A shake of the aircraft jerked Eric from his thoughts.
The engine sputtered.
He glanced at the gages. His RPM was dropping.
His seat rattled before the engine silenced.
Eric reached for the overhead panel, flipped the ignition knob to its original position and then back to start. Nothing happened.
He flipped on his auxiliary power, watched the gauges, and tried to start the engine again. His fuel level had dropped dangerously low. It didn’t make sense. Despite his rush, he had topped off both fuel tanks before leaving Traverse City.
He pulled up on the yoke to maintain altitude, switched fuel tanks and tried to start the plane again. The engine stammered and slowly came to life.
But only for a moment, not long enough to feel the relief.
Eric drifted through the air in eerie silence, thousands of feet above the water. Now what? His threw his hand to the overhead panel and desperately cranked on the knob, but no matter how many times he tried, he couldn’t restart the engine.
He hit the yoke with his fist.
Sweat beaded on his forehead. He couldn’t think about that, had to focus on the plane. He knew what to do. He’d logged thousands of flight hours. A lifeless engine didn’t have to be a death sentence. He could travel a long distance just by gliding.
Eric searched the instrument panel for his altitude. Eight thousand feet. Rule of thumb, multiply altitude by five to determine minimum gliding distance.
He’d make it at least 40,000 feet before the plane came down. About eight miles.
Eric gawked at the horizon, the moisture sucked from his mouth as if a dental vacuum lay inside. A flash of lightening streaked in the distance.
He was at least twelve miles from shore.
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