Plane crashes are a part of life

Sometimes, planes crash.

I never got to fly his plane, but I did get to sit in it once.

It’s a sad event. Trust me.

A friend texted me with details on a small “experimental” plane crash this evening in Lebanon, Tennessee. You can read the story here.

The 50-year-old pilot was pronounced dead when he arrived at the hospital. Somewhere, there are family, friends and fellow pilots suffering a tremendous loss.

I know a little about what they are feeling. Almost 21 months ago, I got my own phone call and heard the words, “Bucky crashed his plane and he didn’t make it.”

Find that story here.

I remember those first few hours like they were yesterday. I remember the disbelief, the shock, the anger, the sadness and ultimately, the overwhelming pressure to make sense of it all.

He was a great pilot, trained by the best with tons of experience. His engine and the rest of the plane were fine. His autopsy came back with no real reasoning for a crash. There was no reasonable answer for his crash or his sudden and tragic death

Bucky Carter was the audio visual director for Caterpillar Financial in Nashville, Tennessee. He was a pilot and the secretary for the Middle Tennessee Ultralight Group. He was the youngest of five kids born and raised in Nashville. He was a friend to many and enemy of none.

He was also someone’s daddy.


That someone was me.

I had only known him exactly seven months, but he made it feel like a lifetime. He and my mom got married on February 14, 2014. His plane crashed and he was pronounced dead in a field in Lebanon, Tennessee on April 12, 2014.

One of my best friend’s dads got to marry my parents on the beach on Valentine’s Day.

That’s 57 days.

That’s also a really sad story about a really sad chapter of my life.

While I will forever be changed my what happened two years ago, I have learned to live a life transformed by the grief instead of being paralyzed by the grief itself.

In fact, he is a key to being successful at my hustle. He inspired me, in both his life and his death, to live every day like it is my last.

Everyone who knew Bucky knew he was the happiest he had ever been in the sky that morning. He loved to fly, but he loved his life so much more. He also knew flying was a lot of hard work.

He had to be safe, but he still had to be courageous too. Every time the plane left the ground, it was an open opportunity to not make it back down safely.

Hustling is a little like flying.

We have to be sure of ourselves in a world of uncertainty.

We have to be steadfast in a world where all kinds of external factors can affect our journey.

We have to be prepared to crash, even if we are doing everything right.

Here’s the thing: If we are truly enjoying our hustle, it shouldn’t matter. And if we are hustling, we should be prepared for crashes.

Being prepared for failure means::

  • Enjoy the hustle. If we are enjoying what we are working hard at, we will bounce back from failure much easier. Make sure you are following your own dreams and not someone else’s. Have you ever heard of a pilot who absolutely hates being in the air? Probably not.
  • Surround yourself with a community. Have people to turn to when the going gets tough and for when you have a question. I am a part of a hustle group right now that is full of 2,500 other people just like me, working on chasing some goal. Pilots are often a part of at least one group of fellow pilots as well. Why? Because we find authenticity with a community of people who are going through the same journey we are.
  • Learn. Surround yourself with experts, read a lot, practice and above858846_10203593362697683_69456339583816200_oall, learn from your failure. In some cases, pilots don’t survive crashes. Most likely, we can bounce back from our failures better than before. If you don’t believe me, remember Michael Jordan and Steve Jobs and their stories.

Plane crashes are a part of pilots’ lives. And failure is a part of the rest of our lives.

Failure isn’t the end, but rather the beginning of a stronger journey.



2 thoughts on “Plane crashes are a part of life

  1. Amazingly astute, Felicia! You have learned from your dad’s death alot about living. Although we never completely stop grieving, we can learn to go on and you have done that. I love your story.


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