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Thread: Any unusual experiences in flying. (real life)

  1. #31

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    Whilst learning to fly in Nairobi Kenya, I was doing solo touch & go's in a Cessna F152 Aerobat & whilst on the downwind leg I noticed a Marabou Stork (A huge bird, with a wingspan of 7.5 to 9.5 feet) soaring above & directly in front of me & before I could turn to avoid being directly below it, it suddenly swooped downwards, I immediately went to full throttle & pulled the nose up & luckily it passed below me. Needless to say I was a little shaken by this experience.

  2. #32

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    I was just cruising along at about 2500 feet one morning when a Lear jet shot passed me about 500 feet off my left wingtip. I was nowhere near another airport, and basically just out over flat farmland. The sun hadn't burned off all the morning haze yet and he just appeared out of thin air. I made sure I turned on every light I had after that, even landing lights. Also picked up my visual scanning.
    Another time about the same situation when I started to see large, black lumps flashing passed my right wing. I had flown under a small group of red tailed hawks who were NOT happy that I was invading their airspace.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hossfly68 View Post
    I was just cruising along at about 2500 feet one morning when a Lear jet shot passed me about 500 feet off my left wingtip. I was nowhere near another airport, and basically just out over flat farmland. The sun hadn't burned off all the morning haze yet and he just appeared out of thin air. I made sure I turned on every light I had after that, even landing lights. Also picked up my visual scanning.
    Another time about the same situation when I started to see large, black lumps flashing passed my right wing. I had flown under a small group of red tailed hawks who were NOT happy that I was invading their airspace.
    WOW! I know how fast regular GA aircraft zip by in the distance!
    That Lear must have really zipped by. No TCAS or ADS-B at that time!
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  4. #34
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    Well, since this thread is back, should I mention the time I lost the tip of one prop blade, or perhaps when the throttle cable came loose at full throttle and I had to land, or maybe the time I was doing a loop in a Stearman and about 3/4 of the way through the pitch quit increasing?

    I'll do the latter, for now. The solution was simple, and came to me in a moment. What happened was that I added a little too much back pressure pulling out of the loop, so the Stearman stalled (mighty gentle, no buffet, no nothin'), so I just relaxed the back pressure a little and the nose started coming up again. No biggie, given the results, but if I hadn't recognized what happened the pitch attitude could have stayed the same all the way to the ground -- not good, coulda ruined my whole day. A very (for the aircraft) high speed stall, confirming what they say, namely that you can stall any aircraft in any attitude at any speed.

    Larry N.

    As Skylab would say:
    Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

  5. #35
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    Another time about the same situation when I started to see large, black lumps flashing passed my right wing. I had flown under a small group of red tailed hawks who were NOT happy that I was invading their airspace.
    When I was a kid, just learning to fly in gliders, we used to actually look for the hawks. Where they soar, we could soar!
    There had been gliders in Calistoga for so long, the hawks were used to them, and didn't mind sharing the airspace.
    Once I had solo'd, I would go soar the ridge lift off to the east. There was a pair of hawks that lived on the cliffs. They would come out sometimes as I was soaring along. Get right up next to the cockpit, and look in at me. Then they would peel off. I learned, by them repeating this, they actually wanted me to follow them. We would chase each other all over the place. They even taught me how to do some maneuvers. Loops, barrel rolls, and so on. I just had to figure out how to move the controls to get the plane to do what the hawks did. Or wanted me to do. And avoid the cliffs at the same time. Really made me pick up my outside scan, believe me!
    Those hawks cheated, too. When they got tired, or bored, of playing, they would zoom in and land on the cliff. Almost caught me with that little trick a few times. Gliders don't land on vertical cliffs worth a darn!

    Thanks to the hawks, I firmly believe they saved my life, too. I was orbiting over the little racetrack at the fair grounds near the glider port, going slow, trying to loose altitude so I could enter the pattern. Not so easy in a glider! Anywho, I was watching the cars on the track, practicing for that night's race. I looked up, and there was a tow plane with a glider on right in front of me. I just flipped the plane inverted and PULLED, hoping like heck it was in time to avoid the tow plane. Thankfully it was...
    It scared the living crap out of me. I managed to get back into a normal flight regime, made the pattern and landed. I ran into the shack where we had the radio once I got down and parked, and yelled and screamed into the mike for a while. Here's a 14 year old kid yelling at an experienced tow pilot over the radio. I finally wound down, and was outside, shaking and smoking (yeah, I started smoking way early), when he landed. He was most apologetic. Good man, he really was. Later I felt bad about yelling at him.
    If the hawks hadn't taught me how to maneuver properly, along with my Instructor, of course, there would have been at least two dead people that day. At least. If the glider on tow hadn't broken off as soon as we hit, he would have been pulled down too.

    Anywho, that's my unusual flight story.
    Pat☺

    Had a thought...then there was the smell of something burning, and sparks, and then a big fire, and then the lights went out! I guess I better not do that again!
    Sgt, USMC, 10 years proud service, Inactive reserve now

  6. #36
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    Pat, you reminded me of an incident I'd almost forgotten. Back in the '70s at Albuquerque's Coronado Airport (4AC, it's in FSX, closed, and now defunct), I towed gliders for Pegasus Aerial Sports. We had a SGS2-32 and a SGS2-33, and towed part of the time with a leased C-182, but more of the time with a leased C-180 (sweet ship).

    Coronado had two runways, 17-35 and 03-21 (and a taxiway that doubled as a short 08-26). Normal operation was on 17-35, and we operated the gliders off of 03-21, tying the gliders down at the approach end (in the dirt overrun) of rwy 21. The runway was slightly uphill in the 03 direction (reminding me of another incident involving FAA examiners -- another time).

    This particular day I was towing a student soloing in the 2-32 with the C-180 towplane. Takeoff was normal, but a very few hundred feet in the air he lost sight of me (towplane) and climbed a bit faster than I did. Unfortunately, this pulled my tail up, regardless of what I tried to do with the controls, so after a few seconds I had no choice but to pull the release (else both of us would be on the ground in the wrong place).

    Thankfully he had the good sense (and enough altitude) to do a 180 and land in the opposite direction, so no one (and no airplane) was hurt.

    Larry N.

    As Skylab would say:
    Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

  7. #37
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    This particular day I was towing a student soloing in the 2-32 with the C-180 towplane.
    That's the bird I solo'd in, 2 weeks after I started training. I "challenged" ground school, and passed with a 95%, so it was all just the flight time I needed. I worked as the line-boy at the airport, 4 hours work=1 hour dual time, or 2 hours solo.
    I busted my tail, and Calistoga is hot in the summer, let me tell you.
    I had a great instructor, named Goldie, older gentleman. He had a yardstick, so he could reach over and smack me in the head when I really messed up He did, too. For those 2 weeks I had a sore head nearly every day, but the instruction sank in pretty fast.

    They had 3 2-32's, a 2-33 they gave tours in, as it held 2, snugly, in the back seat. Last, but not least, they had a 126. Mid wing, single seat, agile little plane! The hawks loved to see me show up on the cliffs in it.
    Second worst flight I ever had in it was one afternoon, pretty late, I was just out, lovin' life flying, and getting time under my harness, so to speak. Suddenly I see a tow plane, no glider on, coming fast up behind, well about my 4 o'clock. They formed up on my wing, and the pilot started gesturing out the door. I didn't understand what he was trying to "say", until he gestured for me to follow him. So I did, and they took off for the airport, pretty fast. I had to keep the nose down pretty hard to keep up.
    I got on the ground, and put the glider in it's parking spot. They landed after me, and when I had secured the glider properly, they came running over. They (the tow pilot, and Goldie, who was riding shotgun with him), popped the canopy, and leaned in, talking real quietly to each other.
    They finally called me over, lifted the seat, and pointed. NO ballast at all.
    I was a scrawny little...guy...so I needed a fair amount of ballast to fly the 126. And there was none in there. There HAD been when I had preflighted, but I had to go help launch a few planes after, before I could go up.
    Turned out some guy had planned on taking the 126 up, and had pulled the ballast out, before he went to shack to rent it. Once he got there, they told him I was going to take it up, so he just left. Did he put the ballast back in?? Naaaaaahhhh.

    It might, if I had stalled the plane, or tried spin practice, or whatever, have been unrecoverable, with no ballast in it. I got REAL lucky that day! I was really glad Goldie saw the ballast in it's storage area as he went by. It was a royal pita for me to lug it over to the glider every time, too. At least when I started working there. The longer I was there, the lighter the ballast plates got. amazing effect!
    Needless to say, from then on, that was the last thing I checked before I climbed in. Every time!

    Have great flights all!
    Pat☺

    Had a thought...then there was the smell of something burning, and sparks, and then a big fire, and then the lights went out! I guess I better not do that again!
    Sgt, USMC, 10 years proud service, Inactive reserve now

  8. #38
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    ...so I needed a fair amount of ballast to fly the 126. And there was none in there.
    That could have ruined your whole day...

    Larry N.

    As Skylab would say:
    Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

  9. #39

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    Pretty interesting stories. Reading about the hawks were interesting. It's analogous to how dolphins swim with boats or divers I guess. In this sense, it sounds like the hawks are just as smart.

    That's pretty damn amazing about the ballast incident. It's as if you won the lotto of flight that day seen as how you'd do barrel rolls and what not.
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  10. #40
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    That's pretty damn amazing about the ballast incident. It's as if you won the lotto of flight that day seen as how you'd do barrel rolls and what not.
    Thankfully, the instructors intercepted me before I got to the cliffs, and my feathered friends. Plus, that they figured out a 14 y/o kid had NO experience in hand signals. I am pretty sure that Goldie, my main instructor, was former military. HE knew all the hand signals, but hadn't taught them to me. He sure made sure I knew them after that!
    Once I figured out they wanted me on the ground ASAP, they took off at a pretty steep descent, and I followed them, thus keeping the nose down, and speed up. Best possible flight regime for the situation. They peeled off when I turned on final to the airport, and I had to keep the nose down, and speed up from then on, because the pattern speed was 65 kts.

    It's analogous to how dolphins swim with boats or divers I guess. In this sense, it sounds like the hawks are just as smart.
    I sure think they're smarter than we give them credit for. After having parrots for a long time, I am still constantly surprized at the intelligence they display. I think the hawks and so forth are right up there with them.
    I did get to swim with a pod of dolphin when I was down in Panama, working on a charter fishing boat. We pulled into a nice little cove for the night, after a long day of no fish .
    I looked, and the water was so clear, you could see the bottom, like it was 10 feet deep. It was 200 feet, actually. After dark, I looked overboard, and all the fish down below were covered in green fire. I thought it was so neat, I stripped down and jumped in, swimming, diving, anything to make the green fire cover my body. It was incredible. Suddenly a pod of dolphin came swimming into the cove, frolicing and playing, like dolphin do.
    Amazing sight, all these dolphin arrowing under and around, and leaping up, all covered in cold green fire. I did my best to keep up with them, but humans are just not really anything compared to them. They didn't seem to care, swimming around me, brushing up against me, making all kinds of calls I could hear when I was under the surface, just having a good time with their new toy. Me.
    I just couldn't believe the water was a deep as the boss had said, so I took some good, deep breaths, and down I went, the dolphin still playing around me. I was a scuba diver, and had done a lot of free diving, so I honestly thought I could make it. I went down until I really started needing air, suddenly realizing I had made a big mistake. I looked up, and I couldn't hardly see the surface. No mask, no fins, nothing. I started up, but there came a point I was starting to get dark closing in. I knew I was going to drown due to my own stupidity. Suddenly, one of the dolphin came up under me and PUSHED. We made it to the surface before I passed out, thankfully. And thanks to the dolphin.
    I was done swimming for the night, and got out after that. The dolphin played around for a while longer, but eventually, the green fire started to fade out. The pod all gathered and shot out of the cove and vanished into the ocean. I never saw them again, but I will never forget the night of green fire.
    I am convinced the dolphin knew I was in trouble, somehow, and chose to help. Yeah, they're intelligent. Yet, we keep murdering them in huge numbers, so we can get the other sea creatures we want. But the dolphin saved my life. That's not only intelligent, but their level of forgiveness is just incredible to me.

    Sorry, I'm rambling again. I shut up now....
    Pat☺

    Had a thought...then there was the smell of something burning, and sparks, and then a big fire, and then the lights went out! I guess I better not do that again!
    Sgt, USMC, 10 years proud service, Inactive reserve now

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