Sample from Flight to Redemption


     Easing the jet’s twin throttles back a practiced amount, the pilot lowered the flaps a notch and set the angle-of-attack indicator on the approach tick. Then he pressed the ICS button on the control yoke and said, “Keep your eyeballs out there, Mike, we’re taking it all the way in.”
     “What if the field goes below minimums?”
     “We go too. Don’t have enough fuel to make it anyplace else. Just find me that runway.”
     “Sun Air 101, you’re drifting left of course, come right four degrees. Be advised, the field expects to go below minimums shortly.”
     “Roger that,” the copilot answered.
     Tense now, the pilot banked the jet to starboard. He focused on his instrument scan; this was no time to be sloppy.
     “You’re back on course, Sun Air, going slightly below glide path. Come left two degrees.”
     Dammit. The pilot pushed the twin throttles forward an eighth of an inch and checked the angle of attack as he brought the airplane two degrees to port. The muscles across his back and shoulders tightened, a subtle reminder of dark nights and hairy missions long past. Perspiration would come next.
     “Come on, Mike. See anything at all out there?”
     “Nothing, Captain. It’s thick as a marshmallow.”
     “Okay, Sun Air, you’re up on glide path. Double check your gear down and locked.”
     “Three green,” the copilot answered.
     “On course, on glide path,” the controller said. “You’re at half a mile, Sun Air, on course, on glide path.”
     Releasing his shoulder harness, the copilot leaned forward. His chin almost touched the glare shield that jutted out over the instrument panel. He stared into the white void.
     Urgency in his voice, the GCA controller transmitted new instructions: “Sun Air 101, the field has gone below minimums; the field is closed. Execute a missed approach and report your intentions. Repeat, the field is closed; execute a missed approach.”

* * *

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