Miles from shore
As the Swift’s engine stalled, Lanny heated the carburetors first, thinking that they might have iced up. Still no rumble.
He checked the instruments, changed the fuel mixture to rich and activated the fuel boost pump. Still nothing. He set the glide speed at 80 mph and called a mayday to Patuxent Approach, the air traffic controller for the area, which is run by the Navy. There was no time to turn back to Tangier, he told the controller. The better option was to get as close as possible to the land off to their right.
Already they were down to an altitude of 1,200 feet when Lanny veered the plane to the right. He hoped the 40 mph tail wind would push them a bit farther toward solid ground.
“I think if I said anything to Mom, it was, ‘Mom, we’re going to have to ditch this thing.’ ”
In less than three minutes, they hit the water — three miles from land.
The wind that had pushed them closer to shore also increased the force with which the plane hit the water, and next to him, Mary’s face slammed twice into the control panel.