Aviation In Canada

Friday, July 15, 2005

Engine Failure on Take-Off

This story was shared with me by a coworker upon seeing my blog. I couldn't resist sharing it here, with his permission, of course. You'll see why later...

The year was 1973, and he was a trainee in Halifax Tower. He had just cleared the Cessna 150 for take-off on runway 24, with the aircraft heading out toward the city, which was basically straight out off 24, roughly paralleling the highway. Shortly after take-off, the pilot reported his engine running rough. The controller trainee, having completed most of the training for his own pilot's license, offered the use of carb heat as a possible solution. The pilot said it made things worse. Well, that's what happens if it is carb icing, it gets worse but then melts the ice and gets better, right? The pilot refused and stated he was planning to land on the highway nearby. With his instructor watching over him, the trainee watched the aircraft sink beneath the tree tops. Evidence to the aircraft's attempted highway landing was seen in the tail lights of the cars as they slowed while going over the hill where the highway is visible from the tower cab. Repeated calls were made on tower frequency to see if they could raise the aircraft, attempting to find out if he was successful in his landing, even though the RCMP had already be dispatched.

Then, a call came in from the aircraft: He had landed, taxied off the highway onto an offramp, and was calling in on ground frequency for taxi back to the airport. The supervisor on duty was extremely angry with our trainee for bursting out laughing at this point.