Touch and go

The small GA airport in the town Stefan and I grew up in had this tire testing center right next to it. In addition to a circular track and a sort of race track layout, it also had a long straight to test something on tires you need a long straight for. Well, you probably guessed it; with this being the times before Foreflight and GPS, every now and then, somebody would land at the tire center instead of the airport. In the States I would imagine this not being a very big deal for the most part, but with the rules in Austria, this was considered an off-airport landing and they had to get permission to take off from there again. Don’t quote me on the exact rules please, it has been a long time, but I remember it being quite a production when I was actually working at the airport in my teens.

Later in my aviation career, we had a guy I knew getting pulled over by a State Trooper in his helicopter! This guy was doing a movie shoot filming a few Harleys going down the road where he was so low the entire time, the trooper actually almost literally pulled him over with his cruiser (he somehow got him to land and talk). The pilot also didn’t have a permit for filming and actually ended up with a bunch of highway fines rather than FAA fines. I guess what brought out the trooper in the first place was he was flying down the opposing lanes getting just enough altitude briefly to clear oncoming traffic and one of those drivers called him in.

And this is exactly why Chicken Wings probably won’t run out of material for a while …


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4 comments on “Touch and go
  1. M Mitchell Marmel says:

    “Chuck, is that you?”

    “Oddly enough, no.”

  2. J Z says:

    It’s not a minor story here in the States either.

    Every so often, airports have published, in the A/FD (Chart Supplement, in the New English), “Do not confuse [airport] for [insert drag strip, straight road, or closed airport] located at [point ridiculously close to airport].” I flew into one airport some time ago that has a drag strip next to it painted with big yellow ‘X’s at the ends, just because the drag strip has seen quite a few landings over the years.

    I also watched a Skyhawk get trucked into a hangar back when I was doing instrument training. The story behind it was that the pilot got a rough-running engine, flew over a roadway three times at low altitude to scare off any drivers, and landed. (In that time, of course, he probably could have made it to the airport – but I won’t question his decision-making, for specific-to-the-situation reasons that I’m leaving out.) The A&P/IAs sent to the site cleared the aircraft to take off again; the FAA and/or State Police did not. The highway was located ten miles south of the airport, and runs for a little over 20 miles, as a ramrod-straight road with very few obstructions and hardly any traffic. I suppose nobody wanted to be the fellow who cleared the aircraft off, only to have it land out again later, and take the heat for the decision. Thanks for the nostalgia trip!

    Speaking of decisions, I wonder if Carl (the examiner) wouldn’t get into a lot of trouble for letting the examinee do that before stopping the ride. Might there be a little ‘Chuck’ in him too?

  3. DeanRW says:

    I wondered why Carl let Jason go that far too, without calling, at some point, «[expletive], my aircraft!». By the way, I can see lots of «Jason, is that you?» in the glorious future of Chicken Wings. Or will Chuck be blamed in Jason’s stead, for his poor (euphemism) teaching skills?

  4. Franck Mée says:

    Here in France, we have this habit of moving airports whenever a growing town reaches them. That makes it quite common to have a nice, big runway right next to the city or even in the middle of the suburbs, pending destruction, 5 or 6 km away from a nice, big runway just a bit further from the houses.
    They are marked as decommissioned of course, both on maps and on site (big Xs on every runway and taxiway), but depending on where you come from, sometimes you spot the former airport much sooner than the actual one, and it’s quite tempting to just go for it.

    (By the way, next time Jason messes up, I can see Chuck calling the “Jason, is that you?” line. 😉 )

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