"Go around!" yelled my flight instructor.
There was twentyscary knots of stiff crosswind, gusting to twentyterrifying, but I had penned in 39 proud hours in my flight log, and I had this landing in the bag.
When I said "in the bag" just then, well, perhaps I should qualify slightly. The PA-28 Warrior we were flying was at a metric shit-load of crab angle, we were, oh, a good 150 feet too high for the stage of extreme final we were at, and overspeed as well. The grass strip we were landing on somewhere in rural New South Wales was narrow, but it was pretty long. I figured I'd put her down somewhere in the middle of the strip and hope the grass wasn't too slippery.
Like I said. In the bag.
I may not have mentioned that "Go around!" is one of the two instructions that brook no negotiation during any landing of any aircraft, especially during the thrilling process of learning to fly. The correct response to any call of "Go around!" at any stage of the landing process, from one's instructor, or indeed from the control tower, has basically two steps:
Step 1. Apply full power.
Step 2. Go the fuck around.
Go around can be called if there really is danger in proceeding with the landing being attempted, or if the flight instructor wants you to pretend that there is. There's no "Did you say 'Go around' or were you talking about that great Indian restaurant 'Goa Round'?" The other instruction, in case you're wondering, is "Taking over!" -- which is "instructor speak" (or co-pilot speak) for "You're about to kill us both!" -- and the only possible response is "Handing over!" after which you do.
But I had 39 hours, and was, as a direct consequence, completely immortal.
"I'll get it in!" I said, bravely.
"Go around!" yelled my flight instructor, not yelling "Taking over!" which is why I shall love him forever.
If I supply you with a single extra fact -- I now hold a private pilot's license -- you really have all you need to know that I immediately applied full power, and went the fuck around. There was silence in the cockpit until we were back in the "quiet" part of the circuit (pre-landing checks done, engine low, just before the turn-in) and then I had to speak.
"I would have got it in," I said.
"True," said my flight instructor, "but you've got to do it with a bit of bloody style!"
I think there's something in that for all of us.