I am sure most of us can tell stories of “eventful” flights, where almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong, or maybe some really interesting things happened
The Open at St Georges, so a trip to Manston, yes all those years ago. Loaded with the kids, a stunning beautiful day, you know the ones where the air is silky smooth and you wouldnt know you were flying if it was not for the rumble of the engine. Then all of a sudden the aircraft is descending from 4,000 feet. Still silky smooth. Prop. is spinning, manifold and rpm look normal, Ts and Ps all good. A little more power is clearly worth a try. Oh dear, going down a lot quicker now. Engine is at full chat, kids are oblivious to anything untoward, the altimeter is almost tumbling. Sh*t. What to do, where to go, sort of out of options. Left shoulder and there is an airfiled down there. Better sort out setting up for finals. Glance at the altimeter, still rapidly unwinding, now 1,000 feet, aircraft in good and level flight, no apparent control issues, turning onto a tight base. Oh my sh*t, what is happening, the air has suddenly got as rough as a fierce northly blowing from the wicked north, but with much more rapid oscillations, and the altimeter is spinning up faster than it was going down. Through 3,000 feet now, and the kids clearly wondering what the hell is happening. Just thinking about a Pan to alert an imminent bust of CAS, although in those days the fine chaps from GASCo were still in short pants, trying to make sense of quadratic equations (they never did). And then it was all over, silky smooth air, the sun smiling down and I would never have known anything untoward had happened. Totally sureal. All in a days work I guess. Fortunately nothing else went wrong, other than I seem to recall Tiger took 8 out of the rough, and we got to park next to the Tiger jet in the days the main ramp was also still available to GA.
I would love to fy back to Manston for old times sake – lets hope it does become an airport once again.
A long time ago I flew to Carpentras to see a friend who lived nearby. She worked for a holiday company and had an enviable lifestyle with ok pay made up by free accommodation. Winters in the alps, summers in campsites on the côté d’améthyste, and spring & autumn in Provence.
I was running late so had a rushed departure (I was to be picked up from the airport in her lunch break). Flying south, the VOR was being weird, so I eventually gave up using it – it turned out later I’d picked up an older map which showed two VOR beacons which had since been decommissioned.
Following the Rhône was easy, but flying in Provence the fields were yellow, the roads were yellow, the rivers were yellow, the woods were yellow, the towns were yellow. An increasing feeling of uneasiness came over me, and no matter how much I looked outside and at the map I had no idea where I was except roughly halfway between the mountains and the sea. I slowed down and looked around, and kept flying. After a while I was overdue at the destination but still lost. Circled and looked around some more. Literally everything was yellow and unremarkable. It was a very unpleasant sensation. So I swallowed my pride and asked Marseille Info if they could find me. A long pause, and then the very nice lady replied, slightly accusingly, “euh, mais monsieur, vous êtes verticale Carpentras!”
The moral of the story: when lost, try looking directly underneath
I was flying somewhere between Bourne and Royston on the edge of some fluffy cumulus clouds on my right to the east on with the sun on the west to my left, suddenly I see a traffic flashing out of the white cloud dead straight to me, a very close call I would say, I rolled hard to the right, he did almost the same, I pushed the nose down and cut power and then rolled back looking for the bas***d, I can’t see him and he was bloody close, almost killed me, even asked a nearby LARS for traffic service and if they see anything on their screens: Negative!! as things calmed down, I resumed my navigation, then the ash**e taffic was coming straight to me again, this time I decided to look him in the eyes before avoiding, HE WAS ME, MY SHADOW, the sun projection of me on the clouds, rather nice replica of me, same level, same height, speed, converging…
No point telling ATS that I had the traffic in sight this time and I had load of fun crashing against myslef that day !
Moral of the story: don’t fly too close to those white clouds I have another story with flying close to the white cliffs for fun, it end up with some blood on the cowling for the poor bird….
I flew in Namibia for a friend.
The project was to acquire photos on a grid, aka “mowing the lawn”.
I was pretty keen, as this is my field, but I’d never flown the projects from the pilot seat, and never in Africa.
So I was pleased a pig in a puddle.
About 37 lines in, in a tiny $#@% plane and things started going hurly burly.
Here’s why: to fly these missions, you don’t want to roll much on the end of the lines if you can help it, because you want to maintain a very good GNSS lock.
So you slip your way around the corner, fishtale style using mainly rudder…
So, after 37 fishtale turns, and some serious desert bucking, I was woozing out.
I thought, “hey, there’s a little airport 10 miles away! I’ll make a pit stop, release the kraken and then finish this sucker up in no time”
So I promptly bailed on the line and started flying toward the little airport, but it was too late. Fate had me in a death grip, and after staring, mouth watering and trying everything to keep the dam from bursting, I realized the war was lost.
I quickly scrambled for something in the plane while my mouth contained the backpressure from destroying everything in that little humdinger.
I found a little grocery bag and instantly destroyed it with the contents of my human blender…
Now I had a bag of goodness I couldn’t get rid of. It wasn’t sealed on the bottom either, so it was like an hourglass… slowly telling me I had to get rid of it by leaking everywhere as I just looked at it…
Confronted with this new enemy, I quickly opened the passenger door and chucked that baby out the window.
“Yes! I’m not bad at this at all…” I thought as I surveyed the cockpit, only finding a few offending signs of the calamity here and there.
Feeling moderately better, I remembered that I was flying a plane and looked down at my nav app… it summed up the whole experience.
It looked to me like the trail of an animal that had been shot, and was trying to find a good place to die…
I was 2 miles from the airport when I regained control of my life, and might as well have been 2000 miles away, because I didn’t need the services anymore.
Feeling pretty good about how I had handled “the emergency”, I finished the flight and made it back to the home base.
Proud as a cookie at having completed the job and handled the worst scenario, I stepped out of the world’s smallest plane and turned around to lock the door behind me.
And lo, there was all of my pride, streaming down the side of the plane, and dried onto it. A nasty streak of human digestive system, painted like a racing stripe in a rather unappealing color…
45 minutes of scrubbing and washing my new ‘paint job of pride’ sealed the end of my lofty career as an aerial reconnaissance pilot.
Some of the greatest flying I’ve done in my life. Here’s a little story:
The Namibian Handbook of Airfields (IIRC that’s what it’s called) lists all the tiny strips around the country and is indispensable for flying there. So, one day, flying into a lodge called Hobatere (south of Etosha) I looked up the entry and found ‘CAUTION: do NOT leave airplane until ground transportation has arrived, predators in vicinity’. I thought, hmmm, that’s a good one, let’s see. Upon arriving at Hobatere the first issue was not a predator, but rather some prey – a springbok standing right in the middle of the runway. OK, this is Africa, no big deal, fly 10 ft above the runway and chase the little bugger away. Did so – but he came back! Another go, same result. On the third try he was gone so I decided to land. No Springbok to be seen, all good, taxied the plane onto the hard stand and waited. A minute later the lodge owner arrived in a Landrover, we loaded the bags, tied down the airplane and proceeded to drive to the lodge, which is only a couple of hundred meters away.
And there they were: upon exiting the – open – gate of the runway, the local pride of lions was snoozing by the roadside. Trying to walk the invitingly short distance to the lodge might well have not ended well.
I am sure @aeroplus could post some like that
I’ve had a couple of “interesting moments” to do with fuel servo icing but they were very brief, fixed most likely by alternate air. A lot of engines, including curiously the DA42 diesels, will ice up the air duct around -15C and just stop.
I had a long series of disasters on this trip where one thing went wrong after another. It started with a weird Eurocontrol routing problem, back in the bad old days when there were no routing tools apart from a free site built for simmers which did routes that needed lots of hacking; funnily enough it is still up there. That happened on Crete and led to the cancellation of a big chunk of a trip. Then I got well screwed at Padova, who refused me a landing clearance, alleging I did not do customs PPR/PNR (which I absolutely had done) and basically doing this for a laugh, just to show they are in charge. Then I got screwed at Treviso who told me they had avgas but on the ground I just got some weird “you are not in the right masonic lodge” stuff. With just enough fuel to reach Friedrichshafen I refuelled there and had more trouble with routes, laptop battery going flat, Justine not being allowed by police to return to the plane after using the loo, and eventually after flying the last bit at 100% power, landing at Shoreham minutes before they closed.
This happened a few weeks ago. We were doing aerobatics training. When taxiing out to fuel, we passed three very nice small little helicopters with their crew gathering around. All turbines, one Bell 505 from what I could see, and two Robinson. Don’t remember their callsigns, but we discussed it in the cockpit, and we had no idea which country they came from. Croatia, Ukraine? Waved at them, and they waved back, looked like nice guys.
Edit, I think it was UR-XXX, we joked about they came all the way from Uruguay
After fueling we flew out to the area and started the aerobatics, 5000 feet and below over a designated area, ATC being advised. Concentrating on doing the barrel rolls and clover leafs correct, I heard the band of helicopters taking off and heading north. I also heard they where advised that aerobatics flying were taking place in the area we were flying.
Didn’t think much about them, until I was doing a split-s pointing straight down into the rotors of a helicopter, maybe 1500-2000 feet below. My first thoughts were: if I had guns, I could shoot it straight down, ta ta ta ta ta Leveling off and I could see all three, but I am sure they had no clue of me. They continued north, and I continued with my business. Kind of odd behavior though. A formation of 3 helicopters flying straight into the aerobatic “box”. They were low, about 1000-1500, so no real problem since I flew above 2000-2500 feet (aerobatics training rules), but I mean, that was unnecessary.