Joshua Ferris, author of the award-winnning Then We Came to the End and several other books, is writing a four part series for Popular Mechanics. The series will follow Ferris’ experiences learning to fly a single-prop airplane.
In the first installment—available online and in Popular Mechanics’ May issue—Ferris describes how going through an emergency landing as a passenger made him afraid to fly. Then, before his first training flight, Ferris has a classic exchange with his instructor Tom:
‘What’s the worst that can happen to me?’ I asked Tom before we took our first flight together.
‘On a training flight?’
I nodded. Tom and I were very different men, if based only on our choice of professions. I’m a writer who never enjoys lifting my butt off the office chair. Ideally I don’t leave the house, and a perfect day is one in which I don’t get out of bed. Tom, on the other hand, departs the earth multiple times a day.
‘People unfortunately die in flight training,’ he said after a long pause. ‘I would think that would be the worst thing.’