Thursday, January 11, 2007

OK, I'll come clean...

Happy New Year everybody!

Ok, I'm going to come clean. I haven't posted lately because my last flight ended in a small catastrophe. Here's the brief story: This happened near the end of October. I was about to take my first flight from my new airport. There was a Cessna practicing T&G's on runway 9. I was going to take off on runway 18, which was grass. I waited until the Cessna touched down and then I took off. I watched the Cessna pass in front of me at a safe distance on his downwind leg as I was climbing out. At what I would estimate to be about 90 seconds after takeoff, my engine died! Ok, time to select a landing site. First choice, the runway I took off from...but no, can't do that because the Cessna is now turning from base to final for 9 and I would directly cross it's path if trying to land on 36.

To make a long story short, I ended up landing in a field with 7 foot tall weeds. The landing was relatively smooth, but the sudden stop caused by the weeds ripped the right-hand side of the axle off, wheel and all! I guess some pilots in the area saw me go down and called 911. I walked out of the field, found the owner of the property, and returned to the plane, only to find about 20 emergency workers looking for the pilot! Then the medivac helicopter showed up, only to be waived off by officer in charge. It was quite an embarrassing fiasco!

To top it all off, the police called me after I was home and gave me the number of the FAA representative in the area and told me that I must report the "crash" to him on Monday. I didn't really believe I had to do this and when I called the FAA guy, we talked about it. He told me that even though I was flying a legal ultralight, I would still have to file a report. Against my better judgement, I emailed him my accounting of the incident, and I haven't heard anything since. I'm stuck not flying. It's OK, it's getting pretty cold these days. Frost on the car windshield in the mornings. Very cold at 1500 feet!

On the positive side of things, I start a new job in February so I should have more cash to buy repair parts! Another good thing...I just bought Microsoft Flight Simulator X the other day and have been getting a few hours of stick time in. Too bad it doesn't have a Quicksilver MX or Phantom X1 in the list of aircraft!