Aside from That, How Did You Like the Flight?

A work collegue went on a flying vacation with her husband in a C172 from Connecticut to South Carolina.  I thought that was pretty great. This week’s e-mail exchange went like this:

How was the vacation?

(Leslie) Vacation was stressful due to pieces falling off the plane (over a big lake) and bad storms in SC & KY and on the way home. But we lived and that’s the important thing! We’re happy to be home.  Next vacation I think I’ll pick a safe place like the beach!

Say again?

(Leslie) We were just past Columbia SC and the weather was really bad. The ATC guy was concerned and asked if we had a weather GPS because he could see the storms ahead of us on radar. Luckily we do have a weather GPS, so we were trying to sneak through two storms. Just as we were flying over a huge lake, we heard a bang. Tom thought he saw something fall off the front of the plane. He thought it might the nose cone/spinner. The plane was still flying o.k. but with a vibration. We decided to keep flying and try to get to the airport where we knew people (where we used to live). Tom kept monitoring all gages to see if the plane was deteriorating in case we had to make an emergency landing. He didn’t tell me till later that he kept looking for fields or roads to land on in case we couldn’t make it to an airport. Ugh!  I was scared to death!   About 15 miles from the airport the radar service couldn’t see us on radar anymore so he canceled our flight following.  And the weather got worse! We were under a big nasty cloud and had to keep flying lower to see below the clouds. We heard another plane trying to reach our airport ahead of us and he was unable to see it.  We were able to see our airport about 2-3 miles away. Anyway, we made it! He landed downwind but we felt we were in an emergency to just get the plane on the ground.  We verified it was the nose cone and it hit the wing, but no bad damage. We had to replace spinner, front & rear bulkhead and re-balance propeller. It definitely could have been worse.

Um-yes indeed. Not the spinner falling off,  but the scud runnning part. I remember having a similar experience.


2 responses to “Aside from That, How Did You Like the Flight?

  1. One of the reasons I don’t fly in anything without an ejection-seat and/or para. Plus full instrument pkg. 🙂 But seriously, as we’ve discussed before, the avg weekend pilot really doesn’t put in enough hrs to be really safe–especially in wx–which is why Doctors seem to fall out of the sky every time you pick up the papers or turn on the tv..

    • I’m with you on the instrument rating / equipment. Conditions can detriorate to IFR quickly when weather is present and that’s the other thing. Flying in the vicinity of T-Storms just doesn’t appeal to me. I know of other pilots who pick their way through cells using weather radar but you can get boxed in before you know it.

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