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Posted By:
Jim Heffelfinger
Homebuilder or Craftsman
256
Posts
43
#1 Posted: 5/3/2010 13:58:43

 

News - Latest - 3 May 2010 - Norman is well but the autogyro is damaged.

Thank you for all your patience. Norman is well but the autogyro has been damaged a will not be flying for the immediate future. Here is a message received from Norman by mobile / cell phone text in relation to taking off on Saturday morning.

"Apologies to all for the delays - a combination of high air temperature, heavy aircraft and variable cross wind resulted in a poor climb out by the aircraft on take off. Obstacle avoidance resulted in a forced ditching in to a shallow lake. Thankfully I was not injured and the aircraft is now being assessed for possible repair. There will be more on this as soon as I know all the options. Regards, Norman." 

End of text. We have no other information at present, communications with him is difficult and as you can imagine he is occupied with 101 things.

 

A grim reminder that we need to be ever diligent of flight limitations



Zack Baughman
543
Posts
483
#2 Posted: 5/3/2010 15:50:44

It wouldn't truly be an adventure without some sort of setback(s).  I've relieved to hear that Norman is well - a wet, damaged autogyro can be repaired much easier than an injured human.  Thanks very much for the update Jim, and please keep us posted when you know more.

Zack



EAA Timeless Voices Program Coordinator & Museum Collections Assistant "Let No Story Go Untold!"
Jim Heffelfinger
Homebuilder or Craftsman
256
Posts
43
#3 Posted: 5/5/2010 08:55:18

 

from the blog

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Disaster and triumph

Well everyone, what a difference a few days make! who could have predicted a week ago as I was flying towards Thailand that I would now be reporting on potential disaster and triumph both in the same sentence! The disaster part, as most will be now well aware of was my very unfortunate forced ditching into a shallow lake beside Nong Prue Airfield last Saturday afternoon. At that point I really did think that this fantastic flying adventure had come to an untimely and very abrupt conclusion...However, the positive team spirit displayed by the local flying club members and friends that day was not just "beyond the call of duty", it was quite simply beyond comparison.

As I literally sat with my head in my hands trying to come to terms with what had just happened, about 20 people quickly set about recovering the Gyro from its 30 minute swim and recovering all the very soggy equipment and luggage held therein. There followed a scene, when I occasionally looked up from my chair, of fantastic uplifting teamwork. The whole contents of the aircraft had been exploded across the floor of the hanger on large tarpaulin sheets, every item carefully washed to remove the lake silt and rinsed with clean water and laid out to dry in the intense afternoon heat. Your eye was drawn around the hanger, an odd mixture of Dollar bills all individually laid out, next to aircraft service sheets, next to soggy passport, next to camera batteries, electrical equipment etc.etc. and all this done spontaneously and with such drive and purpose. 

Within a few short hours all clothing had been washed and dried and all dried items stowed in large plastic barrels ready for sorting (a job I am still working through days later!). The aircraft too, received the same treatment, recovered, unloaded into hanger, engine drained of water and restarted barely two hours after the incident. 

It was a triumph, not just in the physical achievement of so quickly turning the situation around bringing a sense of order to the devastating chaos which was first presented, but it was also a triumph for the positive, spontaneous spirit displayed by all those people, who a few short days before had all been complete strangers to me on my arrival. If we successfully repair the aircraft in the coming weeks, a contributing factor will no doubt be the fact that the "can do" atmosphere pervades here in Thailand and in Nong Prue Airfield in particular. In short, their efforts may well have managed to save the whole show... Cheers N.