Monday, April 15, 2024

Marty and Max: Lucky

| January 20, 2023 1:00 AM

On my first flight, Mad Dog, a legend in aviation, guided me while holding the map open across the windshield blocking his view. I briefly looked down to check my instruments and when I looked back up through my windshield, my gaze was met by a pilot with a blonde mustache and Ray Bans who was leveling his twin-engine plane directly in front of me. Immediately, I slammed the plane into a nose dive while his propeller and wing nearly grazed our windshield. Mad Dog was screaming on the radio “YOU BLEW YOUR AIRSPACE!” I asked him if any other airplanes had ever been that close to him in the air. He replied, “Not that I know of.” He was one cool cucumber. It was close enough that when we landed we were inspecting our plane for damage.

We flew on to McAllen, Texas, to purchase my Twin Engine Cessna 310K. This day was supposed to be an exciting milestone and at this time all the fun had done run out. Mad Dog did not take over and although my nerves were shot, I was the left seat pilot for the day whether I wanted to be or not.

On our trip home, we crossed the final mountain range and were ready to land. I pulled the switch for the landing gear and the gear lights were all three red — meaning we either had bad lights, or we had no landing gear. Not a gamble either of us wanted to take. I called my bride, who was teaching Awana’s that night, and asked her to drive to the end of the 35 runway, park facing the opposite end, watch as we approached and flash the car’s lights three times if there was no landing gear, and once if we had landing gear. She said “WHAT?” and then I lost signal.

Mad Dog instructed me to switch seats with him, and I said, “WHAT?!” He bluntly responded that the insurance company would pay more if he was the left seat pilot when we crashed. We approached the airport and my bride flashed her lights twice. As it turned out we had landing gear, but it was only halfway down. On impact they would either fold up, skid and cause a crash, or lock down, roll and allow us to land safely. We spent some time burning off fuel and as I looked down I could see a line of cars heading to the airstrip and a crowd forming on both sides of the runway. Mad Dog had me climb into the back seat and he killed the engine and bumped the prop in hopes of saving the prop. As we neared the runway the nose was high, the wheels were dangling and the prop was dead. On impact the back two wheels locked in as we rode a wheelie. The crowd flocked to the plane as we came to a near stop and as the front end came down, the crowd caught the front of the plane, locked the gear and gently set us on the runway. Not a scratch. When I got out of the plane, I kissed the ground and was thereafter called by my new nickname "LUCKY.”

Truth is, most anybody can fly and land in good weather and clear skies. As the challenges increase, and the weather decreases, this is where experience is essential. Kobe Bryant’s pilot had more than 8,500 hours of flight time, but less than 70 hours in instrument/bad weather flying and many of those hours were simulated.

Locally, tens of millions of dollars in real estate offers have failed to close last year due to failed due diligence, water, sewer and missed timelines. In flying, you don’t have a problem until the wheels leave the runway. Likewise in real estate, most deals don’t start falling apart until after both the offer and acceptance. Do ya feel lucky? When times get tough it is paramount to have the peace of mind to partner with a Mad Dog that will keep you safe in the worst of situations. You never know when the real estate skies will darken or when you will have a crisis that requires a seasoned pro or your luck may just run out.

• • •

Marty Walker, RE/MAX In Action, is a licensed real estate professional and paid consultant resulting in the sale of hundreds of homes. He can be contacted at or visit This column provides general information and does not know your specific circumstances. For specific situations, contact a licensed professional.


Courtesy image