Horror Stories

Aircraft Horror Stories no one wants to tell them but everyone wants to hear one, so be it

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  • I started flying in the 80’s, I was into going skiing, I had a Porsche, but unfortunately I had the need for speed and as such I got a few traffic tickets, one in fact from a Park Ranger who told me they only issue tickets to those who blatantly violate the law ( I was doing 115 mph on an uphill 15% grade hill on my way to go skiing, and on top of that I had 2 unfortunate rear enders due to checking out a hot young woman and not minding my driving. I was 33 divorced, cash in my pocket, and you can get the picture.

    My insurance costs were in the $350.00 a month range so I thought to myself, there are no cops in the sky (little did I know but that is another story).

    I decided to learn to fly, signed up for some lessons, and started to fly. My instructor called me “ knock knee’s” ( and she was a smoking hot instruction named Laura Cherry, who was building time to work in the airlines), because when I would go to land me legs would move back and forth due to being nervous.

    I started out in a Cessna 152 that was the basic plane of the flight school and did spin training in one of the variant models. I really didn’t lime paying the rental rate as I thought to myself, I’ll just buy my won for the solo trading and that is exactly what I did.

    I soon was the proud owner of a 1969 Cherokee 140, with Metco Tips. She was a good plane low time engine and frame, good paint and interior for $9,500.00 (1983)

    So I did my solo work, and it came time for my cross country flight. For some reason that still cannot remember I CHOSE New Cuyama as my destination airport, I think it was the closes airport to meet the cross country requirements, but to be honest I really don’t remember exactly why I chose this one..

    Laura, looked over my flight plan and said, ok you are going to New Cuyama.

    So off I go, getting there was not that difficult, I followed the flight plan that I had drawn up, navigated and finally arrived. When I got there the airport was overgrown with weeds and no one was there. I got out of the plane, walked around, couldn’t find anyone. Mine you that I was required to check in with her to prove that I was their by phone. Well after about 20 minutes I found a phone, called in and said I was coming back.

    All this had kind of put me a bit on edge, but hey, this is my time, I’m going to ace this, so off I went.

    Unfortunately I didn’t reset my dg to the compass on takeoff, and soon I was wondering where the hell I was. There were no town around, nothing to help me with dead reckoning, but fortunately I had 2 vors units. I triangulated my position and soon found my way home and ultimately my PPL.


    One more thing, I have a lot of real experience stories that have taught me to be a better pilot. This one was a 5 on the scary scale, I have some 7, 8 & 9’s that I am willing to share, but only if there is an interest.

    Post if you want to hear more
  • I started flying in the 80’s, I was into going skiing, I had a Porsche, but unfortunately I had the need for speed and as such I got a few traffic tickets, one in fact from a Park Ranger who told me they only issue tickets to those who blatantly violate the law ( I was doing 115 mph on an uphill 15% grade hill on my way to go skiing, and on top of that I had 2 unfortunate rear enders due to checking out a hot young woman and not minding my driving. I was 33 divorced, cash in my pocket, and you can get the picture.)

    My auto insurance costs were in the $350.00 a month range so I thought to myself, there are no cops in the sky (little did I know but that is another story).

    I decided to learn to fly, signed up for some lessons, and started to fly. My instructor called me “ knock knee’s” ( and she was a smoking hot instruction named Laura Cherry, who was building time to work in the airlines), because when I would go to land my legs would move back and forth due to being nervous.

    I started out in a Cessna 152 that was the basic plane of the flight school and did spin training in one of the variant models. I really didn’t like paying the rental rate as I thought to myself, I’ll just buy me one for the solo trading and that is exactly what I did.

    I soon was the proud owner of a 1969 Cherokee 140, with Metco Tips. She was a good plane low time engine and frame, good paint and interior for $9,500.00 (1983)

    So I did my solo work, and it came time for my cross country flight. For some reason that still cannot remember I CHOSE New Cuyama as my destination airport, I think it was the closest airport to meet the cross country requirements, but to be honest I really don’t remember exactly why I chose this one..

    Laura, looked over my flight plan and said, ok you are going to New Cuyama.

    So off I go, getting there was not that difficult, I followed the flight plan that I had drawn up, navigated and finally arrived. When I got there the airport was overgrown with weeds and no one was there. I got out of the plane, walked around, couldn’t find anyone. Mine you that I was required to check in with her to prove that I was their by phone. Well after about 20 minutes I found a phone, called in and said I was coming back.

    All this had kind of put me a bit on edge, but hey, this is my time, I’m going to ace this, so off I went.

    Unfortunately I didn’t reset my dg to the compass on takeoff, and soon I was wondering where the hell I was. There were no town around, nothing to help me with dead reckoning, but fortunately I had 2 vors units. I triangulated my position and soon found my way home and ultimately my PPL.


    One more thing, I have a lot of real experience stories that have taught me to be a better pilot. This one was a 5 on the scary scale, I have some 7, 8 & 9’s that I am willing to share, but only if there is an interest.

    Post if you want to hear more
  • So you're saying it got worse after you passed your check ride? :0
  • That what the stories are about, unusual challenging stories that reqire the use of good skills to overcome.

    Have you ever

    had a door come unlatched during flight

    flown vfr into ifr

    flown vfr on top with no hole to drop thru

    experienced an electrical failure mid flight

    been in the middle of a lightening storm

    crashed a plane?

    You learn from experience
  • Yes to all of the above, except for crashing a plane (knock wood.):

    had a door come unlatched during flight

    Several times. It's not hard to mis-latch the upper latch on a Cherokee door. Only cure is to open the door all the way and re-close it. It's easier to do that on the ground but I've done it in flight when I've had a passenger to help.

    flown vfr into ifr

    But not until I had my instrument rating. No big deal then to turn around.

    flown vfr on top with no hole to drop thru

    Yes, before my IR. Had to fly clear across (over) a front to get down. Not one of my brighter moves. Fortunately I wanted to be on the other side...

    experienced an electrical failure mid flight

    Yes. No big deal when VFR - the airplane doesn't need electricity to fly. Called ATC on the handheld and told them what was happening.

    been in the middle of a lightening storm

    Wherein the newly-minted instrument pilot learned that thunderstorms don't have to have anvil heads...
  • Open door more than once.
    visual into IMC yes, but like Joe being instrument rated made it a non-event from a safety perspective. I told the idiot at FSS the clouds were lower than 10K and they were.
    lost comms but not complete elect. failure landed safely at a towered airport.
    LTGCCCG been there done that.
    Crashing nope never have and hope never to do so. Not on my list of necessary to learn how not to do it, but I've only been flying since 1969.
    I have landed a C-150 in front of a B-52 and over the top of a holding KC-135 who started his roll as I touched down.
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