A Flash Of Black


Back from Rochester NY. You were right, Michigan is always cloudy. I ended up going around the southern tip of Lake Michigan on the way back.

I had a real surprise in the air on the way back from Rochester NY. My front baggage door came off in flight. There was a quick flash of something black and a loud bang. I thought I hit a big black bird and waited a couple seconds to hear engine vibration from a damaged prop and checked the engine instruments, but the engine was running smoothly. I then noticed the missing cover in front of the windshield and some stuff flapping in the wind from inside of it. I slowed down to 90k and headed for the nearest airport, Sandusky County Regional, Ohio. I made wide turns in the pattern and wheel landed at 75k, I didn't know at the moment where the door had gone or if the door or baggage contents might find a way to jam the elevator or rudder and I wanted to minimize my control and power movements. After landing and getting out, I noticed a big dent in the top of the left wing about 10 inches from the fuselage, apparently the cover had hinged up from right to left, broke at the hinge on its way down the left side of the cowling, and then hit the wing.

The only thing I seem to have lost was my brand new Vans canopy cover, some farmer will find it in his field and let his kids make a tent out of it I’m sure. Everything else I had in there was wrapped in heavy black trash bags which I had put top-down in case I encountered rain it would keep things dry. The fact that the bags were wrapped tight and bottom up probably kept them inside the compartment. The canopy cover was of course right under the door so I could get to it for convenience. I had folded it up and put it in its case, lucky thing too, if it had been loose it might have wrapped around the tail. Actually not luck, I believe luck is just wisdom meeting opportunity. A wise thing to put things in their place, huh?


~ March 7, 2012

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