Off-Airport Landing Teaches Lessons

From NAFI's Chair

Off-Airport Landing Teaches Lessons

Sometimes it's a challenge to find something interesting to write about for this space. There are a lot of reasons for this. For one thing, I know that I am certainly not the greatest pilot or instructor that ever lived. Another is that I don't want to be repetitious or, perhaps worse, pedantic. What is most important to me is the realization that writing in this space is a privilege and that your time is valuable. Because of these reasons, I often go cruising through social media to find something that I hope is inspirational.

I wasn't disappointed by my search for the topic of this article. As the newscast video linked here shows, a pilot, who is also a flight instructor, made a successful forced landing in the Mojave Desert. The plane is certainly bent, but neither he nor his wife, who was his passenger appear to have been injured. As icing on the cake, the news team reporting the incident didn't sensationalize it, nor did they do a lot of speculating about the cause. Instead, the newscast treated this as a feel-good human-interest story.

What was inspiring to me, and I hope to you as well, is how the pilot, Mark Dilullo, handled the situation. Note everything that he did right. He woke up his wife and told her what had happened. He then asked her to video the landing, to, in his words, "give her something to do," so she wouldn't be nervous. Dilullo then ensured that his radio messages were received, relaying them via other aircraft, so emergency crews would know where to look. He flew the airplane all the way to a stop, maintaining control to help ensure there were no injuries. Finally, he kept his sense of humor about the situation, saying, "I'm not up to walking home, but I sure don't want to spend the night here."

There are a lot of great lessons and aviation knowledge captured in this short video. I think it's well worth your time to watch it, share with your students, and reflect on it over this Independence Day weekend.

Bob Meder,
NAFI Board Chair
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