Flying a small Cessna 150 through southern Utah is much like getting all cozy in a little Radio Flyer with wings; there isn't much room to stretch your legs, and there certainly isn't an in-flight beverage service. On this trip, I was out and about for a little bit of joyriding and sightseeing. What I didn't expect was to race a thunderstorm back home. I knew the forecast had called for some unpleasant weather later in the evening, but I didn't expect a lightning show with me up at 10,000 feet. Needless to say, I cut things short and made a bee-line back home. I could see the storm was outpacing me, as most things do in a small Cessna, and it was all I could do to keep from having the turbulence throw me around like an old rag doll. That's when things got exciting!
The electrical system decided to choose that moment to go on the fritz. The cockpit and instrument lights are on a single fuse, and this fuse decided to give in then and there. Changing a fuse during normal conditions isn't too much of a challenge, but when you're racing a thunderstorm home, it isn't what you want to find yourself doing. I always carry my Surefire E2D LED Defender® with me when flying, as this light is perfect for doing pre-flight checks. I knew exactly where it was, and I went straight for it. The low-output setting was everything I needed and not a lumen too much. Without that light, I wouldn't have been able to keep track of my instruments, and with too much light, I would have blinded myself in the small cockpit.
Needless to say, I made a makeshift fixture for it between my teeth and used it to get home safely. Prior to that moment, my E2D LED Defender was always just an accessory; after my storm-fleeing flight, it became a necessity and a safety net.