Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pleasure, Pain & Southern Hospitality

An unforgettable weekend

We were given immediate attention. The staff’s care was outstanding, but the kindness, friendliness and southern hospitality were just as notable.

With my wife stabilized (suspected kidney stone), I began thinking of getting home (either a 3.5-hour drive or the remaining 45 minutes of our flight). She felt well enough to fly, so we pondered how we would get to the airport. Not to worry, the ER nurse told us. The charge nurse had gone home for the day but was heading back to the hospital to take us to the airport. Wow!

Initial checks from Lawrenceville indicated good visibility, ceilings and winds for a VFR approach. Unfortunately, I still couldn’t get a break: Upon arrival, the winds shifted to 340 at nine knots. On final, the beads of sweat running down my face were as much from the landing as the day’s heat. Bank into the wind, left rudder, light touchdown on the right main and we’re “home.”

My wife is doing fine, and this experience helped boost my confidence in my emergency flying abilities. Thanks to my flight instructor for the many times we practiced emergency procedures and crosswind landings, and for the admonition to continue practicing regularly.

One final note: The time between my wife indicating that we needed to land and our ER arrival was less than 30 minutes. That wouldn’t have been possible if we had been driving or on a commercial flight. GA came through for us, as did ATC and the availability of small GA airports.

We had an adventurous and, dare I say, exciting weekend that we’ll never forget. We experienced it all: pleasure, pain and southern hospitality.    

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