Another Stupid Pilot Trick

An accident fueled by complacency with a very lucky pilot.

It was still dark when the pilot lifted off from the small county airport at 5 AM on Saturday, February 24, destined for the 1,100-acre almond orchard she and the other two pilots on contract were responsible for protecting on a frost control contract. The horizon was barely visible as she climbed to 300 feet, per her altimeter.

On the ground, she had already loaded the moving map image that outlined the orchard and she knew which section of it she was supposed to cover. But as she headed to the orchard about a mile away, the moving map wasn’t indicating her position, making it impossible for her to determine where she was in relation to it.

She checked her altitude again, then reached forward to tap-tap-tap on the iPad’s screen — as she had hundreds of times since the iPad had become her FAA-approved electronic flight bag six or seven years before. The usual routine was tap-tap-tap and then look up to confirm all was okay before another tap-tap-tap. But this time, when she looked up that first time, she saw a row of tall trees right in front of her.

“Oh, shit,” she thought. “This is it.”

She’s not sure whether she pulled back on the cyclic in a vain attempt to avoid the trees, but she knew it wouldn’t matter anyway. Collision was impossible to avoid. Oddly, it happened so quickly that she didn’t even have time to be afraid.

She may have closed her eyes as she went through the trees because she doesn’t remember seeing anything. But she heard the racket as the helicopter’s 16-foot blades, moving at roughly 400 RPM, impacted branches as they pushed through the trees. The tail rotor, skids, and horizontal stabilizers were ripped off but the helicopter’s fuselage kept moving. The pilot didn’t feel the impacts as the helicopter struck the ground once or twice in an open field on its way to its final resting place about 100 yards away from the trees, facing the direction from which it had come.

On realizing that she was on the ground and still alive, the pilot fumbled for her seatbelt and got it open. She climbed out of the wreckage.

Text Message

The next few minutes are hazy to her. She saw the fire back behind the engine. She was worried that the other pilots, who had departed after her, might see it and think she was hurt so she texted one of them. That was at 5:04 AM.

Then she found the fire extinguisher. While she has no memory of using it — in fact, she thought later that it was broken — she may have pulled the pin and used it to try to extinguish the flames. (According to the police, someone did and she was the only one there.)

She may have still had it in her hand when the phone started ringing at 5:17 AM. It was the pilot she had texted. She told him what happened, assured him that she was okay, and told him to keep flying.

The engine fire got a little bigger. She decided it would be a good idea to move away.

Still not thinking clearly, she called her insurance agent, who is also a friend of hers. It was 5:23 AM and she was on the phone with him for 9 minutes, although she doesn’t remember talking that long. She does remember feeling the pain in her right leg around that time and looking down to see the huge swollen bruise forming. She started wondering if maybe she had broken her leg and decided to sit down. He asked if she’d called 911 and she said she hadn’t. The thought hadn’t occurred to her.

She hung up and called 911. That was at 5:34 AM. She told the woman who answered that she had been in a helicopter crash and that she was okay but might have a broken leg. She said there was a fire but it didn’t look bad. The 911 dispatcher asked for her position and she was able to use Google Maps on her phone to provide cross streets. The dispatcher said she’d send the police and fire truck and EMS helicopter. The pilot, now sitting on the ground as the sky was brightening, begged her not to send a helicopter. She didn’t need it and she wasn’t going to pay for it. She must have said that a dozen times.

The 911 operator kept the pilot talking on the phone until emergency services arrived. “Let me know when they’re right next to you,” she said.

That happened 22 minutes after making the call. There was an ambulance and maybe a fire truck and a police car. Two medics came up to her. A while later, they were helping her into the back of a pickup truck’s crew cab for the short ride across the field to the ambulance. At her request, someone fetched her iPad from the wreckage, along with her purse. She didn’t realize it, but the fire was already out.

In the ambulance, the medics wanted to start an IV. She told them not to. She said she wasn’t hurt that badly.

In the hospital emergency room, they wanted to cut off her pants. She wouldn’t let them. Instead, she got undressed, wondering how she’d gotten grass stains all over her pants, and slipped into the hospital gown they provided.

They started an IV. They dressed a cut on one leg. The bruise there was huge and swelling bad.

They sent her to pee in a cup to make sure there wasn’t any blood in her urine. She was surprised they didn’t want to do a drug test.

The adrenaline that had been running through her veins started to wear off and she found herself shaking. They put a warm blanket around her.

People called on her phone. The other pilot she’d been flying with. Her insurance agent friend. The NTSB. Another pilot who didn’t know about the crash but was looking for a landing light to replace one that had gone out on his helicopter that morning. She talked to them all before 7:30 AM, grateful that the emergency room staff had let her keep her phone.

They took her to get her leg X-rayed. They did her spine, too, even though she didn’t feel any pain there. Around then, she noticed her right hand scraped up and swelling. In the days to come, she’d notice other bruises and scrapes in other places.

A doctor came to tell her that there were no broken bones. He pressed down on various places to see if there was pain in her abdomen. There wasn’t. Just her leg, really. He offered her a pain killer. She told him that most prescription painkillers didn’t work for her so she’d still with ibuprofen. A nurse came with a 600 mg dose.

The doctor offered her an overnight stay for observation. She declined. She checked out of the hospital at 8:29, just three and a half hours after the accident.

When I climbed out of the cockpit, I didn’t realize it was lying on its side. I’m still not sure if I came through the door or the windscreen.

The pilot she’d been working with, took her to see the wreckage. By that time, it was fully daylight out. She was surprised the helicopter was lying on its side; she thought it had been upright. She was also surprised by how beat up it was.

And that’s when she started to realize that she might be the luckiest person on the planet that morning.

Wondering why I know so much about this crash? By this point, it should be pretty obvious.

I was the pilot.

Yes, I crashed Zero-Mike-Lima last Saturday morning at around 5 AM. I crashed it because I was stupid and allowed myself to be distracted while flying at night. The fact that I’m alive to tell people about it amazes me every single day. In fact, when I was in the hospital I developed a notion, fed by a life of reading science fiction, that I had actually died and the “afterlife” was just a continuation of real life.

But I’m here and I’m embarrassed.

Can you say “totaled”?

Throughout this blog, you’ll find posts where I analyze various helicopter crashes. The vast majority of crashes are due to pilot error and my crash is no different. I’ve got about 3700 hours in helicopters, including more than 2200 hours in the one I crashed — hell, I owned it for 13 years! — and I still made a stupid mistake that destroyed the helicopter and could have taken my life.

I’m really not in the mood to analyze what happened now. Hell, it took me a week to write this. It’s actually pretty straightforward: I allowed myself to get distracted while flying at night relatively close to the ground. Duh. You can’t perform a much stupider pilot trick than that.

Various people at Robinson Helicopter saw the photos — I was at Heli Expo this past week — and pretty much agree that the bladder tanks, which I whined about back in 2012, probably saved my life. So there’s that crow to eat, too.

There is some good news in all this — other than the fact that I’m alive, no one else was hurt, and there was no property damage (other than those trees): the helicopter was fully insured and I’m already shopping for its replacement. In fact, I put an offer on a nearly identical helicopter just yesterday. So I’ll be back in business soon enough.

And you can bet your ass that I won’t be on a frost control contract next year or ever again.

I debated leaving comments open for this post. I’m not sure if I want to address them given how I feel about what happened. But I’ll give it a try.

If you want to tell me how stupid and/or lucky I am, fine, but do it gently. I already know. Read the Comments Policy if you’re not sure whether what you have to say will be approved. If the comments section turns into a “let’s beat up on Maria” party, I’ll shut it down.

82 thoughts on “Another Stupid Pilot Trick

    • I agree Maria, an landing you walk away from is a good one, and… I admire the fact that you are not letting it ground you. Good Luck withe new bird.

    • Hi Maria. I remember seeing your red helicopter with the “M” on the mast in the early days of my career. You may have bought an oil filter or had me perform a 100hr on it. Can’t remember. I’m just glad you’re okay. I too have been distracted with touch screen devices essential to cockpit and realize what we had with the ol’ Garmin 430 was an element of safety. The ability to place our hand on the knob, look up, and feel clicks as we turned to the desired functions. Now it’s like staring at a guage which we all know gets us in the end. Take care.

    • You have handled an unfortunate accident professionally and with grace. We all get complacent, as any professional pilot will agree. It’s a hard lesson, but you have embraced it and the trick is to control what your mind does in the near future, which might surprise you. I had a flame-out over Irvine, CA in 2004. Auto’d and landed successfully, and experienced some of the surreal memory recall discrepancies you did. Shortly thereafter, I realized that I didn’t want to go back to work. For the first time in my life, I had been flying for 36 years and loved it, I was hesitant, afraid to go fly. So, be good to yourself, get help if you need it, I did, and get back to it. This is still a bitchin way to make a living.

    • Thanks for being so candid and sharing. We all can learn a little from it. As the saying goes, there are those that have and those that will… if you’re in the business long enough. Glad you’re ok.

  1. Maria, so happy you survived this! Thanks so much for sharing. One of the best attributes of a professional pilot is humility and for sure when I will play with my Ipad in flight, I will remember to be more careful. By sharing your story you are helping the helicopter community!

  2. Firstly, so good to know that you are OK. (The bruising will soon go).
    Secondly, those bladder tanks are worth their weight in gold (they probably cost their weight in gold!).

    It is amazing how composed you were immediately after the crash. You did all the right things but have no memory of those events.

    I was a passenger in a 90 mph car crash a few years ago and apparently had a long and coherent conversation with the firemen cutting me free. I have no recollection at all, I thought I had lost consciousness. Maybe a shake to the hippocampus wipes the memory ‘disc’?

    Anyway, best wishes for a rapid recovery.

  3. Ann T said it first:. you walked away from the crash, nothing else matters. You made it through intact and didn’t hurt anyone else, everything else is fixable. I commend you for sharing the details in such an honest and public way, perhaps another pilot somewhere will be saved by learning from your experience.

    As an aside, Robinson helicopters are tougher than their critics give them credit for, aren’t they? People that hate on Robbys tend to conveniently forget that the design has been tested and honed through the most rigorous process out there, real life. Millions of flight hours, thousands of hard landings, and hundreds of crashes for all kinds of reasons have provided the data needed to optimize the design.

    I’m glad to hear you’re OK

  4. I concur with other posters: speed recovery! I remember reading you post about bladder tanks. I wanted to post a comment at that time but as you had to get them installed anyway, I thought it was not necessary.
    As you wrote, your accident is unfortunately quite usual. We all do stupid things, and in certain circumstances, those stupid things will lead to an accident.

    All we can do is to take mitigating measures. Some measures are deemed to reduce the probability of an accident (careful planning, good training, check lists etc.) others (Bladder tanks, crash proof seats etc.) are deemed to reduce the consequences of an accident. We need to take both.

  5. Yeah, nothing but virtual hugs from Ireland for ya – keep your chin up, and get back flying as soon as you can :)

  6. As someone who hopes to own their own helicopter in the future, I’ve admired your work and have kept up with your website for the past year. I was initially sad to hear about your accident, but I’m glad to hear that your okay! I must say its ironic I read your post about the bladder tanks last week and now that may be exactly what saved you. Hope its not to long until your back in the air.

  7. I’m not the only one extremely pleased you are okay!! Today I was bragging on you and telling family how much you exhaust me when I simply think of all your skills and achievements. They also now think that you are Wonder Woman! After this experience you are certifiably a “wonder woman”.
    Go gal!

  8. My wife used to call things like this an AFGE. “Another Freeking Growth Experience”. Well this is a major one. Reading your blog shows you have indeed had learned from it. You won’t make that mistake again.

  9. Jesus. What courage to share this. I admire your acumen and humility here.. a lesson for all of us. Sorry to hear of this and grateful you are OK. I must confess, each time I watched a copter vid you post, or see your helicopter in a pic.. I instinctively worry – you were so lucky here. Happy trails and recovery. Greetings from Italia. GLEN

  10. Hi Maria
    you’ve always been a rugged individualist forging new territory and this account of events is so “You”
    It’s tough, practical and executed step by step – textbook…
    you are always teaching!
    so glad to hear you are safe and planning to fly again!
    you are tougher than woodpecker lips

  11. I want to thank everyone for their very kind comments. It really means a lot to me to have you all take the time to share good thoughts and wishes. I’m luckier than I thought!

    • Glad you are OK. Learn from it and continue to fly helicopters. Take that from a helicopter pilot with over 21,000 hours. I had a tail rotor assembly break off in flight and took a wild ride and ended up with a broken back. Take care and again glad you are OK.

  12. Wow…flying with Lady Luck!
    Good for you, dusting yourself off and getting back on.
    Showed your posting to the (new) folks down at The Wayside Oasis at this afternoons happy hour. One fellow recalled your landing there.
    Off to tour the “Grapevine Ranch” in the morning.
    Speedy recovery!
    John & Mary Wells

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  14. I 2nd and 3rd all the thoughts/feelings expressed by everyone else here!
    1 question (and forgive me if it’s a stupid one) if the reason for the crash was looking at the iPad (being distracted) why won’t you do any more frost control contracts?

    • Other than EMS flying and perhaps live-wire power line work, frost control flying is probably one of the most dangerous types of flying that civilian pilots do. Orchards are always in rural area with few if any lights, and they’re studded with towers, wires, fences, and (of course) covered in trees of varying heights. Unless you preposition your helicopter right at that particular location (few growers have helipads, and they never want to pay for this anyway) you are nearly always trying to find said orchards in total darkness, hours before it starts to get light. If / when you successfully find the right spot, you end up basically hovering back and forth for hours at low level, right above the treetops, hoping to avoid all the previously mentioned obstacles until the sun slowly comes up.

      The standard helicopter landing light setup is very poorly suited for the task, what you really need is a rock-concert grade bank of floodlights, which nowadays would probably be possible amperage-wise with high powered LEDs, but you can’t just stick a bunch of them on your helicopter like it’s a redneck monster truck. Everything mounted to aircraft has to be approved by the FAA (STC’d) and is super expensive even if someone DOES make exactly what you want. Night Vision Goggles would help a lot, but they have little to no peripheral vision, cost a fortune even before you get your helicopter cockpit lighting modified to be compatible, and you have to do both initial and recurrent training which isn’t cheap. Human factors wise it’s a disaster in the making, right at the lowest ebb of your biological clock, usually starting at 2-3:00 am and going on till just after sunrise. You always end up flying through the worst lighting conditions, and they keep changing till the sun is fully up. Weather-wise it’s always clear when you start, but by the time you’re finished there is often thick patches of fog caused by the same radiation cooling that is causing the risk of frost.

      The risk to reward ratio for frost control work is terrible, honestly I’m kind of surprised that anyone does it more than once. I once flew Bell 206 all the way across Arizona (and back) to do three hours of frost control work. Even though the grower paid for the ferry flight time it was a dodgy proposition from sundown till sunup. Just to make it more interesting other helicopters from competing companies kept dropping in throughout the night at random intervals, with no warning. The company I was working for at the time was greedy (and reckless) even by helicopter startup standards, but the whole process was so sketchy that they never did it again while I was there.

    • In response to what Sean C wrote,

      Couldn’t you put the helicopter on a trailer then just drive it to the farm, thus avoiding the dangers of trying to find a postage stamp in a rural area in complete darkness?

  15. Glad you’re okay Maria. In this connected age I was able to find a website that recorded the audio from the Fire dispatch that covered your accident. (They record everything!) Nothing unexpected in there but it added another dimension to the story. Hearing about you using a flashlight to wave down the fire trucks was interesting. Also, they did dispatch a rescue copter and it was on the way, but they cancelled it after the first responders did their evaluation. PM me if you want a copy.
    Again, glad you’re okay. RIP 0ML

  16. Hi Maria, I just found out, I am glad you are ok. Thank you for telling your story to help the next pilot. Take Care.

  17. Maria,

    I glad that you are all right. Sorry about your helicopter. I also applaud you for having the courage to tell the story. I look forward to start flying later this year and I have been following you. The fact that you walked away from this shows that you have great piloting skills and reactions which you most likely acquired over the many hours of flying.

    I have been listening to this song lately and I sent it to a friend of mine who is going through different issues. The refrain is definitely applicable to your situation, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

    I look forward to reading more of your writing.

    God Bless You

  18. Thank you for being so candid. As a fairly new pilot with a R-44, I have learned a lot from your posts. So glad you are okay.

  19. You are a brave woman. Thanx for sharing and reminding us that not one of us is invincible. Wish you a good recovery.

  20. you are a courage one to recognize your mistake and tell us this experience as an example of things that never should not be done…

  21. Very glad your with us, lesson learned ma am but more importantly your here to talk about it and share your experience

  22. Your honesty is refreshing. I am glad you are safe and the fact that you posted this personally could save another pilot’s life in the future. I don’t have my license yet but I aspire to and I study accidents in the hopes of never allowing anything to put my life or my passenger’s lives at risk ever.

    I’m also glad you’re already shopping for your next aircraft and ready to get back in the cockpit.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  23. I just want to take another moment to thank the folks who have taken the time to post such positive comments on this post. I’m an idiot and am terribly embarrassed by my stupidity, but I want everyone to understand that it can happen to ANY pilot. That’s why I wrote this and that’s why I won’t hesitate to tell folks about it when asked. I think all of you who have commented get that and I really do appreciate it.

    Fly safe, everyone!

    • I read your story and, like many others, have had a similar experience. I also read your comment posted at 12:19 and let me say this: you are not an idiot and you are not stupid. You are human. I give you the utmost credibility and respect because you accept the fact that you made a mistake. We all make mistakes from time to time and unfortunately, some hurt more than others. Not only are you alive, but unhurt. Be thankful for that and try to move on as soon as you can. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • You are inspiring me to write my story of how I took off in a Waco with no fuel because the runway was getting bulldozed the next day. I flew 5 miles to the nearest airport and landed and the engine quit on the taxiway. That was far more stupid lol. :-).

  24. Wow! I just started reading your blog today and you had just answered a question in a comment of mine when I noticed this recent activity. As I read the post I thought surely it was fiction, (and having recently read your criticism of your required costs of bladder additions thought that the post might end up being a creative retraction of that opinion). I am so relieved to know you walked away without significant lasting physical damage. I pray you continue to live your life in full-on mode and continue to use your writing skills to share your experiences and observations. It’s such a treat to read your work. I look forward to following your healing and rebuilding process.

  25. Get back in the saddle a.s.a.p. The industry needs people like you. You are now a safer pilot :) hugs from Norway

  26. Maria, First, I’m happy you survived intact and still want to fly and share your experience. Second, I understand exactly how you feel. I too have had an experience with trees where the trees won. You seem to feel exactly like I did, mad at yourself. I was so pissed at myself for “hurting” an aircraft I had been entrusted with. I can’t tell you the number of pilots I know who did similar things, and then blamed it on everything except themselves. Those are the pilots I worry about when they climb back in the cockpit. They never learned from their experience. If you fly long enough, you’ll notice there are a number of aviation clubs. One of them is; Those who have, and those who will. Welcome to the club.

  27. Well, at least you were on your way to a working gig, not trying to take off too close to a hanger like my friend was when she stuffed her -44. Sorry about your beloved ship but glad you’re OK.

  28. Any pilot who says they haven’t been distracted and just lucked out isn’t being honest. Thanks for your brutal honesty. Glad this can be a lesson for all of us with not lasting consequences.

  29. I’ve been reading your blog and following on FB for a very long time. You’re like the female version of the Dos Equis man. You’re “The Most Interesting Woman”. So I’m sad to read you crashed but I am more than happy to read you survived and will fly again. So get some rest. Let the cuts and bruises heal. And get back to making the rest of us wonder if we’ve squandered our years away on this planet.
    Good luck Maria and please keep us posted.

    PS- I got nothing but mad respect for you sharing the play-by-play of the accident. Not a lot of people would have humbled themselves to share that experience.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery from Wisconsin.

  30. Your writing like this, so candidly, honestly, may save the lives of some of us pilots. This perspective is invaluable. I thank you.

  31. I was flying a 205 that night doing frost control and I learned of your accident upon landing by your friend who had a parked near our aircraft, Glad you are OK. For anyone doing flying like this, a proper risk assessment and recon before flying the fields at night is imperative. Luckily I had one of those high powered almost stadium LED lights on my aircraft and I could see at least 1/4 mile.

  32. Have you got a computer guru or the ATSB having a look at the iPad to see what data can be extracted about what its software was doing and for how long (and the GPS data in the iPad and your ‘phone)?

  33. Accidents happen, even the most skilled & or confident pilot is not amine to forces that control our actions we know nothing about. What is interesting to me though is yr actions/behaviour when help was first sort & the numerous times you where reluctant to ha e further treatment, was that based on costs for same or some other concern?

  34. Full marks for confessing to what happened. I’ve found that whilst technology like IPads can be really helpful ( like OzRunways we have in Australia), if they play up or freeze or don’t open etc, they can be a real distraction. I now often fly with 2 seperate IPads both with nav systems functional so if one starts playing up I don’t let it distract me, rather revert to the other one. Flying at night can be demanding. You’ve learnt your lesson the hard but not fatal way. We all learn lessons in Aviation. That’s life. Put it down to experience & move on. I am sure you will be more vigilant in the future….

  35. Hi Maria,

    It is brave to talk about your own mistakes. But It shows in my opinion that you are a very professional pilot. Sharing your mistakes in order to prevent us from making the same one’s! Thank you.
    I hope you will be up in the air very soon.

    Best regards

  36. It’s one of the problems with the reliance on new technology….it has increased ‘eyes in the cockpit’ rather than outside IMO. I applaud your openness and honesty for coming forward with your experience….us chopper pilots tend to be proud beings, and owning up to our own human error is not easy (and what a whopper of a human error!).
    SO glad you made it to tell the story.
    I hope you don’t mind but I have shared your story within our company (only 16 pilots) on the dangers of distraction for us all to learn and be more aware of our behaviour in becoming distracted.
    Thankyou again

  37. Firstly very happy that your ok.and thanks for sharing your experience so that other pilots can benefit from what happened to also highlights that regardless of anyone’s level of experience,it can happen to anyone if you take your eye off the ball just for a moment.take care and wishing you blue skies ahead.

  38. Glad you are ok! Thanks for trying to help the community out by letting us put on your shoes. I worry constantly about complacency and hearing how it’s harmed others helps us all remember that we’re one distracted moment away from serious risk.

  39. Maria, So good to hear you are OK. I am also so glad you are willing to share your “Good” mistake with others. I call it good because you are here to tell us all about it and that is such a valuable way for others to learn. I have had my share of “good” mistakes and constantly share them in the crew resource management (CRM) classes that I teach. I too was at heli-expo this year presenting one of the safety challenge classes on how our personality affects decision making in crews. Your courage in writing your story is such a great way of helping everyone who reads this to be a better pilot. thank you so much for that!

  40. Thank you for sharing. One thing that makes aviation as safe as we are today is that pilots and the rest of the community are (overall) very good at sharing their mistakes with others so that they can learn from them and become a better pilot and improve the system. I know sharing this was probably hard, but I suspect also helped you work through this traumatic moment. We are all human. We all make mistakes. We all get distracted, but we all grow from mistakes. We grow by recognizing those mistakes and changing our mindset, behaviors, and processes. There is a culture in aviation that does not exist in any other sport/ profession. Pick up any aviation periodical and there will be a section on accidents and mistakes to be shared with the community with the spirit of helping others repeat that mistake. I think it should be adopted more widely as doctors could benefit from this lack of hubris. So could engineers, It really is a strong tool. Again, thank you for sharing and I am very glad you made it though. Fly safe and long! See you in the air!

  41. As a fix wing pilot and the son of a Huey pilot I can only repeat what the others said already – any landing you walk away from is a good landing! Glad you’re ok, speedy recovery

  42. Maria,

    I am very happy that you are okay, and able to share this story. If it can happen to you, then it can happen to anyone.

    I’m sorry for the loss of your ship, but unlike you, it’s replaceable.

    Clear skies, and tailwinds. (and eyes outside) my friend.


  43. You will go through much self-analysis of this traumatic incident in the future. Perhaps the best way to look at this is that you are not stupid at all, you are simply human. You are a professional indeed, but you are also a human and therefore imperfect – and you were simply a little bit imperfect for just the wrong few seconds. Helicopters demand near perfection from the pilot almost all the time – more so than anything else I’ve ever done. I’ve been reading your stuff ever since I first started flying helos, and I have a lot of respect for you. Get back in the air as soon as you can, lessons learned. Smarter. Stronger. Better. Put the bad behind you and rotor on, Maria. Best of luck to you!

  44. Glad to hear your OK. Its refreshing to hear a story that is painful to tell especially that you believe it was your fault. It makes us humble and leaves me with a lot more caution as I fly helicopters. We learned something from you today. Thank You… Gary W

  45. Thanks for sharing your story Maria. It helped me set new personal mins this morning! Way to make the crow taste more positive! Seriously.

  46. I celebrate your life and the lessons shared.
    When accidents happen we either loose the person involved or we get a bravado explanation on why it happened.
    Either way the truth is lost; that didn’t happen in this case.
    Happy flying when you recover.
    Thank you.

  47. Well, you are still here, still with us, still can fly, so enjoy this chance life has giving you, because believe me, even non-pilot strangers, like me, like a lot of more people -and strangers-, are glad that you are still here. And believe me…you will be oing frost control. Not now, not next season, but eventually…you will; becauase you write like someone that gets knock of the horse, bur eventuall goes back at it. This is YOU, this is what you do, what makes you feel alive.
    Carlos A. Martinez J.
    Edmonton, AB, Canada.

  48. Wow Just wow. Seeing that wreckage, reading the story and then knowing you walked away alive – wow. You’re a lucky girl! We all make mistakes and most pilots nowadays use an iPad or some other device (I used to use a Bendix AV8OR ACE back when I was flying) that can lead to that. May your story serve as an example And God bless bladder tanks!

  49. It’s heartening to know that you are well….. thanks for sharing this…such reminders help us to avoid complacency.

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  51. I missed seeing this until your followup post today! So glad you are alive and relatively uninjured. I’ve followed your blog since I found it shortly after I started flying (almost 8 years now) and your posts have always had great thoughts and reminders about safety for me. I do appreciate them and hope this doesn’t stop you from posting in the future.

What do you think?