At 3:35 p.m., Lanny and Mary took off from Tangier, according to the NTSB.
Within 10 minutes, they had climbed to 2,000 feet and "were just settling in for the return," when the plane's only engine went quiet.
A life in the air
Lanny had bought the antique Swift around the time of his marriage in 2005.
Allison Ross — soft-spoken, tall and blond — is a military nurse and an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic, licensed to repair and overhaul most aircraft components. She helped bring the Swift back to life.
"I'd work all week, and then I'd have a plane to repair," Allison said. "We'd be out there all day working on it. It was like an old car; we refurbished it."
After four years and much expense, the couple had a pristine "bird," as Lanny calls it.
They had the exterior repainted white, with red accents. Photos show a gleaming metallic grille and a propeller with visible wood grain, both unblemished. The cockpit was enclosed with unspoiled glass.
For Lanny, the Swift was a pleasant diversion that allowed him to continue a lifelong dream of flying.
Lanny announced to his parents at age 12 that he wanted to join the Air Force, his father said. And in 1978, at age 15, he and a friend rode their bicycles from Washington state to Washington, D.C., so Lanny could introduce himself to his representatives in Congress and prime them for military academy recommendations. He wanted to prove that he could finish what he'd started.
"Lanny went away a little boy and came back a young man," the father said.
Lanny graduated from the Air Force Academy in the mid-1980s and was on active duty for seven years. He flew during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Just Cause, the invasion of Panama. He's been a full-time reservist since the mid-'90s and works as an Air Reserve technician, planning routes and training crews in case of nuclear attack.
Before the accident, he was scheduled to deploy to Iraq during the last week of October. His unit is supporting the troop withdrawal.
"Lanny, he's through-and-through a pilot," Allison said. "All he wants to do is fly."
Miles from shore
As the Swift's engine stalled, Lanny heated the carburetors first, thinking that they might have iced up. Still no rumble.
He checked the instruments, changed the fuel mixture to rich and activated the fuel boost pump.
He set the glide speed at 80 mph and called a mayday to Patuxent Approach, the air traffic controller for the area, which is run by the Navy. There was no time to turn back to Tangier, he told the controller. The better option was to get as close as possible to the land off to their right.
Already they were down to an altitude of 1,200 feet when Lanny veered the plane to the right. He hoped the 40 mph tail wind would push them a bit farther toward solid ground.