Engine Failure

This story was written in answer to Fandango’s One Word Challenge. Word – ‘Odd’

This story also includes the Your Daily Word Prompt word – ‘Respect’

This is what I came up with …

Engine Failure

Howard Falk was an accomplished pilot; he’d retired after forty years as a commercial pilot. Those long years saw him successfully land a Boeing 737 with multiple engine failure, without killing anyone. As a result, he had a lot of respect from those who knew him. These days he owned a reliable Cessna Skyhawk and loved to fly on the weekends.

 Today, he’d agreed to fly some engine parts from Norwich Airport to Ipswich Airport. Flying with his son, he enjoyed the flight. The cargo drop had gone well and now he was heading home through sapphire blue skies.

Ten miles out from the airfield it happened. The Lycoming single-propeller engine shuddered and stalled. The plane was stricken.

“That’s odd!” Howard watched the propeller come to a complete stop with concern furrowing his features. He took a calming breath and went through his restart procedure, increasing fuel pressure and engaging the starter. The propeller sputtered about in front of the plane but failed to re-engage.   

“Dad, did the engine stop?” asked Adam. At thirty, he’d never wanted to be a pilot but he did enjoy spending time in the plane with his father.

Howard reached across and squeezed his shoulder for a moment. “Yup, I’m afraid, we’re now officially a glider.” Taking up his radio Howard scanned his controls searching for an answer. “This is Howard Falk in Skyhawk J347.”

“Go ahead, Skyhawk J347. We have you eight miles out and dropping in altitude.

“We have engine failure. I repeat we have engine failure.” Howard continued to go through the restart procedures, growing desperate to hear the engine return to life.

“All received. Mobilising emergency services.”

“Roger that.” Howard watched the propeller dance around and stall again. “Come on, baby!” he urged.

“Are we going to crash?” Adam was visibly sweating, panicking beside him.

Howard nodded while scanning the fields and the looming city. “Yup, looks like it.”

“How are you so calm?” Adam looked close to apoplexy.

“I’m either odd or know panicking won’t help.” Howard chuckled as he adjusted his flaps and feathered the controls to keep the Skyhawk gliding as smooth as possible for as long as possible. “Skyhawk J347  to Norwich Airport. I’m going to attempt to make it to the East runway get that sucker cleared.”

“So, this is how you saved that passenger plane, then?” Adam asked.

“Norwich Airport to Skyhawk J347 – runway will be all yours!”

“All received. I had two hundred and fourteen passengers that day, including your mother. She was the sexist flight attendant I’d —”

“Dad!” Adam grimaced as the field rose into view.

The plane tried to dip its nose. Howard pulled back on the yolk refusing to let it plummet into a death spiral. “Sorry, son. I was not going to be responsible for killing all those people. I didn’t feel like dying either. I manually created a glide path to the ground and glided that sucker to earth. The landing was a little rough in the Nevada Desert but we all made it our alive.”

“I have so much respect for you for that.” Adam nodded to his father. “Can we glide down like that now?”

Howard pointed forward. “There’s the airport – let’s find out.” He locked eyes on Adam. “I love you, son.”

“I love you too, dad.”

The two shook hands with respectful nods. “Skyhawk J347 this is Norwich Airport – what’s your status?”

“Skyhawk J347 to Norwich Airport – I have a paper aeroplane up here. I hope that runway’s clear because we’re coming down whether you like it or not.” Howard replied working his near useless controls as much as he could. Everything felt like dead weight without the engine’s help.

“Bring her home, Captain Falk. We’re rooting for you.” the air-traffic controller sounded scared for the plane.

“We appreciate it. Have a bar of whole nut chocolate, a cigar and a pint of beer ready for us please – oh, and Adam will have a ginger beer, cheers.” Howard engaged the wheels and hoped they dropped into position below the plane.

The plane was gliding over the houses of north Norwich now. Thousands of people below had no idea of the danger above them.

“Consider it done – we see you now, good luck.”

Howard felt the plane begin to tremble there was no airspeed left, it would fall soon. He sucked in a deep breath and increased the rate of descent.

The plane plummeted over a lorry and other cars moving along the Cromer Road,

Adam cried out and braced for collision as the airport fence narrowly avoided being destroyed.

“Come on, baby!” Howard braced so hard he almost pushed his feet through the floor as he hauled back on the yolk and “Argghhh!”

The plane pitched skyward and hit the runway tail first. Bouncing hard, it yawed right and slammed its wing into the tarmac.

Howard felt the wing snap off, grabbed Adam and forced him into the brace position.  

The plane levelled out and spun a full circle across the runway. Its wheels hit the grass, burrowed and the plane came to a smoky stop.

“Well, that was an odd landing!” Howard remarked calmly.

“Odd, that was freaking insane!” Adam hugged him. “You did it again. You landed a stricken plane saving everybody.”    

“Skyhawk J347 – that was a terrifying landing! You okay?”

“We need fresh underpants, but we’re okay, tower,” Howard replied as he wiped his sweating forehead.  

“Respect to you, Captain Falk. We’ll have that beer ready for in the pilot’s lounge.”

“Much obliged.” Howard turned to his son as the emergency services vehicles raced to the plane. “I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll stick to my bicycle from now on!”

The End


Thanks for reading my friends. As always there are more stories to be enjoyed (I hope) in the Short Stories and Short Stories 2 tabs.

Have a great day!


7 thoughts on “Engine Failure

Add yours

  1. Great job writing this, Mason. My dad was a commercial airline pilot, as was his father. I can certainly related to engine trouble and crash landing, but, thankfully, never had to experience either!! Well done 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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