Describe Brian's plan to land the plane when it ran out of fuel?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The sequence in question is in chapter 2.  The pilot of the plane has had a heart and has died.  Brian is in control of the aircraft and had been able to make brief radio contact with somebody.  After losing radio contact, Brian tries every ten minutes to raise somebody on the radio.  Throughout that time, Brian debates whether or not to take the plane down to the first clearing that he sees or stay in the air until the plane runs out of fuel.  Brian opts for the latter choice.  His plan is to put the plane into a shallow dive once the fuel runs out.  That will keep his airspeed up and air moving over the control surfaces.  That will give him some lift and rudder control.  While, in the shallow dive, Brian will direct the plane toward the nearest lake.  His plan is to crash the plane into a lake and soften the crash by pulling up at the last second.  That will trade air speed for increased lift, slow him a bit, and hopefully soften the crash landing.  

When the plane ran out of gas he should hold the nose down and head for the nearest lake and try to fly the plane kind of onto the water. That's how he thought of it. Kind of fly the plane onto the water. And just before it hit he should pull back on the wheel and slow the plane down to reduce the impact.

cforest | Student

In Chapter 2 of Hatchet, Brian is faced with a critical decision as a result of the pilot's heart attack: he must find a way to land the plane. Remembering what he has learned about planes in the past and what the pilot taught him before his fatal heart attack, Brian tries to take control of the wheel and rudder of the plane, nosing the plane up so it can resume a steady path. He also attempts to use the radio to request help. In his search for the radio, Brian bumps the pilot, causing the plane to move suddenly. Knowing now that he truly is on his own, he finally finds the radio, but loses a signal before sending a coherent message. Brian decides that he must calm down and figure out a way to land the plane while sending distress calls on the radio every ten minutes. The distress calls goes unanswered, and he is uncertain if he should attempt to land the plane on his own or wait until it runs out of gas. Brian cannot bring himself to voluntarily land the plane until it finally runs out of gas and goes down. Aware that he must avoid trees, Brian tries to guide the plane toward a lake is it goes in for a crash landing.