Ferry Flight Pic of The Day

Natures way of saying "LOOK OUT!"

Any idiot can fly a plane, I’m living proof of that fact, it’s really learning to make the right decisions that will keep a pilot from bending the expensive metal he rides in.  Weather or not, pun intended, to even make a trip is the most important skill, and it is a skill, a pilot needs to learn if he wants to have a long flying career.  But even the most Conservative pilot can get caught by surprise when the weather changes quickly.

Just a few days ago a very experienced balloon pilot in Georgia got caught by a fast building storm while he was flying a load of skydivers.  Apparently the storm came up so quickly that he was unable to land before the storm hit.  The pilot told the jumpers to leave just before he was sucked up to eighteen thousand feet by powerful updrafts.  He was in radio contact with his ground crew and described the whole event, including counting down his altitude as he made his final descent.  I can’t imagine how terrifying it must have been when the balloon collapsed and began the eighty second fall back to earth.  One of the skydivers said that if he’d known how bad the situation was he would’ve strapped the pilot to him when he jumped.  That would have been difficult but not impossible, he could have used some of the rope balloons always have on board and figured something out.  The landing would have been rough with all that weight but survivable.  According to the surviving skydivers the weather at the time of takeoff showed no signs of the approaching storm.

We had the same thing happen to us at Skydive Twin Cities last year.  A thunderstorm came barreling down on us out of nowhere while a load of skydivers was in the air.  The first half of the load landed safely but the last two tandems got caught by a gust front that pushed them far off the drop zone and slightly injured one of the passengers on landing.  The sky like the sea can be an unforgiving and harsh mistress.

2 Replies to “Ferry Flight Pic of The Day”

  1. I know you took the very scary thunderstorm clouds picture. Where were you when those clouds showed up?

    1. I was in a Cirrus over the Mediterranean on the way from Italy to France. It was the leading edge of a huge line of thunderstorms that we had to pick our way through.

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