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Late Night Check Flight

On a late night check flight, VFR
Yuma vectors one-six-oh,
Moonless evening lit by star
Sheds no light on earth below.

My flight instructor stares ahead,
As motor drones it’s muffled shout;
I cannot shake the silent dread
Of dealing with an engine-out.

No city lights to gauge my height;
No beacon in the black abyss;
Terrain concealed by cloak of night,
Would engine’s death be Death’s sure kiss?

My nerves to hide, I clear my throat,
“So, can we dead-stick set this down?
What procedure can you quote
For gliding blindly toward the ground?”

Without a pause, with confident tone
The sage old pilot loosed his drawl:
“We trim the aircraft to be flown
At slowest speed above a stall.

Full flaps and slats then cinch your seat
And hold a level aileron;
When we reach five hundred feet
We switch the landing lights to ‘on’”

His manner served to comfort me
Until he finished, with a cough;
“And if we don’t like what we see
We simply turn those lights back off!”

A glance, and then a smile slow
I respond with heavy sigh.
Cabin lit by gauges’ glow,
Without a word we wing the sky.

A proper plan improves our odds
As we approach our great unknowns;
Apply your hand but trust in God’s,
Takes yours plus His to bring you home.

Picture of Wes Stephenson

Wes Stephenson

Author, motorcyclist, poet, and adventurer. Let's journey together.

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