Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Quick-thinking pilot shares his tale

AN 83-YEAR-OLD pilot has told of the terrifying moment he was forced to crash-land his home-made plane into trees near Coleambally last week.

Rudy Meyer, a retired Coly rice farmer whose extraordinary life is the subject of an upcoming book, was taking off in his home-made ultralight from the local airstrip about 9am on Thursday morning when disaster struck.

Mr Meyer lost control of the plane when luggage he had packed in the second cockpit of the aircraft came loose and jammed the controls.

With the plane flying about 12 metres above the ground, Mr Meyer had to act fast, ditching the plane in a clump of boree trees.

He remained conscious throughout the ordeal, even calmly calling his wife Dorothy on his mobile phone to tell her: “I’ve crashed the plane”.

Mr Meyer, who was heading to the Temora air show at the time, suffered a compound fracture of the right heel and a fracture of the left ankle heel and is likely to remain in the Canberra Hospital for up to three months.

Speaking to the Coly-Point Observer on Monday, Mr Meyer said the accident would not deter him from continuing his life-long passion for flying.

“I will fly again,” he declared. “Flying isn’t dangerous when you do the right thing.

“I remember just as I got airborne, some luggage came loose and pushed up against the joystick so I couldn’t move it.

“I tried to elevate the plane but I couldn’t and I hit the trees. I was very fortunate really, the wing took the brunt of the punishment and the fuel tanks didn’t ignite.”

-The Observer

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