Hatchet begins with Brian flying as the only passenger on a small bush plane. With no one to talk to other than the pilot, Brian starts thinking. Naturally, his thoughts turn to the greatest distress in his life at the moment. His parents are getting a divorce. Brian is devastated by this. The divorce is upending his once-stable life. As might be expected, Brian has found himself in the middle of his parents' ugly separation process, and he hates it. He hates the yelling and the fighting. He hates the conversations with lawyers. He feels like his entire life is falling apart. Most of all, Brian hates that he has a terrible secret to keep. Brian knows about his mother's infidelity, which has caused the divorce.
This is almost too much for Brian to bear. Although he has already shed many tears over the situation, he forces himself to hold them back now. He does not want the pilot sitting beside him to see him crying. However, the pilot may have noticed Brian's emotional state, and he attempts to connect with him by explaining some of the airplane's controls and letting him fly the plane for a bit. It is this lesson that likely saves Brian's life when he is forced to make a crash landing.