Picture her in the cockpit of the twin engine Cessna, six miles out from the sunset you see here. Door County Wisconsin. She is 80 years old. Her husband, piloting the plane, is 81. He suffers a medical emergency. He’s unconscious. And this 80 year old Sturgeon Bay woman, whose name has not yet been released, and who has never once flown a plane alone, takes control of the aircraft.
She makes radio contact 6 miles south of Sturgeon Bay. And a second pilot takes off to help fly along side her and guide her in to a safe landing.
An eyewitness describes the woman making repeated attempts to land. Circling Door County’s tiny Cherryland Airport “at least 10 times.”
Finally she brought the plane in, the Cessna hopped twice, the nose gear collapsed, but she held the aircraft steady. Kept it from skidding.
Sheriff Terry Vogel said of what she did, “I think there was a lot of thought and work that went into it.”
She suffered minor injuries. Her husband was pronounced dead.
And in the coming time of grief, of unfathomable sorrow for her husband. In reflecting on that other pilot who took off to help, perhaps not even thinking about it, but just going, because that’s what people do. In the quiet rhythms cascading over the water at sunset in Door County Wisconsin, if you listen real hard, you can hear echoes of a far off trumpet play for this picture of grace in the skies.
A trumpet plays like a quiet sunset, a song called “It Might As Well Be Spring.”