"OKAY, WE CAN LAND NOW."

The little de Havilland DH2 had just cleared the pattern in its climb to 1,500 feet when my instructor, my mother’s nephew, Uncle Tom Hawkins said, “OK, we can land now.” With my soon to be minted private pilot’s license in  sight, I had wanted him to be my first instructor passenger.

 I’d planned to circle Howard College University campus and come back to the municipality‑owned airport, Virginia. I reminded him of this, and I’ll never forget what he’d said, just before I put the nose down for landing, more than 40 years ago: “I fly them, Andre’, but I don’t like small planes. I just wanted you to know that I have confidence in you.”

NOTE: My uncle crashed his “Tri-Pacer” Cessna a year later on the same runway of Virginia Airport, he walked away completely unscathed and I never got my pilot’s license, ” through circumstances which alter cases.”

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