Late winter of 2012 found me on a four-day mission flying a UC-35 to transport distinguished visitor passengers to various locations throughout Europe. The second day of the mission had us departing Byrdgosz, Poland, at mid-morning, refueling in Bucharest, Romania, then continuing to Ankara, Turkey.
I always begin this story with, “It was 100 percent my fault.” Pride aside, here are the events that led up to my Class D accident.
“Beat the heat” — those three words used to remind me of my early days in the military. Beating the heat could be the difference between life and death at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. However, this historic motivational quote took on a whole new meaning following what I consider to be the scariest moments of my deployment.
All of us, at one time or another, have experienced driving down the road with a dirty windshield. A quick stop at a gas station to clean it and then we’re back on our way. If only it were that simple in aviation.
We conducted a reconnaissance of the landing zone and determined the size, wind direction and approach path. Everything looked normal. As I started the approach for landing, things were going good until about the last 30 feet.
It is something we have all heard stories about — taking off and forgetting something on preflight or throughflight until someone remembers because of a procedure or something being said. Well, it finally happened to our crew.