I felt the disingenuousness of this explanation as I was giving it. As with most aeronautical enterprises, the devil is in the details. If the engine were to stop running in a sudden and catastrophic way somewhere between the Palos Verdes peninsula-which is a promontory, not a peninsula, by the way-and the island, the Arrow would be hard pressed to glide as much as 9.5 nm from 5,500 feet; and for that matter it might be difficult on a hazy day, if the failure did not occur precisely at mid-channel, to know which way to glide. There are cliffs on both shorelines, and so a desperation forced landing would probably end up in the water anyway; but it would be better to be a hundred yards offshore than several miles. As I learned when I took a course of water survival training preparatory to riding in a Navy jet, I am not that strong a swimmer, especially when fully dressed. For that matter, ditching is a very uncertain enterprise with many hazards of its own. I did not explain any of this to my passengers, who seemed quite unconcerned. What's more, they were right to be unconcerned. The chance that the engine would quit at all, let alone during the tiny slice of time we would spend in the middle of the channel, was infinitesimal-hardly even worth considering.