CRASH : Adelaide stands next to the plane she was flying when she made her unexpected landing. Photo: supplied.
Sixteen year old Adelaide Pilt was left with one option.
After calling in her mayday call, and successfully dodging some power lines, she knew that her only hope for survival was to land into the paddock below.
At 350 feet in the airshe couldn’t see the flock of sheep or the wall of a dam that could prevent her safe landing, she just knew she couldn’t stay in the air.
Only a few hours ago, everything was under control.
Based in Exeter, the passionate student pilot commutes to Goulburn airport for her classes. But on Thursday, February23, things were a bit different.
That morningshe would be conducting her own engine checks and go on her first solo flight from the hangar.
Her instructorlooked on as she performed two successful circuits, but left his post to help another student as she took off for her third flight, leaving his radio, their only form of communication, in the car.
“The plane started shaking and the engine was running rough. It wasn’t climbing as powerfully as it should,” she said, describing the moment her plane begun to fail.
“Iknew it wasn’t normal.”
AFTERMATH: A car has to tow the plane back to the base. Adelaide traveled just under 3km from her starting point. Photo: supplied.
With no response over the radio, Adelaide grew worried. Her only option was to descend. She could nothead back to the field and was not high enough to turn the plane around.
Noticing a helicopter close by she made her mayday call.
“I picked the most viable option, and focused on landing the plane.”
Bumping along the ground she swerved in a attempt to avoid the sheep, braking only a few meters short from awall.
Completely uninjuredand full of adrenaline, she said the experience made her think twice about the mechanics of flying.
“I realised the only thing keeping me in the air was an engine -and it could fail,” she said.
Investigations revealed the circlip failed, restricting the flow of fuel to half the engine.
But for Adelaide, the close call did not tarnishher childhood dream of becoming a pilot.
“I love flying and I do want to continue, but it has certainly made it more real.”
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