the author by clicking on the link here.