Aviation In Canada

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Flight Following Anyone? Part 3

(...Continued from yesterday...)

This is more of a conclusion portion of the events described in the previous days, rather than a continuation. When I think back about this incident, there were several things that were interesting. First, if the pilot had departed 30 minutes later, he would have been over that area after dark, and there would have been no hope of finding that airfield. If the engine failed 5 minutes earlier he would have been over the cold waters and steep cliffs of the Bay of Fundy with little hope of survival. 5 minutes later, he may have been out of range of Apple River's strip. I drove to that area the following week and there is nothing but trees and rolling, rocky hills. Not even a straight stretch of road long enough to plunk down a PA28, in my thoughts. Also, the fact that not many of us in the Center were aware of a field there made my position a little more interesting in the mix. And why would I have not handed this aircraft off to Greenwood? Would they have known about this little field just outside their area? We don't see much traffic flying into and out of this little field.

As I mentioned, I drove down to find this little field a week later. I'm impressed by this pilot. I drove my car out onto the runway, keeping ever vigilant for power-out Cherokees on approach, as I made my way to the hangar. It was extremely rough for a nose-wheel aircraft, I thought to myself. About halfway along, there was a hangar with three walls, the open side cut into the trees. And there, inside it, was a CGNBO, with the tail propped up by supports. The airplane, other than the obvious lack of an engine, looked, upon quick inspection from a distance, no worse for the wear. So back out to the airfield. There were power lines on the edge of the road just prior to the start of R27. About halfway along runway 27, it started to slope down, as published. And, boy, did it. I couldn't see the threshold of 09 from the midpoint of the 2,500 foot runway. So this pilot, power off, made a forced landing over wires and onto the runway that was sloping away from him. All without further damaging the airplane in the dying light. I only hope I'll do as well if (when) it happens to me.