COMMENTARY / CONTRAILS
Airplanes Really Can Float
Learning to land on water intentionally
BASE LEG. PULL THE power back to 17 inches of manifold pressure and
extend 20 degrees of flaps. I feel a surge of satisfaction as I remember to put the flaps to 20 before my flight instructor reminds me…
this time. The landing spot still looks good—an area of ripples halfway between a point of land and an island. I can see the waves out in
the open water advancing purposefully to who knows where.
Endless undulations marching in line like soldiers to the front.
I’ll have to swoop over a line of tall trees at the edge of the lake.
I hate trees. I always stay much higher over trees than other pilots
because I don’t trust my ability to judge their height. I like to tell
people that 35 years of flying doesn’t mean I’m a better pilot than
you, but it does mean that I have the sense to get scared quicker. I
like to keep a healthy buffer zone between
myself and danger. Slowly the airplane
rolls into the turn to final, and we begin
the final descent.