Your Personal Adventure - The Tom and Piper Adventures

The Plane Crash - Part One: {{firstName}}'s First Flight

{{firstName}} stood at the end of the dock and looked at the small white float plane. The wings stood straight out from the roof of the plane, just above the open doors on the side. It had three green stripes down the side, with matching stripes on the large pontoons. Aunt Sara was standing beside the plane, looking inside what must be a small cargo door. 

Uncle John put a hand on {{firstName}}'s shoulder.  "Your cousins are already strapped in. The sooner we get on board, the sooner we will all be swimming at the cottage."

{{firstName}} strode onto the wide wooden dock toward the plane, passing a small aluminum fishing boat loosely tied on the left side of the dock. The boat did not appear to have been used in a few days as there were water and some leaves inside the hull. The dock moved slightly under each footstep as they approached the plane.

"{{firstName}} {{lastName}}," Aunt Sara said. "You have grown like a weed since I last saw you." She hugged {{firstName}} for a moment. "I am so glad you decided to come to the cottage, Lily and Raymond have been talking about you for weeks."

She waved toward the open door. "Since this is your first flight, we are going to put you in the second row. If you do not get airsick, you can be my co-pilot when we fly back next week." She stepped onto the pontoon and climbed up into the cabin before sliding across to the far seat. 
Uncle John took {{firstName}}'s luggage and pushed it into the cargo area, followed by the two he had carried. After closing the cargo door, he stepped onto the pontoon and turned to help {{firstName}} climb aboard.

{{firstName}} carefully stepped onto the pontoon and climbed up into the cabin. The plane seemed very primitive on the inside, with exposed aluminum ribs and wiring, but the seats were comfortable and appeared brand new. {{firstName}}'s cousins Ray and Lily were seated in the back on less comfortable looking bench seats.

"This is going to be so much fun. " Raymond said, "I can't wait to show you the fort I've been building. I have my own private island." 

Lily smiled and said "Hi," before looking back at her phone. She appeared to have earplugs in.

"Your headset is on that seat," Uncle John said. "We only have four headsets, and this old girl is pretty loud, so Lily is wearing earplugs today."

{{firstName}} picked up the headset and put it on. It took a moment to adjust fit and position the microphone. Looking forward, he could only see the sky in the windshield above the control console. There was one modern looking color screen in front of Aunt Sara, surrounded by old-fashioned looking analog dials.

"How long will it take to get there?" {{firstName}} asked.

Aunt Sara looked back and said, "We should be tied up to the dock in two hours." She paused a moment, "Make sure your seatbelt is really tight, taking off on the water is a bit rough."

She turned back to the controls, and a few moments later the engine started. {{firstName}} felt the plane shaking around him and was surprised at how loud the engine was. Aunt Sara and Uncle John were looking at the control panel and discussing the planned lunch menu for later. Turning, {{firstName}} could see that Raymond was looking out the side window. Strapped into the seat, {{firstName}} was unable to turn far enough to see Lily, so he looked out his window. 

Uncle John removed his headset and slid out the door until he was standing on the pontoon again. He quickly untied a rope securing the plane to the dock and climbed back into the cabin. He firmly closed the door and put his seatbelt back on as Aunt Sara started to rev up the engine, and the plane started to move away from the dock.

Aunt Sara started to talk as she slowly turned the plane out toward open water. "I bought this Cessna 185 eight years ago. She was built in 1978 and spent most of her time at a flight school in Arizona before getting pontoons and serving five years as a bush plane for some prospecting outfit. She was in pretty good shape when I bought her, but the engine needed a complete rebuild so it was another year before we could fly."

The engine noise and vibration became stronger, and the plane started to pick up speed. Uncle John looked back to check everyone's seatbelts and gave {{firstName}} a thumbs up.

"We just got these noise-canceling headsets last year. Before that, we only had two working headsets, and the kids had to use earplugs for the flight. Okay, it is going to be a bumpy ride until we are in the air. Just relax."

Aunt Sara throttled the engine up until it was roaring and the whole plane vibrating. They picked up speed rapidly, and the plane shook as the pontoons cut through the small waves. Eventually, {{firstName}} felt a weightless sensation for a moment, and the plane started to climb. The engine noise and the rush of air against the outside of the plane continued, but the shaking was gone.
"Not so bad, " said Raymond. "Takeoffs are a lot worse when the water is rough."

{{firstName}} watched the lake drop below the plane as they climbed. Aunt Sara banked the plane to the left as they climbed, then straightened it out a few moments later. Uncle John undid his seatbelt and turned to look back.

"Anyone want a bottle of pop or a sandwich?"

~ ~ ~

{{firstName}} awoke with a start as the plane shook violently and entered a steep dive. The engine was not running, and aunt Sara struggled to get the plane under control. Everyone was yelling.

"I can't pull out of this; the controls feel jammed." Aunt Sara jerked the control wheel, but it only would move a short way before stopping. "I don't know if I can make that lake."

Uncle John shouted, "Kids, we are going to make it, but I need you to tighten those seatbelts." He clipped his back on just as the plane started to slide sideways through the air as it plummeted toward the edge of a lake. Everyone screamed. 

Seconds later, aunt Sara was able to straighten the plane out again. The nose of the plane started to lift as they sped toward the trees on the edge of a small lake, but {{firstName}} could see they were not going to make it over them. They were going to crash into those trees.


Your adventure continues tomorrow in part two!

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