The recent crash of a USAirways jet stirred up memories for me. A few years ago I was flying from the mainland of Honduras to Guanaja in the Bay Islands, which is located about 30 miles off the northern coast. The twin engine puddle-jumper took off to the east and banked left out over the blue Caribbean, climbing quickly.
From my window seat I was enjoying the view of the distant islands when suddenly, the pilot put the plane into a nose dive and banked so steeply that I was looking straight down at the water. Rather than leveling out and flying north we continued banking and descending rapidly. I realized that something was very wrong but no one else in the small plane seemed alarmed – not even when it became apparent that we were turning completely around. In a matter of seconds we were back over land and the pilot brought the plane out of its bank but continued to dive so steeply that I was sure he would be unable to pull the nose up in time to land safely. Continue reading