40 years ago today, I crashed, literally, and learned how the best of plans don’t always go the way we plan. On October 10, 1981, I went flying in a small plane for the first time in my life. Our flight plan was to take off from the airport and fly only about 73 land miles to have breakfast in Montauk, New York on a sunny morning. While enjoying the views from the sky of the Westhampton shoreline, it suddenly got very quiet. The pilot who was the only other person in the plane besides me very softly said, sh-t. (You can guess the letter in the blank.) By the time he calmly said it the third time, I understood the sudden silence was not due to peaceful skies. The engine had failed. 

1st Plane Crash in 1981

Keeping his cool, the pilot quickly gave me a job to do with some simple instructions to follow. I followed his directions as I thought about the moments of my life in rapid succession. I also remember thinking that dying wouldn’t be so bad. I didn’t owe any big apologies—but I wished I could have told some people I loved them, particularly my parents. I felt peaceful as the pilot was searching for a place to land, ultimately aiming for an airstrip at Westhampton Air Force Base. 

The pilot actually made an amazing emergency landing—yet the front wheel caved and the propeller got tangled in plant brush so we flipped upside down. But we both walked away, thanks to staying calm under pressure and to a very responsive U.S. Air Force crew that came to our rescue.   

A different plane crash in 1987

So what I think about ever year on this day is that Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes you can have whopping crashes. But as long as we live to tell the tale? It’s all good!  

These photos are me at the airport, prior to the crash but that’s not the plane we flew in; the plaque given to me after the crash; and, a photo from another plane crash I had 6 years later with a different plane & pilot!  Some of us need the same lessons twice! 

PS:  Howya liking that hairdo? It’s a Dian Original!  Keep me away from scissors!

I’m @DianGriesel aka a perception analyst & strategist; creative attitude disrupter & adjuster; author of The Silver Disobedience Playbook & TurboCharged: The Silver Disobedience Edition; and the blogger & model known as @SilverDisobedience  More info on my websites (search my name) and at Wilhelmina Models. Silver Disobedience® is a Registered Trademark.