Saturday, May 30, 2009
Stupid Is As Stupid Does
A retired Air Force colonel with decades of experience as a flight instructor gave one of his students a hands-on lesson in a key principle of flying: Don't run out of gas. Al Uhalt of Colorado Springs made a bumpy but safe landing in a field Thursday when the single-engine Aviat Husky he and a student were flying ran out of fuel near the end of a 45-minute lesson.
Neither Uhalt nor the student, 16-year-old Kyle Sundman, was injured and the plane was undamaged.
Uhalt says he's embarrassed. Kyle's grandfather, Jim Young, who owns the plane, was flying behind them. He says he didn't worry because he knew Uhalt was experienced and the plane was rugged.
Other experienced pilots, who requested unanimity but not proximity, said Uhalt's failure to make sure there was enough fuel to complete the flying lesson was the grossest example of incompetence possible for a flight instructor. "It's worse than flying under the influence of alcohol or any other illegal drug, such as angel dust. At least when you are on speed or flying drunk you can make an attempt to land. When you run out of fuel, especially half way across the Pacific Ocean or between Mount Everest and K-2 in the Himilayas it is almost certain death.," said a nine year-old aspiring pilot at the local airport, who was the only person willing to be quoted for this story. "As far as I'm concerned," said the nine year-old," this jerk should be subjected to a court's martial, stripped of his rank and sentenced to 150 lashes with a cat-o-nine tails."
When it was pointed out to the nine year-old that the Uniform Code of Military Justice no longer provides for beatings with whips, kicking, stomping on, choking, keel-hauling, or plank walking, because considered to be cruel and unusual punishment, the youngster said, "That's what's wrong with the country now. We keep coddling these criminals so that criminals are rewarded rather than punished." The boy was unable to finish the interview because his mom called him home to dinner at that time.