We were shocked to hear about the plane crash that killed Senator Stevens. The pilot, Terry Smith and his wife, Terri Smith, were and are friends of ours.
We had flown a lot in the Goose with Terry to go fishing. I learned a lot about safety from Terry.
Unlike some false reporting which is so unnecessary, unproductive, and unhelpful, Terry did not feel he had to get some place no matter the weather. Nor did he take unnecessary risks. Nor did famous people cause him to do so.
In fact, early on, I noticed Terry saying the checklist out loud before taking off. As I was keenly interested in learning to fly, I paid close attention to these things. I wondered if Terry was saying the checklist out loud because he hadn’t flown this plane much so I asked him how long he had been flying this plane.
Terry: This particular plane? Over 20 years.
Me: I notice you say the checklist out loud.
Terry: Yes. I’ve been doing that since the beginning. If I say it out loud, then it’s easier for me to make sure I do each and every one and don’t miss anything.
Terry had about 38,000 hours when he said this. He was one of the safest pilots I knew. He had about 39,000 was he was killed.
So when I started learning to fly officially. I said the checklist out loud. And I still do it. He is right. One notices more easily if one has missed something. Also, for me, I fly with other pilots usually and it makes them a part of the experience and makes them more comfortable. Also, I figure, they can check my checking the checklist.
We called Mrs. Terri, as we called her, when we got to Alaska this week to give her our condolences and spend some time with her if she wanted. We sure didn’t want to impose – people’s reactions to the death of a loved one is all over the place and all valid. She left me a message to stop by if I wished. So on Thursday, I did just that. We sat on her deck and reminisced, chatted, cried and laughed even. Their pets, a dog and a cat joined us.
We had seen both Mr. Terry and Mrs. Terri last September when they had invited us for dinner. A spectacular, fun dinner in their beautiful home. We were looking forward to seeing them again this trip.
No one can figure out what caused the crash yet. If ever. Very bewildering.
It is all very, very sad.