When his only engine failed, spraying oil on the heavily fueled Piper Malibu Mirage’s hot exhaust and windshield while flying over the 60-nm-wide Strait of Malacca, Robert DeLaurentis (see photo) knew one of four outcomes would follow: He would crash into the sea and die; he would crash and destroy his aircraft but survive with injuries; he would crash but exit uninjured; or he would land safely. After a tense, 20-mi., dead-stick descent that ended with his tires kissing the runway at ...

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