Illustration by Kate T. Williamson
Landed a 10-seat twin-engine turboprop plane after the pilot died?
"The pilot's head fell back, and I saw the whites of his eyes. We were on autopilot climbing 2,000 feet per minute north of Ft. Myers, Florida, and the sky was filled with numerous other planes. If we continued on our course, in about eight minutes we'd be at the aircraft's altitude limit, causing the plane to stall and spin out of the sky. I had piloted a small single-engine plane before, but never one this powerful—and I knew nothing about autopilot. Thankfully, a Miami air traffic controller who was also an experienced pilot came to my aid. She convinced me that I had to turn off the autopilot and fly and land the plane by hand. There were dozens of unfamiliar controls in front of me. One of our daughters was vomiting, and the other one was crying. I told my family to pray and pray hard. I was operating on pure adrenaline—a focused fear. When we flew over the Gulf of Mexico, the sky was a light blue that perfectly matched the light blue ocean. When the plane dipped below the clouds, suddenly I couldn't distinguish sky from sea or up from down. It was like driving a race car in the Indy 500 in pitch darkness." — Doug White, who in 2009 safely landed a King Air 200 in Ft. Myers, Florida, with his wife and two teenage daughters onboard
Performed the National Anthem at a professional baseball game before a crowd of more than 26,000?"Waiting at the dugout, I was grateful that it wasn't too warm and my hair wasn't frizzy. I concentrated on my first note. If I started too high, I'd sound like I was screeching. It was so noisy that I worried I wouldn't hear the announcer call my name, but when I got to home plate, it became surprisingly quiet. I closed my eyes and fortunately started on the right note. I was pointed toward the outfield and couldn't see any faces, but I could sense the crowd. All I heard was my voice reverberating around me throughout the stadium. I grew up watching Whitney Houston and Faith Hill perform at games. When I looked up and saw my face on the giant JumboTron, I thought, 'Who's that girl up there? Wow. It's me.'" — Jordan Shelton, who beat out 800 contestants to win the National Museum of American History's "Star-Spangled Banner" singing contest and sang the National Anthem at the Baltimore Orioles v. Atlanta Braves game on Flag Day, June 14, 2009
Came back to life after flatlining?
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