Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wacked out Wednesday! Thank God for Guardian Angels

My brother is a pilot and mechanic who buys and restores older planes. He had a rather harrowing experience last week while flying an older plane that left him and his wife a little shaken. Read his description and then take a look at the pictures below! Gasp!

There we were, In a 1954 Cessna 180, 1500’ eastbound over the second narrows
bridge in Vancouver, (BC) just clearing the Harbour control zone. We were on our way back from a nice lunch at a restaurant on the beach at Gilles Bay, Texada Island
with some friends.

Suddenly I noticed a seabird ahead. It was a cormorant; A sea
bird that is normally found on or under the water or flying low. I said to Pauline,
my wife, “What’s a cormorant doing way up here?” We were on converging courses,
and he was slightly higher than us, so I descended slightly to increase the
margin. He started to descend also, so I increased my rate of decent and yelled
“Watch where you are going!” With that he dove abruptly and we hit with a loud
bang. The windshield was immediately covered almost 100% with the remains of the
bird and his last meal. (which I later found out to be herring) The cowl doors
were blown open and damaged. I informed the Harbour tower of my situation and
told him I would divert to Pitt Meadows airport since it was slightly closer
than Langley, and had wider and longer runways more suitable for a blind
landing. He gave them a call to give them a heads up and shortly I switched to
them and headed directly towards Pitt Meadows. They asked if I needed any
emergency services and I said “Not likely, but let’s see how the landing turns
out.” I was cleared straight in but couldn’t see ahead so requested and was
granted an angled approach so I could see out the lower corner of the windshield
for the approach. I descended to just over the threshold and then straightened
it out, and then completed the landing using my peripheral vision on the sides
of the runway only. It wasn’t too difficult actually. My time flying the Tiger
Moth at the museum was a benefit since you fly that plane from the rear seat
with your passenger and engine ahead. Anyway, I have a bit of work to do fix the
upper cowl again. We just finished a major restoration of this airplane last
spring. Enjoy the photo attached, and keep an eye out for those suicidal birds!

Living a Lifestyle of Learning daily