I like to think that I can do something if I put my mind to it.

But I learned the truth this week.

When I read the news story about the passenger in a private airplane, who, after the pilot collapsed, landed the plane himself.


Just no.

There are so many things I couldn’t have done I don’t even know where to begin.

Start with the fact that after the pilot passes out, the passenger radios for help.

My first reaction would be to panic, then scream.

My second reaction would be to scream, then panic.


But I would use profanity.

I kept it clean for your benefit.

And I’d run out of capitals.

I would use every capital.

Then I would run out of profanity.

No way am I reaching for the radio.

I couldn’t even begin to use that radio.

I’m still trying to figure out the dashboard in my car.

I never use my navigation system because it’s too complicated. I managed to set Home as a Favorite Location, but plugged in the wrong house number and couldn’t change it, so my Home is my neighbor’s house.

Luckily, I know my house, so when the navigation system directs me to my neighbor’s house, I just drive next door all by myself.

What a big girl!

I even have trouble with the presets on Sirius XM. Sometimes they’re there and sometimes they’re not. Sometimes they make me listen to Preview, which is an endless commercial for Sirius, to which I already subscribe.

I can’t explain any of this.

I don’t even try.

I just do without Classic Rewind.

Those are my kind of stakes.

Save-your-life-at-30,000 feet are not.

How much do I like Steely Dan?

A lot.

Enough to press the Forward button 85 times?


I just sing Steely Dan.

I know all the words.

Big girl!

To return to point, according to the newspaper story, the passenger radioed the air traffic controller for help, and the air traffic controller told the passenger how to use the transponder so the aircraft could be found on radar.

Wait, what?

Transponders are real?

The only thing I know about transponders is that Ashton Kutcher was looking for one in Dude, Where’s My Car?

I love that movie.

Is this, Dude, Where’s My Plane?

Reportedly the air traffic controller then told the passenger to descend 5,000 feet.

Can you imagine hearing that?

I can’t.

I don’t want to be 5,000 feet above anything.

I don’t even want to stand on a ladder.

I pay somebody to clean my gutters.

A footstool, I can handle.

I’m all over footstools.

Then the air traffic controller told the passenger, “Maintain wings level and just try to follow the coast, either north or southbound.”

How do you keep your wings level?

I can’t even walk across the room with a cup of tea and not spill some.

Truly, I do not allow myself to drink tea in my family room because the rug has so many tea stains.

At this point, I’d rather tell people it’s dog pee.

It’s less embarrassing.

And how about follow the coast for directions?


When I stop for directions, I never remember what they said.

“Follow the coastline,” I might remember.

But it’s one thing to follow a map, and another to follow a globe.

By the way, the report clarified that the passenger had no prior flight experience.

To me, that’s a given.

I can’t imagine being cool enough to have prior flight experience.

My only prior flight experience is divorce.

Anyway I’m thinking about the hero passenger-turned-pilot and the hero air traffic controller because the new Top Gun is coming.

I can’t wait.

I loved that movie, too.

I love all stories about flying.

And I watch from my chair.

On the ground.

Without tea.

Look for Lisa’s new best-selling domestic thriller, “What Happened to the Bennetts,” on sale now. Also, look for Lisa’s historical novel, “Eternal,” in paperback. Francesca’s critically acclaimed debut novel, “Ghosts of Harvard,” is also in paperback.