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Landing Check

I was inspecting communications facilities in Alaska. Since I had little experience in flying in small planes, I was nervous when we approached a landing strip in a snow-covered area. The pilot descended to just a couple hundred feet, then gunned both engines, climbed, and circled back. While my heart pounded, the passenger beside me seemed calm.

"I wonder why he didn't land," I said.

"He was checking to see if the landing strip was plowed," the man said.

As we made a second approach, I glanced out the window. "It looks plowed to me," I commented.

"No," my seat mate said. "It hasn't been cleared for some time."

"How can you tell?" I asked.

"Because," the man informed me, "I'm the guy who drives the plow."

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