The most curious thing occurred the other day as I perused the Internet in search of some incestuous stories that were more than just straight pornography. I came across a story called Halfway to Heaven which I clicked on to see if it had any redeeming value. I quickly saw that it was the same old stuff and didn't finish it. However, at the beginning I thought somebody might have, somehow, heard about what had happened to me although neither I nor she has ever told a soul. Let me explain.
The story I referred to was about a guy and his mother-in-law being forced down on a Nevada plateau due to the engine failure of his small plane. It turned out to be just another sex story with the mother-in-law being the aggressor. But, as I said, at the beginning I was struck by how a similar situation had occurred to me with my own mother-in-law. That is, being forced down in the wilds. The similarity ends there, however. Without telling you where my accident took place, let us say that it was in desert like terrain with the surface at 6400 feet above sea level. It wasn't sand desert, but had numerous small trees and brush.
We were flying in a rented Cessna 152. My mother-in-law had accompanied us on a vacation, and since I was an ex-military jet pilot and had maintained my private and commercial licenses, I had invited her to take a flight with me. She and the rest of the family had gone up with me many times so this was just a chance to let her see the scenery. The idea was that I would take one person up for an extended flight each day so they could have a relaxing tour of the area. We certainly ended up with the tour, but it wasn't very relaxing.
It was fall, so the nights were very chilly. Luckily, the wind had been up during that morning so we took jackets with us even though the days were quite comfortable temperature wise. We had even taken a picnic lunch to eat since I intended to land at a small landing strip about 75 miles distant. We had also taken a woolen blanket on which to sit on for our picnic. We had the usual bottles of water everybody seems to carry around these days, but some extra because of the time we would be gone. The landing strip was near some very colorful and beautiful scenery not easily accessible by car which is why we planned the trip.
The airplane rental people knew I would be gone almost the whole day and didn't expect us back until just before sunset. Because there was no tower at the landing strip, I didn't file a flight plan since everything was VFR (Visual Flight Rules), and my ultimate destination was my departure point where they all knew my intentions. It was a small airport as well. This was a while back so things were a little more lax then. I was 39 years of age and my mother-in-law was 63.
Just as in the other guy's story, the little Cessna began developing electrical and engine problems after we had been airborne for about an hour or so. It was more prudent to keep going and make that landing strip than it was to turn back. We had had a head crosswind and I knew I was south of my desired track since the mountains were closer off to my left than they should have been. I kept looking ahead to find possible landing sites. I had never had a forced landing in my life and didn't want to start now. My mother-in-law started looking at me with apprehension so I guess my own expression was showing concern. I would have broadcast a mayday, but by this time, the radio was dead as were all the electrical instruments.
I finally had to tell her that the engine was acting so badly that I didn't know how long it would keep running and wanted to land the plane while I still had power. Trying to smile at her when I told her that probably didn't give her any more confidence, especially when I cinched up her shoulder straps and seat belt along with my own. Frankly, I was scared since the terrain looked quite rough from up here. We were about 3000 feet above the ground, just under 10,000 feet MSL. Then, I saw what looked like some clear ground and headed for it while still losing altitude. Reaching it, I turned into where I thought the wind was coming from and began an approach hoping the engine didn't quit since I was using power and attitude to stay as slow as possible.
We touched down on very rough ground matted with brush and low trees (it looked a lot better from altitude). I was able to keep the plane in a tail down attitude (we had a nose wheel), but when the nose wheel finally crashed down, it sheared off or at least the nose was pointing down at the ground as we skidded across the ground. The prop bent and killed the engine. I cut the magnetos and electrical power switch just before we were whipped around in the opposite direction and stopped. My mother-in-law had been screaming during the touch down and rough ride. Nothing but silence now as I looked over at her. She was slumped over in her harness and I hoped just passed out and not hurt. I reached over and lifted her chin to see if she had sustained any injuries to her head.
I could see that she was breathing and kept hoping she had just passed out from fright. So, I quickly released my harness and then undid hers which allowed her to slump forward onto the yoke in front of her. I got out of my seat and went around to her side to get her out of the plane. Surveying the damage as I passed under the tail, I realized we had done a good job of tearing up that airplane and was glad there was no fire. As I was dragging her out of her seat onto the ground, she started to murmur and opening her eyes she grabbed hold of me like a drowning person trying to save herself causing both of us to fall to the ground. I calmed her down. She wasn't crying. She was just plain scared out of her wits so I just craddled her in my arms repeating, "Everything's all right now Mom. We're OK." While soothing her nerves, I noticed that her shorts were totally wet. She had pissed her pants.
It was supposed to be a beautiful day (and it was), so I only wore a pair of shorts and pullover. She was dressed in a similar manner. We hadn't expected to be out after dark when it would get quite cold and I still hadn't thought about that yet. It was only about 10 in the morning and nobody would even think to be concerned about us until after sunset. By that time, it would be too late to start an air search, so they wouldn't be looking for us until tomorrow morning. And, from the apparent proximity of those mountains, they would be looking to the north of our actual track. These things slowly dawned on me as I got our things out of the plane.
Yes, we had some limited food, water, our jackets, and the blanket. The plane also had a first aid kit. I looked everywhere to find a flare pistol to no avail. I didn't even have a survival knife. This made me think of all the survival gear I used to have on my person when flying fighters and felt stupid for not being better prepared. Instead, I tried to cheer her up explaining how they would be looking for us so we might as well have our picnic and enjoy the scenery here for the rest of the day. I said they would not even begin to look for us until tomorrow so we should just relax explaining that they would do an air search to look for the plane and our best bet was to stay with the plane rather than try to walk out. I was worried that part of the plane was hidden underneath those trees we had finally nested in. But it was aluminium and the exposed parts would gleam in the sunlight.
Mom finally settled down and counted her blessings-- we were all right and repeated that all we had to do was get through the day and the night. Even though I had convinced her of our rescue, I also thought she was saying those things to help bring up her own spirits. At the same time, she must have finally become aware enough to realize that she had wet her pants. Trying to ease her mind about that I assured her that I would have done the same thing if I hadn't been so busy. But, I told her she ought to take them off and let them dry while the Sun was still high. Giving her her jacket, I told her she could wear the jacket around her middle and I would drape her shorts and panties up on a wing to dry. The circumstances forced her to overcome her embarrassment and follow my advice.
Wrapping her jacket around her and tying the arms in back, she lowered her shorts and then her panties which she handed to me. I promptly went to hang them up. On returning, I saw her behind the nose of the plane squatting down and figured she was taking another pee. Then I saw she had a bottle of water in her hand and was obviously washing off her privates to get rid of the stickiness of the urine. Even though I commiserated with her about that, I figured I had better warn her about the need to save our water for drinking.
My mother-in-law was a person of slight build. She probably was about 5' 2" or less and couldn't have weighed over 100 lbs. I had seen her in a bathing suit and her body was more like a little girl's than a woman of 62. She was also very vain since she had been told since a little girl that she was beautiful and all of her pictures sure had proved that. So, I can understand why she wanted to keep her body prim and proper. Still, I had to say something so she didn't think she could use the water for body care. When she came back around the nose of the plane, I casually mentioned that even though rescue was certain for tomorrow, we ought not eat everything at once and should also ration the water since it was only prudent.
.... There is more of this story ...