My friend Rob invited me to join him in an airplane ride. He said he had hired a pilot at the local airport and that I should meet him there. So I did, and I saw Rob already in the plane, sitting in the front seat. The propeller was running. He said the pilot had to go back to the flight office for a moment and had asked Rob to hang on to things. He told me I could sit in the co-pilot seat so long as I didn't touch anything. I sat down and put on my seat belt. To my amazement, the plane started to move. I looked over at Rob, who was goosing the throttle.

"Where is the pilot?" I shouted over the roar of the engine. Rob ignored me as the plane picked up speed down the runway. Then the front of the plane lifted, and my stomach dropped. "Where is the pilot?" I screamed now, in full panic. Don't worry, said Rob, with what seemed to me to be insane serenity, we'll manage somehow.

As the ground dropped farther and farther away, Rob began to work the controls, and we started to do spins and loops. White as the fluffy clouds floating beyond the windshield, I kept yelling the one thought that was riveted in my brain: "Where is the pilot? Where is the pilot?"

Finally we landed, and I thanked God that we had survived. I must have looked slightly insane myself after what had transpired. Rob started to laugh and said, smiling blandly, "Oh, I forgot to tell you -- I am a licensed pilot!"

George Henry Spencer, McLean

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