February – Unusual Experiences

  • Lisa Martin
    Posted at 08:10h, 29 March Reply

    A Wildlife Services Cub pilot/friend warned me about checking the brakes on final when I’ve landed off airport in wet conditions and then flown home, because he had a problem with both freezing and almost nosed over on landing. It just seems like the warnings are so hard to really heed until I actually experience the problem. It was a reminder to try harder to learn from others 🙂

  • Lisa Martin
    Posted at 15:58h, 28 March Reply

    I had a “live-and-learn” just a couple days ago. Coming in to land the AWOS warned of 80* (from left) cross winds @ 3 w/ peak gusts @ 16. I lined up to land on a diagonal to cut about 10* off the crosswind, but a foot off the ground was not having to crab or slip at all and the windsock was hanging. So I landed. Soon as the right wheel touched the airplane dove to the right and the upwind wing started up. I assumed it was a peak gust so corrected with full deflection for wind, but I was still headed off to the right side of the runway and the windsock was not showing that much wind. I got off the runway to the ramp (on the left) with lots of left brake and then it taxied alright back to the hanger, but by then it was clear that the right brake was really sticking. There was so much pressure in the hydraulics that oil was seeping out. The mechanic said, “oh yah, that happens. It’s been so cold and now its warming up that the oil expanded and applied the brake.” Yikes. I don’t know why it only happened to one…but next time I’ll be a little quicker figuring out what’s wrong.

    • Judy Birchler
      Judy Birchler
      Posted at 19:02h, 28 March Reply

      Lisa, that’s a learning experience I don’t want to have! Your brain had to be grasping for an answer after not having to crab and seeing the wind sock just hanging there – then screaming off to the right anyway. Glad you managed to ride it out with a happy outcome. Thanks for letting us all know this can happen in a Super Cub so we’re aware in our own taildraggers. I’ve heard a similar story with an aerobatic biplane.

  • Posted at 00:55h, 02 March Reply

    My most unforgettable flight was in the 182, second solo cross country in “hubby’s” airplane. Made the trip to C08, SilverWest, Colorado, el 8290, 4 hours against 30 kt headwinds, non-stop, hugging the ground for best speed, and though tiring, everything went OK. It was the return trip that was unforgettable. Did my briefing and everything was good except for expected turbulence in the north half of Colorado. That was OK because I was in the south half and headed to Oklahoma. Just as the briefer was finishing up, he said updated forcast was for moderate turbulence just down to my area starting in 2 hours. Still OK as far as I was concerned because I had already preflighted and was ready to go. Winds on the ground were light and variable so I had my choice of which way to take off, so I chose the direction away from rising terrain and off I went. Takeoff was fine, climb was fine, until I hit about 300 agl and everything went to very exciting. Apparently the 14,000′ mountains 4 miles west were already causing some of that turbulence that was forcasted. The flight was literally white-knuckle for me ’cause I kept thinking “hope I don’t break Ken’s airplane!” I don’t usually do this, but I did tune in 121.5 in the second radio. I also kept away from a ridge we usually take a short cut over because the mountain waves were causing 1000 fpm lift and 500 fpm sink even when I tried to counter it. And abrupt thumps were hitting me from every direction raising the wing to what seemed to me an alarming angle. It took more than 100 miles heading west away from the mountains before I could hold altitude within 500 feet. That’s also the first time I had ever informed ATC that I wouldn’t be able to hold altitude because of the conditions. When I finally got out of the mountain influence, I was halfway home on the 3 1/2 hour trip and worn out, but could finally use the auto pilot to take a little of the tension away. When I got close to home and checked the weather at the home airport I was so relieved to hear winds were “only” 22 kts but right down the runway. I wasn’t in the mood to fight a crosswind landing in Ken’s airplane. The good part of the story is that I’ve not had any discomfort with turbulence ever since that flight. Now I know I can handle the really rough stuff and that flight, even though I NEVER want to go through that again, was probably one of the best training exercises I could ever have had.

  • Posted at 11:18h, 01 March Reply

    Judy, your story is so cool! 😀 Hahaha!

  • Judy Birchler
    Judy Birchler
    Posted at 20:01h, 24 February Reply

    Faith, lucky girl getting to fly NY all the way to Portland, and just with the girls, no less. Bet you all had a blast! That’s one lucky guy who had the great luck of having you land and refuel at that moment. As bad as it was, he could have had a whole lot worse day if you hadn’t been there!!

  • Posted at 19:00h, 24 February Reply

    My best string of stories comes from flying cross country, from New York City to Portland, OR, in my 172 (sorry!), with my aunt and her daughter. Three women making quite a stir at FBOs across the country!

    Our most unusual occurence wasn’t flying, it was saving a life on a fuel stop. We landed at a very quiet airport in rural PA, and the only other soul on the field was a guy at the other end of the field trying to get his powered parachute running. While fueling up we happened to look up and see him lose control, and the propeller tore into him – I raced across the field while my aunt called an ambulance. He was in shock but we were able to control the bleeding; I hate to think what would have been had we not come along for fuel at just that time.

  • Posted at 10:45h, 22 February Reply

    My unusual experience (well, one of many) came when I was on my long cross-country flight as a student pilot. I landed at PTK (Pontiac, now Oakland International), got my logbook signature, and taxied out. While I was waiting for takeoff clearance on the taxiway, I looked up and there was an airplane lined up to land ON the taxiway! I moved over towards the hangars, then got scolded by the ground controller for moving without asking permission. When I told him I was getting out of someone’s way, the frequency went silent, and the other plane suddenly pulled up. The ground controller got back to me, and actually thanked me. It was funny, because I was in a club plane, and the pilot had landed on that very taxiway in the same plane the week before.

  • Ray Johnson
    Posted at 10:21h, 20 February Reply

    Awesome story !!

  • Susan
    Posted at 07:58h, 19 February Reply

    Judy — so how’d you get the plane back to an airport??

    • Judy Birchler
      Judy Birchler
      Posted at 18:56h, 19 February Reply

      Oh, that was pretty exciting too. The state police and local sheriff closed the road over the highway so the Luscombe could taxi over by us. Then they closed the highway and the cars waited while we both taxied down the exit ramp, got on the highway and did a Cessna 140/Luscombe formation takeoff!

  • Susan
    Posted at 07:57h, 19 February Reply

    Hahaha… Gayle… there are always a lot more fun retrospectively than at the time! 🙂

  • Posted at 23:47h, 18 February Reply

    What a fun story! Especially that the kid in the Luscombe shared the room with the two of you. I can’t wait for my first unusual flying experience 🙂

  • Posted at 23:02h, 18 February Reply

    WOW! Judy — how crazy is that to have an off airport landing in… “Accident” Maryland… and then have someone else join you!

  • Judy Birchler
    Judy Birchler
    Posted at 17:07h, 18 February Reply

    Made an unexpected landing in Accident, Maryland a long time ago. (No I’m not kidding, that’s the town’s name!) We were flying my 1946 Cessna 140 back to Indiana and the wx didn’t live up to the briefing I received 30 minutes before at Cumberland. The newspaper headline read, “Over the Semi and Through the Snow” after landing on the exit ramp of Hwy 68 at Accident. Did get to spend a lovely 4 days with my boyfriend and the kid that landed 10 minutes later in a Luscombe on the other side of the road. Too crazy – the 3 of us shared a room for 4 days before wx finally cleared in the hills. Oh, the memories~!!~

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