The Ups and Downs of Military Life
Being in the military with a family can be hard. It means long hours away from the ones you love, so when you do have time together, every moment is that much more special. For one military pilot, his two sons meant everything to him. He loved taking them up in his plane and showing them what he did for a living.
Unfortunately, during one of these father-son adventures, something would go terribly wrong…
Dreams of the Sky
For Christopher Curry, being a pilot was all he had ever dreamed of since a young boy. It would be in high school when he climbed into the cockpit of a plane for the very first time and by the time he was 20, he was learning how to loop, spin and dive. Let’s just say he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life at a pretty young age.
Perfecting His Passion
Christopher joined the Marines right after he graduated from Salisbury University and went on to flight school in Pensacola, Florida. As he continued to excel as a pilot, he would eventually train in dogfighting in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Let’s just say, Christopher was one of the best of the best!
A Long Career
With the love of the sky burning in his heart, Christopher remained with the Marines and worked as a Harrier pilot. This role opened up new doors for the marine and he was deployed all over the world. After his latest stint in Japan, he finally returned home to spend a summer with his sons.
Like Father, Like Son
Both of Christopher’s boys, Cameron ( age 4) and Drake (8) enjoyed flying with their father whenever they had a chance. He would often take them up on fun pleasure flights as a way to spend time together. Since his job took him away for long stretches of time, Christopher cherished every moment he could spend with his boys. In fact, they both want to be pilots one day. Although they both have quite a long time to decide what they really want to do with their lives.
Looking at the World Differently
One of the benefits for Christopher when taking his sons up in the plane was it allowed him to view flying through a fresh pair of eyes. It reignited the excitement of leaving the safety of the ground below and taking to the sky. For Christopher, it was the ultimate sense of freedom.
A Flight Across the Bay
During the summer months, Christopher would take his sons on flights whenever they had a chance. They would take off from Tipton Airport in Annapolis and travel across the Chesapeake Bay. Both Drake and Cameron loved crab melts, so the boys would grab a bite to eat before heading home. It was the perfect trip for an afternoon out.
An Unexpected Free Afternoon
Unfortunately, once school started up, flying with the boys became very limited. However, one afternoon the kids’ school let out early. Jumping at the opportunity to squeeze in a flight, Christopher and the boys decided to spend an impromptu afternoon together.
Unfortunately, Christopher could not foresee that he was about to put his sons in danger.
A Tremble and a Rumble
Christopher, Drake, and Cameron took off from Tipton Airport, as usual, planning for a short circular flight. And for the first 45 minutes, all went according to plan. That is, until Christopher noticed a tremble in the engine.
Could the boys be running into some minor engine trouble?
Losing a Propeller
The first sign of a problem soon gave way to the propeller beginning to slow down. Christopher immediately pulled the prop lever, but there was no response. However, there was no time to panic. Thanks to his training in the Marine Corps, Christopher knew how to handle the situation while staying calm.
But would his boys be able to handle the pressure?
Pushing Back the Fear
Christopher’s first priority was to check on his sons. Thankfully, Drake hadn’t noticed any issues and Cameron was taking nap. Staying calm, Christopher began to slow down the plane so he could better assess the situation.
Unfortunately, things were about to get hairy, and really quick.
The Situation Turns South
Christopher realized the plane was losing altitude rather swiftly. At the rate they were dropping, there was no way they would make it back to the airport. Trying to remain calm, Christopher knew they were in trouble. He immediately shifted the plane towards Lee Airport, which was closer and radioed air traffic control.
Would he make it back in time?
End of the Line
As Christopher was contacting air traffic control, the plane’s engine came to a dead stop. Still, at 1,400 feet and falling, Christopher knew their chances of making it to the runway were slim to none. He had to think fast. There was no way he was going to let anything happen to his sons.
Searching for a Place to Land
Christopher desperately searched for a place they would be able to touch down. Pointing the nose of the plane lower to maintain a steady 75 mph, smoke soon began to fill the cockpit. At this point, both Cameron and Drake were screaming and crying, but Christopher knew he had to stay calm and find a place to land. It was then he saw Route 50, an old highway outside of Annapolis.
What happens next is nothing short of a miracle.
One Rough Landing
Hovering over incoming traffic and with the plane’s alarms going off in the chaos, Christopher managed to touch down in an empty lane. The plane’s wings clipped a light pole before smashing into a guardrail that brought the plan to a full stop. They had survived! And it was all thanks to Christopher’s training.
Later that evening, when the boys were driving home, Drake asked his dad, “when can we go flying again?” Christopher simply smiled. It seems there would be another pilot in the family one day in the future.