Speaking of cheating death... A couple of years ago I was taking lessons in a 172. I took off, and we flew to our normal practice area, no problem. I started with turns around a point, the went to figure eights. Went I banked into the first eight, the plane slowly returned to level flight. The instructor spoke up...right around the same time I announced we had a slight problem. NO aileron control at all. The cable linkage had broken, thanks to crappy maintenance
(found out later). We made it back to the airport
, and because it was a calm day, my instructor decided to try an approach (rudder and elevator only). we got down and lined up OK, so we went for it, and made a beautiful landing, if I do say so myself. That was the first time I ever felt my knees knock. Cheating death indeed!