October 11, 2007
By matthew d, Andover, KS

Whooosh! Our friends touched down in their small plane on the tiny meadow
turned landing strip a quarter of a mile from our house. I jumped with joy this was an exciting occasion for a five year old! Visiting the Self’s was difficult because they lived four hours away. However, when we did, we always enjoyed a fantastic time. They piled out of the aircraft and began unloading luggage from the cargo hold of the plane. The sun warmed the serene meadow that hid itself from the road leading to our house with a row of gnarled old trees. We enjoyed the peace and quiet for a minute then placed the luggage in our car and drove home. When we returned tomorrow, the peace would be shattered.

Early the next morning I rose, excited because Mr. Self had promised to take us up for a ride in his airplane. I wondered why everyone was still sleeping. The sun rose, and we were going to ride in a plane! Impatiently, I wandered around our kitchen, thinking of a creative way to get everyone up without getting in trouble. After what seemed like hours, but in reality was closer to thirty minutes, people started wandering up for breakfast. I anxiously asked when we would fly in the plane; to my disappointment, I would have to wait until the afternoon. The day slowly unwound, and we wandered out and checked the plane.

It sat on the ground like a grounded steel bird. Mr. Self used a syringe like device to draw the water out of the engine that had settled there from and over-night rain. He continued checking the plane until he was certain that it was in perfect flying condition. We ran around the plane anxiously, pretending to be planes ourselves. The plane was not big enough to haul all of us in at once, but I convinced my mom I should get to go on the first trip. I hopped in with my friend and his sister; Mr. Self and my Dad were in the front. He turned the plane on.

Whirrrrr! We held our breath as the plane struggled to start. Slowly it sputtered to life, and I held on as they positioned it for take off. Abruptly we stopped. Spinning until it became a blur, the propeller hit maximum speed as the engine finally warmed up. Suddenly the plane zoomed down the runway as if being chased. The sun shown brightly as I looked down into the calm meadow we were rushing away from. Too bright, I looked at my friend who had a headset, he was lucky! Whooomp! Something didn’t feel right, the feeling of flight had fled and been replaced by fear. Fumes of gasoline drifted into my nose, and it felt like we hit a wall. I peered out my window. Pavement! How did that get up here? Realizing what had happened climbed out. Wobbly knees hindered my progress as I stumbled away from the fallen aircraft, I was beginning to feel it’s’ effects. It lay cockeyed on the ground; one wing burst lengthwise the other sprawled on the asphalt. My dad clawed his way out with an oozing goose egg on his head that looked like a volcano. He received chemical burns, and deep scratches on his knees. Mr. Self emerged unscathed. Whew! No one received too serious of injuries.

I later learned the bottom of the plane had clipped the trees, due to water in the fuel lines that did not allow it to get enough thrust. Plummeting, the plane descended nose first fifty feet it had climbed until it slammed into the rigid asphalt on the road. Between the nose and the fuselage hit the ground first with a crunch. Quickly the rest of the plane came crashing down, and then it rolled over onto one side in its final resting position. We went to the hospital and no one had any grave injuries. My dad was the worst; he had a concussion, and got stitches in his forehead. Our friends lived to fly another day, and they did, and crashed again. No one died in the second crash either. The plane wreck scares me to this day.

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