Things happen faster in the air - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Things happen faster in the air

 June 2, 2006

Albany -- The best, most well-trained pilots will tell you that flying has lots of challenges. It only takes a second, just one mistake, to cause a crash.  

We spoke with 74-year-old Willie Garner, who knows a thing or two about aircraft. He has being flying planes for fifty years. Today, we got a chance to ride along with him on his Cessna 172.

Before take off, this experienced pilot made sure everything was in working order.

Safety is pilot Willie Garner's first priority. "You should be thinking about nothing but flying the aircraft, the operation of the aircraft."

From inspecting the wings to looking over his plane's propellers, Garner says pre-planning is key.  "If you do your pre-planning and pay attention to what you're doing dangers are very few."

And says remaining calm at all times is crucial. "If a person keeps their cool about them, they can just about land it in a pine-thicket over there and walk away from it. Most accidents occur when people get excited."

Before each flight, he looks over this special map. It shows where towers are located as well as the altitude of each one.  "If you know they're out there, you need to be looking for them, and have plenty of clearance."

The experienced pilot also knows how fast white clouds can easily turn to gray. "Weather can move in on you very quickly." 

"You need to make sure that you're always looking checking your weather before you leave." In his many years as pilot, he's never experienced problems. For that he's grateful, and says he has no plans of giving up his passion for the blue skies. "When they put me in the ground I'll probably quit flying at that time."

Along with pre-planning before each flight, Garner must check in with flight services in Macon to make sure there're no temporary flight restrictions in his flight zone.

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