24.9°C 03:00 pm

Disaster averted

Monday, 1st February, 2010

* Silver City Recreational Flyers Club President James Chase and Jim Nejaim get to work repairing the Jabiru J-170 aircraft. * Silver City Recreational Flyers Club President James Chase and Jim Nejaim get to work repairing the Jabiru J-170 aircraft.

Ultralight pilot in emergency landing

Some quick thinking from pilot James Chase averted a possible disaster over the weekend when he was forced to make an emergency landing in his ultralight Jabiru aircraft near Umberumberka Reservoir.

Mr Chase and several other Silver City Recreational Flyers Club members took to the skies early on Saturday morning with a plan to watch recent rainfall flow into Lake Eyre.

On take-off Mr Chase's propellor was struck by a rock however, and his plane soon became difficult to handle as the propellor deteriorated.

Fellow club members Brian Walker and Jim Nejaim watched on as Mr Chase maneuvered his plane into a head wind, and glided to a safe landing on a dirt road 5km past Umberumberka.

Mr Neijaim said his clubmate had done an excellent job to get himself and his passenger safely back on the ground, especially considering the the dust and heavy winds with which he had to contend.

"There would have been a lot of vibration flying the plane with propeller like that, he did very well."

"He did a good job, and it's what we all train for." Mr Chase admitted the experience was a bit unnerving, but said he was fortunate to have several roads to choose from for a landing strip."We were all right, it was just a matter of making sure we all walked away from it," he said.

"The best part about this area is that there's a lot of places to land." After the landing Mr Walker and Mr Nejaim flew to the club's Stephen's Creek airstrip and retrieved a new propeller.

Once repairs were made the group were able to take off without incident and continue their trip.

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