Mystery and Crime Fiction posted May 25, 2022

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Cody's Airplane Crash

Ogawaga - Chapter 4

by Brett Matthew West

End Of Chapter 3:

At six-feet eight, the smiling behemoth was long and lanky. Cody knew he was a good seven inches taller than the sheriff. Since Robert Travis had come to Astatula Middle School to speak to an assembly of students about his career field two months ago, he and Cody struck up a cordialness.

"Can I come in, Bear?"

"No problem,Cody. Pull up a chair. Not much happening right now."

Cody made himself comfortable. Elephant-like, his memory seldom forgot details. He recalled something Bear once told him.

"It took me almost three years of intensive training to qualify for my ATC license, and I had to undergo a rigorous background check."

"What about that speeding ticket you told me you got in Amarillo for drag racing in the streets when you were nineteen?"

Before Bear could answer the radio sizzled a desperate, "Mayday! Mayday!"

Bear flew into action. It had been a long time since he'd received a Squawk 7700 distress transmission. He licked barbecue sauce from his lunch earlier off his lips and knew he must remain calm in the frantic situation. Bear did not know how many, but lives depended on his cool demeanor.

Mounted in his seat, Cody drew a vigilant deep breath.


To steel his nerves, Bear remembered the 3-3-3 Rule. His eyes scanned the room and saw three items. They were his computer, the base of the microphone, and Cody's jeans. The grass stain on his left knee stood out. Its diamond shape brought a smile to Bear's face.

'Boys!' Bear thought to himself, 'What an amazing species.'

His ears fixated on three distinct sounds; the blip of his radar, the squeak of his chair when he sat down, and the golden silence that surrounded him. Bear moved his fingers, wiggled his toes, and turned his head from side to side. Drawn into the moment, his confidence soared. He could handle any cataclysm, or extreme adversity, that came his way.

Bear placed his headset on and responded, "This is Astatula Airfield, over. All emergency vehicles standby."

The loathsome dragon known as fear gripped the lone passenger of the Cessna. Through stunned, owly peepers he witnessed the grassy High Plains pass by underneath him. Doom called his name. His grey, pinstriped, Armani suit dampened with sweat soaked through his button-down shirt. His voice trembled, "I've got a serious problem here. My pilot is incoherent at the controls. And, I have no idea how to fly this plane!"

Bear rocked back in his swivel chair and propped his feet up on an overstuffed footstool. He winked at Cody as if to say, "Now, you get to see a real pro in action."

Cody remained quiet. He understood the danger at hand.

Bear focused his attention on the passenger, "Copy what you told me, sir. But, everything'll be okay. I'm going to talk you down safely. Just do what I tell you to. Do you know your position and what type of airplane you're in? By the way, whar's your name?"

As involuntary goosebumps crawled his skin the voice replied, "George Olson. It's a 380, and I have no idea where I'm at. I live in Missouri. I think we're east of the Caprock Escarpment."

"Good, George. That venerable landmark gives me a solid lock on your location," Bear responded. He sipped from his kava tea glass. Bear enjoyed the warming spices, combined with the kava. They helped the big man relax and eased his tensions.

When Bear spoke again he explained, "Because of the twin controls a 380 is able to be steered from your passenger seat. I need you to maintain the wings level. Missouri, you say. Anywhere near Saint Louie? I've got a brother in Cape Girardeau."

Momentarily, the aircraft appeared on Bear's screen. He stretched his massive arms and told George, "Your bird possesses what is commonly known as the six pack. These are the six round basic flight instruments."

George's heartbeat pulsated. He felt the pressure might explode in his chest. He moused out, "Opposite end of the state near Kansas City. I see the instruments. Dude, I've got four little ones back home. I really do want to see them again."

Bear wiped his face in a circular motion and assured him, "You'll be in their arms in no time, George. I'm going to get you to a pattern altitude of twelve hundred feet. Then, I need you to descend at five hundred feet a minute. That'll make the noise easier on your eardrums. You have clearance and priority to land. So, don't you go anywhere, George. Just stay with me."

A cloud of sadness hung over George. Morose, he asked, "Where am I going to go?"

Bear honed in on the passenger's desperate sudden attitude change and told him, "You're going to go where my radar says you are at. And, it tells me you're doing fine, George. You're about a quarter mile from the runway. At this time, turn the plane downwind and slow to eighty knots. That should put you around two thousand rpms."

Butterflies lurched in George's stomach. Their abrupt and unsteady series of movements almost staggered him. He felt like they played an advanced rapid game of Tag You're It, and wished they'd stop. George felt nausea build.

When he did not respond, Bear, who had paced across the floor, instructed George, "Turn your carburetor heat on and "Power" back to fifteen hundred rpms. Hold the nose level until your speed drops into the white arc. Then, give me ten degrees of flaps. Confirm with the airspeed indicator. I need you to coordinate all your turns with the rudder pedals. I see you, George, and all looks well down here. So, take a deep breath, compadre. You're almost home."

Bear interlocked his fingers behind his head. Because they were short, and his palms square, a fortune teller once convinced him his hands were firm, solid, and fleshy. What she called "earth hands". The palm reader said these indications provided him the qualities of being practical, logical, and most of all grounded. Bear never once argued about her assessments.

He told George, "Turn left base and apply another ten degrees of flaps. This will bring your speed down to seventy knots. But, don't add any flaps until you are completely out of your turn. You are now perpendicular to the runway, clean, and green. Be careful not to overshoot your final turn. There are no other planes on the runway."

Composed and self-assured, Bear said, "Make your final turn. Even if your engine quits running now you will reach the airfield. After your turn is complete, go ahead and extend another ten degrees of flaps. Listen to me George. Your landing spot will appear stationary. Keep your speed about sixty knots and use "Power" to control your altitude, and your rudder pedals to align with the center line of the runway."

George fought the effects of hyperventiation. A battle he strained to win. He pursed his lips, slowed his breathing, and replied, "I will be so glad when this nightmare is over."

Bear stood on his unclad Size Fifteens and stated, "It almost is, George. A few feet above the ground "Power" back and level off. Upon touchdown, pull the yoke all the way back. Only brake if necessary. It's important to keep your taxi speed at close to a fast waking jaunt. Looking good, buddy boy! Now, turn off at the taxiway and come to a complete halt. You did it, George! You're down!"

Cody and Bear exchanged excited fist bumps before the pre-pubescent complimented the controller with a hearty, "You did a really good job, Bear!"

All smiles, Bear remarked, "I knew I just had to keep George engaged and calm, not panicked. Then, point him to the runway. Once I got him to reduce the "Power," I knew he could descend to land."

Disembarked from the aircraft, George did not recoil. He headed straight for the Gift Shop. There was a life-saving hero to thank, but first he needed to purchase a plant.

Plant contest entry

This is Evan, by Lilibug6, selected to complement all my Cody Schroder stories.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by Lilibug6 at

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