On a Sunday morning in March a 150-hour private pilot, 61 years old, and his wife went for a short flight in a rented Cherokee Warrior. It was a nice blue-sky day. The nearest weather reporting point, 20 miles to the south, was calling the visibility 10 miles — which meant, for all practical purposes, unrestricted — with a few scattered clouds scudding along at 3,600 feet. Though the first day of spring was still around the corner, the temperature was an unseasonable 77 degrees. A blustery wind was blowing: 16 gusting to 23, with a peak gust of 28 knots. There would be some bumps — but it would surely be a fine day for flying.