J and D's Corner

Our Random Stuff Collection

A Fun Trip Gone Bad:

Since 1983, our Cessna Skylane N-8514S had ferried us to and from work and on pleasure expeditions near & far.  For 25 years and nearly 5000 hours of flight time it did everything asked of it, taking us into airports from the Arctic Circle to the Caribbean to southern Mexico. One-four-Sierra regularly settled with equanimity onto jet-jammed 2.5 mile long mega-runways, sleepy old fashioned grass fields, pretty nasty back country dirt strips and even a remote road or two. 

Finally, on what should have been yet another routine trip, fate dealt a bad hand. 

April 15, 2008, had been a particularly windy day around the Southwest and flying was not overly pleasant, but we had hard-to-get reservations for a couple of nights at Goulding's Trading Post in Monument Valley Utah, to be followed by a visit with an old friend in Phoenix.  Goulding's has a nice airstrip but it is nestled at the base of a couple of the iconic Monument Valley buttes that can create some swirling wind patterns.  Dani & I, accompanied by Dani's sister Katherine, arrived just after noon, tied the Cessna down in their parking area and settled into a neat little rental house. Joining us there were Skypark neighbors Doug & Beth, who had arrived shortly before us.

A few hours later we had just sat down for dinner when the phone rang and one of the Goulding's staff said we had "better get down to the airstrip, because a plane is on its back".  Needless to say the scene pictured below pretty well ruined our dinnertime.  According to a witness, a huge dust devil had enveloped the tie-down area, completely obscuring the airplanes, and when it moved off the result was one totaled Cessna.  Fortunately, Doug's Bonanza, parked immediately adjacent, was safe.       

Click on the thumbnails for fullsize pictures

The First Look

The Next Morning

Might as well be happy

Salvage Company Arrives

Turning back over

Back on 'er feet!

By good fortune, and thanks to suggestions from our fellow pilots, we found a replacement aircraft almost immediately, and within budget.  I think dirt roads and short back country strips are now in the past, but if we can just have only 10% of the fun with this one....

This site was last updated 12/04/13