U.S. National Aerobatic Champion Patty Wagstaff Recounts a Cessna 185 Flilght

There I Was...


Welcome to another edition of there. I was a podcast where we put you in the cockpit with pilots in interesting situations and we learn learn how they flew out of them. I'm your host Richard McFadden today. We're delighted to welcome back our inaugural guest on there was podcast three time. US aerobatic robotic national champion. Paddy waxed how do you thank you for joining us again. And we're delighted to have you back on the podcast ace. Richard is great to be back. You're doing a great Javale this podcast. So I'm thrilled to be back. Thank you well great and thanks to people like you. They're so willing to share your circumstances in your situation with all all of us so that we can learn from you had a recent incident on your birthday of all days and you reached out to us to want to share the story about about what happened in the lessons learned. That came out of that. So do you mind sharing that with us today exactly. Yeah it was. My birthday was nine eleven and it was my birthday so all in all not such a great day. Hi It's it's a tough birthday anymore. It's kind of an emotional day anyway so So this was when my bonanza was wrecked in. Had An accident. Might Bonanza of all things I've never had an airplane accident before I've had a few promptings and things like that that for sure but Alone up to everything that I've never had a real accident and just to back it up very very slightly before I started flying i. I was in an accident in assessment to six in Alaska when I first started flying small airplanes up there. Flying in smaller planes in the airplane had Flipped upside down at the end of the runway. We didn't get off the runway and the pilot didn't use the full length of a muddy runway. And so so on so forth so I had been upside down on the ground in an airplane before you and of course those kinds of things really stick with you and so that actually comes into play in this incident. Yeah and people should know they. Probably don't know you for Bonanza flying but you fly one thousand nine hundred fifty eight K.. Model Bonanza that you have flown for a while now Inbetween your aerobatic events which are not so well for right. It's a great little plane to get around in As he says Kay model It was I bought it in nineteen in two thousand twelve and before that I'd had serious in in barons and this was the first detail that I'd had and I re- I really liked it Great little airplane. It was fast and comfortable double and so we miss it yet now. Is the airplane going to be repairable or might be cutting to the chase hurt. No airplanes total. Sorry now aw it was sixty years old so there was a lot. Got A lot out of it. You know for many years later a lot of people enjoyed it and I understand you were flying with an old friend of mine. China Jeff. Rochelle of former Air Force thunderbird pilot is that right. Yeah exactly. He's one of our instructors in good friend and So you were on different front years I think you were you. Were quite a bit later right and the meaning a much younger than he is. I think. That's okay yeah so He's an instructor in your school down there and Saint Augustine. He as instructs for us both in airbags in an upset that training and he also went with us to Kenya this year to give training to Kenya Wildlife Service. Wow fantastic and so you guys were were you coming back where you out on a training sortie Jordy or can you set the stage where it's what kind of flight was this. Sure so this was a we were at a meeting in Titusville about upset training and the weather is nice. Nice no problems in we as we got on the plane to leave. Jeff said Hey What an I fly and I said well you know it's left seats a little tricky to know plane there some little things things I want to show you? And I said it's it's getting laid out the slide this time next time. I'll put you in the left seat because he hadn't actually flown this airplane before and also there's no brakes on the right. Let's see the rudder pedals but they were stowed. I just didn't want to deal with with all that. And he goes okay so I jumped in the legacy but my seatbelt and and we took off and flew back. Who's better forty minute flight back to Saint Augustine? Yeah so important for people to know that. bonanza in this model of detail. Bonanza it has the throw over yoke doc and it also has the rudder pedals that you can stow so the idea. Was the person in the right seat. If you don't want them to has no ability to control the airplane whatsoever you take the okay the rudder pedals and it's just a nice comfortable seat for them. And that's how you had it configured for this Flight Right Act and I certainly wasn't worried about jeff flying the airplane plane. I just didn't want to have to deal with the checkout. It's got a it's got. These older details have The Piano Keys. And that's what controls the flaps APPs in the gear and the reverse from the newer airplanes so even a highly experienced pilot like jeff need to check out on how that works and it's a little awkward to operate. Operate those from the right seat upshur so till two different airplane for sure these these older planes And you have to be very careful not to go go back muscle memory with a new plan so I jumped in the left seat. We flew back Everything was eventful was nice weather. The traffic pattern was uh-huh nobody in the patrimony. Got Back to Saint Augustine and we were cleared to land landed. I landed a little bit long because my hangers down at the far end of runway. One the three To the South we touched down. The centerline Everything is very relaxed and fine and I was rolling out ahead about half flaps on and we were rolling out. I hadn't applied brakes yet. I was very careful with that airplane. It's an older plane and I never haunt on the brakes or you know applied the milliard sure. Yeah does it. Have the old goodyear breaks or or had it been upgraded to Cleveland Breaks. Has Cleveland breaks but I never want to put a lot of side load on the gear so so so just rolling out and all of a sudden the plane sort of ears right into the grass and jeff and I looked at each other. I grabbed the yoke can pulled it back and looked at. He said it's going into the grass. Like I said. Check the power because I have my hands full holding the outback and he checked the his hand on this model to make sure because it idle and meanwhile I tried to steer it with the brakes or the absurd with the rudder pedals and got nothing. I couldn't move them I thought I was just about to slow down and it hit a berm. The small firm. You wouldn't one of those in the grass that you would know is there and the plane started to go over over and we looked at each other and he said it's going over sh and it did it just went straight over tail over nose and ended up upside down on the graphs. Sounds like it just happened so quickly it was quick and It was really surprising. And just you know I mean you just just you in disbelief for a few moments. Just can't believe this actually happened. That's aviation sometimes right there. You are typical normal landing. Everything's fine then. You're slowing down to exit the runway and next thing you know the airplanes starts veer to the right. You run off the runway. You're upside down in a matter of probably less than a minute or two. When all that happened I don't know it's probably just you know thirty seconds? I'm guessing twenty seconds or something like that and I remember somebody saying to me longtime ago you know when accidents happen. They happen very very quickly. It's not something you can prepare for ahead of time. Yeah of course you can prepare everything you can for the you know the worst but when it actually happens you're not can have time to organize things And so as the plane was in. You guys realize we're going over. Did you have time to do anything. They're canaries for impact. Do anything you just have to brace so couple of things that were interesting won. The seat belts are older and the shoulder shoulder. Harnesses are a later addition to the plane. They didn't come shoulder harnesses in the initially and our shoulder harnesses where the kind of Chris cost kind that weren't on an inertial real. We had been wanting to change it but we had the older kind so that when they were on they were a little tight and it was awkward to reach Ford and Change Few uh uh switch fuel tanks and do some other things so what I normally would do is take off with the shoulder harness on and Then take it off in the air when I get up to altitude so I could switch tanks and things like that and then fly without the shoulder harness and a lot of times I have to say. I didn't put it on for landing. Even though I know a lot of times I did but there were times. I didn't in this case because it was a really short flight from Titusville and I knew I didn't have to switch tanks. Thanks consider some Feel management in these older planes. I left my shoulder harness on which was a little unusual for me if I hadn't left. mysolar harness ars on. I probably would have gotten hurt. And Jeff had a shoulder harness on too so we were really lucky with that so we had our differences on. Were upside down and I looked over and said are you okay and I remember being upside down on that Cessna six in nineteen eighty. Maybe to No earlier than that is probably Nineteen seventy-nine in remembered the pilot saying be careful. Be careful her yourself when you get out because there's been a lot of. I think there's been a lot of injuries for people when they upside down. They rip off their seat building. They hit their head and said okay be careful and I remembered it. So it's amazing. How these things are they stay with

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