I was flying from Anchorage to Seattle, landing at night in fairly crappy weather. It was my leg as First Officer, and the Captain was working the radios. The flight had been uneventful, and we were getting ready for our descent and landing into Seattle. The Captain made one last PA to the passengers to let them know our estimated arrival time and weather. I glanced over at him and he had a sly look in his eyes. I turned on my intercom to hear what he was saying to the passengers…
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a very special person flying the plane tonight. Her landing is going to be the best you’ve ever experienced. In fact, her landing will be so soft it will feel like a butterfly landing on a soft flower petal.” He unclicked the mic and said to me, “no pressure!” Damn! I mean, my landings are usually awesome, but when you know 170 people are expecting a greaser, that adds a whole lot of pressure! His snickering next to me only made my concentration and drive even more formidable. Bring it!
The approach was beautiful. We broke out of the clouds, the runway was wet and I was in absolute control (of course!!). My landing was… well… as soft as a butterfly landing on a flower petal. It was one of the best landings I’d ever had. You couldn’t tell the wheels were on the ground. Until the speed brakes deployed, which helped to brake the airplane by destroying lift on the wings, and I felt the Captain start using the toe brakes forcefully to make the first turn off the runway. I said no way are you going to ruin my landing with forceful braking. I am taking up as much runway as necessary to continue this beautiful landing! I mean, why save 10 seconds and ruin the landing, right? He, smiling the whole time, backed off the brakes and allowed me to finish my greaser. We taxied into the gate and said goodbye to the passengers. There were smiles and high fives all around.
Which brings me to these reminders.
- Flying is damned FUN!
- Grace under pressure is a gift!
- Follow through with your awesomeness! Don’t grease the landing and ruin it with jarring braking!
- If you challenge me, be prepared for awesomeness!