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Hood's Winks – Flight plan causes loss of sleep (Aug. 12, 2015 issue)

This story happened 43 years ago, so maybe it’s safe to tell it.
In 1972 I was a very inexperienced pilot. Wife Gail and I lived in Athens, GA, with three children, (two toddlers and a one-month-old infant)! You get the picture?
I had a nighttime meeting in Cartersville, GA, to which I was flying myself in a tiny, rental aircraft. For good reason, I had not mentioned to Gail that my plans were to fly. She had heard or read that night flying was much more dangerous than daytime flying and I saw no reason to burden her with the details.
My flight plan was filed with the FAA. Just shy of Cartersville I closed, by radio, the flight plan with Atlanta Approach Control.
My return flight plan was filed by phone with the FAA. To my surprise, they accusingly asked where I’d been. That’s when I found out that Atlanta Approach Control had not—repeat, not—closed my flight plan at all! We cleared that detail up and the flight home was smooth, peaceful and beautiful.
Now, as Paul Harvey would say, here’s “The rest of the story.”
During my absence, Gail had received a telephone call from the FAA, and their first words were to ask, “Did you have a husband named Ralph Hood?” She stammered, “Y-yes?” They explained that I was missing, but not to worry.
That is when everything hit the fan. Gail, convinced that I was dead, called her father, he came over, and they held a wake for me as they sat by the phone. Eventually, the FAA called back to say that I had been found and was okay.
I did not know about any of this but I quickly found out. I reached the house rather late, undressed in the dark and crawled into bed.
Every man who has been married will understand the next sentence immediately.
Somehow, it felt like I was sharing the bed with a railroad crosstie. I can’t describe that feeling, but can recognize it when it happens.
After a few minutes, Gail—who I had assumed was sound asleep—asked, “Is there anything you want to tell me?” It was now my time to stammer. “Uh, n-no,” I answered (and that was the absolute truth).
There was an explosion. In one movement she hurled the covers off, leapt from bed, turned on the light, and gave me unmitigated hell, listing my significant shortcomings one by one, further explaining that I obviously didn’t love her or the children or I wouldn’t have risked my life flying at night.
That was more than four decades ago. We are still married, but it was nip and tuck for awhile that night.