Real Men and Emergency Landings

The following story, from the Panama City News Herald, is about an old college buddy of mine who is an air force pilot:

Pilot makes emergency landing on 17th Hole at Shark’s Tooth

S. BRADY CALHOUN / News Herald Writer

PANAMA CITY BEACH — When the engine on his Cessna 172 went out Saturday while he was flying at 4,000 feet above Bay County, Tony Weedn did not have many options.

“He looked at the beach, and there were a lot of people on the beach. He looked at the highway, and there were a lot of cars on the highway,” said Justin Landingham, one of Weedn’s passengers. So, Weedn picked the 17th green at Shark’s Tooth Golf Course to make an emergency landing. He had to dodge large trees and sand traps in order to get the plane to safety.

It was a hole in one.

Weedn, 28, an Air Force pilot, and Landingham, along with 27-year-old Yeshua Goodman and his wife, 30-year-old Trisha Goodman, weren’t hurt in the incident. Even the plane got through it unscathed.

The white Cessna still was on the golf course Sunday evening, according to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, waiting for the FAA to arrive Monday to conduct an investigation.

The group had been flying from Fort Walton Beach to Orlando as part of a surprise birthday event for Landingham. The plane was rented, Weedn said. Everything seemed to be going well until the engine powered down. Weedn grew up in Oklahoma and has been flying since he was 12. He had been taught from a young age to look for a field when something goes wrong and the plane won’t make it to an airport.

“There aren’t a lot of fields in Florida,” Weedn said.

As the plane was going down, Weedn turned to his passengers and told them the plan.

“Guys, I have been training for this my whole life,” Landingham recalled Weedn saying.

“We’re going to be fine,” he promised.

Then he turned back around and started working.

“He was just in command the whole time,” Landingham said. “He was like a rock.”

When the plane landed, Weedn turned back to his passengers again and asked if they were OK. His face had turned white, Landingham said.

“God put us in the exact spot we needed to be,” Weedn said. “We didn’t really jolt around a lot. I thought it was going to be much worse than it was.”

He added that his training — the training he has been doing his whole life — took over.

“Nobody was hurt,” Weedn said. “Praise God for that.”

On Sunday night, the group was back together making dinner and spending time with one another.

“He was perfect,” Landingham said. “I would fly with him again any day of the week.”

Reading this story gives me goose bumps and I really don’t have a lot to add, however, my favorite part is:

“Guys, I have been training for this my whole life,” Landingham recalled Weedn saying.

“We’re going to be fine,” he promised.

Then he turned back around and started working.

“He was just in command the whole time,” Landingham said. “He was like a rock.”

A real man is prepared to take action when the moment calls for it. A real man has been preparing his whole life. A real man reassures those around him in dangerous situations. A real man doesn’t panic. A real man takes command and starts working on a solution when it seems like their’s no hope. A real man’s friends call him, “a rock.”

Well done sir. Well done. You’ve always been a pretty awesome dude who I’ve looked up to (albeit metaphorically… we do have a slight difference in height) and respected. This story only reinforces that opinion. Keep it up sir.

Oh yeah. And maybe it’s time you take a new grownup version of this picture wearing the same outfit:

This entry was posted in Difficult Stuff, Real Men by Michael. Bookmark the permalink.

About Michael

Was it Kierkegaard or Dick Van Patten who said, ''If you label me, you negate me.'' I call people amigo, bromigo, broseph, amigo, and brojangles a lot. It's a problem... I know. I also fight gangs for local charities and stuff like that, and I have a strong affinity for the fist bump as a primary means of greeting people. When I'm not doing those things, I'm busy trying to balance my efforts to be a good husband & dad, a man of God, a professional fundraiser, a friend, an amateur writer, an avid consumer of books and music, and defender of all things awesome. Check out my blog at FindingManhood.com

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