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It was Clive’s first solo flight in a long while. The check-out pilot said he was “good to go”. The weather was ideal for VFR* and he had a solid landmark in the red-and-white ribbed smoke stack on the port side of the runway.

Thirteen minutes into his touch-and-go routine, Clive climbed into a cloud. Strange, he was sure it was a clear blue sky when he made his approach.

His heart fluttered a little but within moments he was in and out of the cloud.

‘What—’

There was a puff of smoke from the exhaust, followed by that dreaded clatter. The engine sputtered and the propeller whip-lashed and stalled.

The aircraft stopped, and ever so slowly dipped and plummeted. Clive was at a height of 5,000 feet and the ground rushed to him.

His instinct urged him to: Pull back! Pull back! Pull back on the control column.

His training screamed: Push down! Push down! Push down to earth!

[What would you have done?]

Clive landed safely.

He pushed down—picked up airspeed—regained control and landed.

VFR* – visual flight rules

*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2019 ***

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