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What is your best personal story about a flying expereince?

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StarJar

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OK here is the thread you all have been waiting for. Please tell us your most memorable flying experience. It could be a near catastrophe, or even something funny that happened. Or just a really cool experience you had flying.
('Mile high' experiences need not be included.:speechles)

Who wants to be brave and go first?

Weird Advice: If you use your second-best story, it's easier to top someone else's story later.:gig:
 
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StarJar

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Well I waited several hours and no stories, so here's mine.
My most memorable flying experience:
When I was 18, I met a guy at the airport. Actually he had the hanger across the way, from where I was building my first Experimental. He was interested in the project, so he often walked over to check out how it was going.
One day he came over and asked me if I wanted to set a world record with him. At 18, I didn't think twice. He was going to land at the most airports, in daylight hours in his Cessna 421.
Anyway the day came, and we took off before sunrise, and headed from Pomona CA to the Central Valley, where he had plotted on a sectional, zig zag lines, going to150 airports.
I was the chart holder, and extra set of eyes. It was really crazy, because once the sun came up, we were landing at a new airport about every 5 minutes, for hours on end.
It was very challenging trying to find each airport. Some were dirt or grass.
The part that really stands out in my mind was when we were looking for an airport called "Johnson Ranch". We turned and circled but could not find it. Then he saw a strip of bare dirt, that he thought, must be the airport.
He angled away, to set up an approach. I was never convinced it was an airport, so I looked closely when we were headed for the 'threshold'. He was trying to touchdown short, because it was a pretty short patch of real estate.
As we came to the edge of the dirt, we were about 25 feet AGL. I looked directly down and I saw large rocks the size of basketballs passing under the wing. With reactions that only an 18 year old can have I grabbed his shoulder, and shook it, and said, "There's rocks, big rocks". He levelled out and applied full power. About that time, a 4-foot-high embankement, with moto-cross tracks, passed under the wing, that we also hadn't seen.
We were happy to leave the area and concentrate on the next airport.
He landed at 124 airports, before he just got too exhuasted. We blew-off the last 1.5 hours, and headed home.
He was a sergeon and we became pretty good friends. Once when I didn't have a job, he let me work at the his hospital, to get me through some hard times. He passed away, in about 2005 of natural causes. The record held for several years untill someone in Texas beat it.
 
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Lucrum

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* Got struck by lightning, only made some pin holes in the tail and 1 wing tip
* Flown 2 types of jets on 3 occasions with no nose wheel steering due to hydraulic system failures
* One inflight engine shut down due to low oil pressure.
* A very near mid air collision in the pattern.
* Saw 0.98 mach indicated, 0.95 mach true (Mmo was .87)
* Aborted a T.O. in a Beech 58 due to inability to rotate. Turns out the nose trim was full nose down. I stopped just feet from the end of the runway.
* Experienced a 200 kt headwind
* Approaching London late one evening after crossing the N Atlantic we were informed all the airports were zero/zero
* As an SIC landed at a dedicated uncontrolled naval base by mistake. On short final I commented this didn't look right. Captain elected to land anyway.
* Touched down at 165 kts ias in a Cl-60 while practicing a no flap landing
* Over flew destination airport and the coast line by at least 15 nm due to faulty VLF equipment. Even though under IFR and radar contact the controller never said a word.
* Witnessed a rocket launch from the Cape while cruising at high altitude
* In a 58 Baron there was so much ice accumulation. Even at takeoff power I was still decelerating in level flight
* Also in a 58 Baron cockpit door popped open during a night T.O., from a runway with no lights. Couldn't return obviously so continued on to destination. Did I mention it was winter?
* Watched another pro pilot crash a Falcon 10 simulator 6 times in a row doing inadvertent TR deployments on T.O.
* During a 300 kt ias / 1500 fpm climb we experienced a clear air turbulence phenomenon around 15,000'. Our climb rate violently dropped to zero and we lost 50 kts ias
* During a sim session I was given an approach to landing micro burst that this particular plane cannot fly out of. Even though I was expected to crash short of runway. I managed to successfully land it on the runway. Supposedly the only time it had been done.
 

StarJar

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Wow Lucrum, nice list. I never knew...
Some pretty knarly, and wild experiences. I can see how such things make a pilot wiser.
The door popping open. Gees, what a prolonged awkward experience!
An amazing list.
Thanks for contributing!
 

fly2kads

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Justin, TX
I had the honor of assisting with one of my late mother in law's final wishes: scattering her ashes from the air. We rented the only C172 available that day, an older one that was a refurb in progress. It was mechanically sound, but looked like crap, with ratty paint and no carpeting/interior. My brother in law was PIC, I handled the ashes, and my then 5 year old son rode along in the back. As we flew down the length of a nearby lake, I held the bag out the open window and let her take her final flight. I quickly discovered that there is a narrow range of distance from the fuselage where one should make such disbursement. Too far away, and it's hard to keep a firm grip and maintain control. Too close in, and the ashes get sucked right back into the cabin. My son was soon wearing his dearly departed grandmother, along with a rather startled expression! The entire rear cabin was also coated in a fine layer of ash. After I found the "sweet spot," the remainder of the mission went quite smoothly. We decided we couldn't return the aircraft as-is, so we landed at another airport nearby, and discreetly brushed off my son and cleaned out the interior. We were rather grateful for the absence of carpeting! We did the best we could, but I suspect that, in some small way, my mother in law is still riding around in that 172.
 

StarJar

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That experience would be hard to ever forget. Well, her ashes were scattered, as she wished, and in a rather diverse way.
Thanks for contributing.
It may also help others, someday, faced with a similar duty.
 

autoreply

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*Formation flight with a B25 (in a sailplane). Unbelievable how loud that thing is.
*Intercept by two Mirage 2000N's. (Practise for them). Same sound issue as above.
*A 200 km (125 mile) final glide in absolutely still air. Incredible, you are just flying on for over 90 minutes, no power, no turbulence or thermals, nothing.
*400 km/h ground speed, while being below maneuvering speed (200 km/h IAS).
*Seeing over 2000 fpm of sink, while trying to cross a ridge-saddle with maybe 50 ft of clearance in the end...
*Going out over the sea (thermals in autumn) and turning around seeing nothing but sea until past the horizon. (50 km from the nearest land)
 

StarJar

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Sounds like some breathtaking experiences in the purity of a glider.
In the California desert, the fighters like to converge on small planes also. Never happened to me, but I've heard from others.
 

Pops

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* Ferrying an aircraft for the new owner from northern MI in Feb with 8' of snow on the ground and lost all radios except transponder and didn't know how long I had been following a dead VOR needle, also getting dark.
* Engine crankshaft broke in a Lyc and made it 7 miles to an airport on 2 cylinders.
* Flying a contract for the Fed Government and stationed at 10.5K when the controller radioed me about very fast traffic coming up at 2:00. I saw a dark spot not moving, a half second latter it had mickey mouse ears, ( a very fast Lear coming straight at me).
I slammed full down elevator and full left rudder and aileron at the same time and when my wings were vertical with nose down, the wing tip fuel tank of the Lear went under my right wing, ( I never took my eye of the Lear).
The controlier was very upset and said he was going to take care of the pilot where ever he landed.
* Landing at night on short final at about 150' when another aircraft came from behind and above and flew through my left wing with the prop cutting into my cockpit about 6" from my left shoulder and down the corner of my instrument panel and into the firewall and engine. Airplanes don't fly good without a left wing, it snapped rolled until hitting the ground nose down and inverted. Living got tough for a while, my heart stopped after I got to the hospital and they managed to get it going again after a short time.
* 245 mph ground speed at 3 K in a Cessna 172.
* After a strong winter front passage with strong winds from the NW, ridge soaring a C-172 from Sellingrove, PA to Morgantown WV.

Dan
 

Rosco

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*Formation flight with a B25 (in a sailplane). Unbelievable how loud that thing is.
*Intercept by two Mirage 2000N's. (Practise for them). Same sound issue as above.
*A 200 km (125 mile) final glide in absolutely still air. Incredible, you are just flying on for over 90 minutes, no power, no turbulence or thermals, nothing.
*400 km/h ground speed, while being below maneuvering speed (200 km/h IAS).
*Seeing over 2000 fpm of sink, while trying to cross a ridge-saddle with maybe 50 ft of clearance in the end...
*Going out over the sea (thermals in autumn) and turning around seeing nothing but sea until past the horizon. (50 km from the nearest land)
The two Mirages remind me of a similar incidence . I learned to fly first in a glider at the Kambalda gliding club in Western Australia. our tug was a gipsy powered Auster that had been ferried from the east coast. This aeroplane had no radios and was basic to say the least. On the flight back our pilot strayed into some military airspace and was duly intercepted by two Mirages from the RAAF,now being ex RAAF himself he duly dropped full flap and slowed down to just above stall and laughed his head off as they tried to stay with him. He was also good in the trees and lost them down in the scrub. He laughed about it for years,probably still laughing now 40 years on. Cheers Ross
 

Toobuilder

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Inadvertent VFR into IMC with only a single EFIS a for attitude information. Climbing through 7500 but still in hard IMC, the EFIS died. No needle, ball, airspeed... Nothing but a steam altimeter and VSI. Everything I needed was gone in a flash. The airplane rolled over and went for the ground in seconds with the altimeter unwinding like crazy and the VSI pegged at 8000 FPM. I pulled the throttle to idle but still managed to see 300 MPH on the GPS on the way down. Broke out at less than 1000 feet and pulled 6G's recovering a few hundred feet above a dense forest.

It it was a "significant" flight/life event for me and my wife to say the least.
 

Toobuilder

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Nope. That was speed across the ground. I have no idea what the airspeed was, but it's sufficient to say it was "more" than 300... I'm not sure I want to know how much more. When I broke out I was between 30 and 45 degrees nose low.
 

don january

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when i was about 20 yr. my dad pulled me behind the family car to try and get his home built gyro copter (benson type) up off the ground and at about 30 miles an hour the stick broke off in my hand and i headed to the ditch. I remember rolling off the right side and hoping that blade swinging by did'nt find me. my knees still shake thinking of it:shock:
 

StarJar

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Nope. That was speed across the ground. I have no idea what the airspeed was, but it's sufficient to say it was "more" than 300... I'm not sure I want to know how much more. When I broke out I was between 30 and 45 degrees nose low.
Yeah, that's scary. Glad you survived.
 
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