Chapter 2 Summary

Brian is initially paralyzed by fear in the moments after he realizes the seriousness of his situation. Although the plane is flying on its own for now, Brian knows that eventually he will have to do something, but he does not know what to do. He reaches toward the pilot, remembering vaguely about CPR, but he does not know exactly how to do it, and it is impossible to maneuver in the cramped quarters of the Cessna anyway. Brian places his hand on the pilot’s chest but can detect no heartbeat or breathing; he is almost certain that the man is dead.

The plane encounters some turbulence, and Brian feels its nose dip downward. Knowing that if it continues to fly at this angle, the plane will soon hit the trees, Brian puts his hands on the control wheel and his feet on the rudder pedals, trying to recall from his brief lesson how to get the plane back on track. After a period of trial and error, Brian manages to steady the plane, then he tries to figure out what he should do next.

Brian studies the dials on the plane’s dashboard but finds them confusing, “a jumble of numbers and lights.” He then remembers the radio. Taking the headset gingerly from the pilot’s head, he places it on his own and positions the small microphone in front of his mouth. Pressing the switch on the microphone as he had seen the pilot do in his final moments, Brian speaks into it but hears no response. Terror overtakes him, and he begins to scream over and over, “Help! Somebody help me! I’m in this plane and don’t know...don’t know....”

In the midst of his panic, a thought comes to Brian. He remembers having used a CB radio in his uncle’s truck once and recalls that he had to switch the mike off in order to hear anyone else. Releasing the switch, he hears a faint voice through the noise and static. Brian manages to communicate his situation to the speaker, who asks for his flight number and location. Frustrated because he does not...

(The entire section is 666 words.)