But the little airplane glided in perfectly. It was the most beautiful landing of the day: no broken back, no propellers in the cockpit, not even a damaged landing gear.
The bright-eyed optimist might have won that day, but I still believe a moderate dose of brooding introspection is healthy. As soon as you bring a helicopter to a hover and see how it takes both of your hands and feet to keep it from slamming into the parking pad, you begin every flight preparing for the worst.
Iraq war veteran Darisse Smith is an account executive with Alliance International, a firm that recruits junior military officers.