Emergency Landing !

#43
There is an old saying that any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. Well today on my 43rd flight with my daughter Stefania watching I had my first difficult emergency landing. It made the engine out at the Salton Sea look like a piece of cake. Stefania and I got out to the field about 4:30 pm. The heavy winds of the last several days seem to have subsided and it looked perfect with a light breeze from the nnw. The big lenticular clouds that dominated the majority of the day had broken into smaller versions of the same thing.
I kited for a bit and decided it was just not enough for a reverse but perfect for an easy forward.. Stef got the video camera and went upwind while I set up. After sitting on my box for a minute the wind was right and I pulled it up and started to run. The wing came up nice and straight and I moon walked at half throttle toward Stef.. I was feeling good, leaning back int the thrust and at just the right time I made a clean lift-off with just a touch of brake. The climb out was a bit shallow 40f/min but I easily cleared the lines and flew over Titan Rd at 100 feet. Just past Titan I turned to the east and the motor stopped, no burp or sputter , it just stopped. I should have turned back to the north and glided in but stayed on an easterly course and came in between the barns and several corrals. At the last minute I turned 90degrees toward the south and came down hard in a turn. It was a bit of a slide and I tweaked my knee again. The motor frame was slightly bent but no major damage.
I don’t know why I didn’t turn into the wind. I think there would have been room to find an LZ, perhaps I was thinking of heading back to the field. Landing where I did was foolish and if there had been significant wind I would have been in the rotor of the barns. As it was I landed in a small corral downwind.
It took Stef and I about 45 minutes to get the glider out of a small willow like tree and I was glad to have my extra long windsock pole to use for the job. I never was able to determine what caused the motor to die. The best guess is that when I fooled with the high screw on the carb I messed up… but it acted ok during the warm up.
Anyway, we were able to get the equipment back across Titan and I kited the wing to make sure everything was untangled and undamaged. We watched Ty go for a quick flight and chatted with his wife about my “incident”.
I hope the lesson was learned, I dodged what could have been a real bad thing and was able to walk away.
Stefania got the whole thing on video and her reaction to my experience was revealing. I hope she will come out to the field again soon so that she can see that her old man is a better pilot.

Author: JoeO

Powered Paraglider pilot since 2005

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