Tue Jul 27, 2021 8:24 pm #1861456
Next Sunday, 1st August 2007 will be 13 years to the day since my life was saved by an ATC at Blackpool who is/was a member here. I was flying solo home to Carlisle from Liverpool in a Pa28. Weather at Liverpool was CAVOK when I set off but I ran into cloud at the north end of Morecambe Bay. Climbed to 6,500 feet in the hope of flying VFR above cloud but still in cloud. A few scary oscillations before I managed to safely trim the aircraft, in the process of which I must have bumped the giro setting out to an incorrect reading. I had the plate for an NDB/DME descent into Carlisle on my kneepad. Thus far I only had a DME reading from Wirral and not picking up one from Carlisle. I had done the NDB/DME approach into Carlisle a few times with an experienced co-pilot but never solo. Carlisle weather was below my minima on a PPL/IMC, but pressonitis had kicked in as my late wife Ann's carer finished at 6 and I need to get home so I would go for it. Suddenly there was a ripping sound as the descent plate for Carlisle was torn from my kneepad and tossed into the furthest back corner of the 'plane. As I spun round to look for it, could have sworn I saw my dad in the co-pilot seat, his left hand on the throttle quadrant and his right hand on the RHS control yoke. As my head turned back, of course he wasn't really there because he had died three years earlier. Alone in a four seat plane in cloud, should I divert to NCL - no they are fogged in also and the last thing they need is to talk doan an amateur. Fly through the fog to Prestwick which was clear - how to get home from there? Then I recalled I had talked to Blackpool on the way north and still had one radio on their frequency. I requested a weather diversion. Fortunately the owner had fitted a transponder. Blackpool radar picked me up near Stocks Reservoir, well to the east of my intended track. It soon became apparent to the controller that I was failing to follow his instructions and he gave me amended headings to compensate for my giro being inaccurate. He talked me down to overhead the M6 near Forton Services, where I broke out of cloud safe of the high ground of the Lake District and flew visual into Blackpool. Ever so thankful to be back on the deck. This adventure could have gone so horribly wrong. Last month I celebrated my 70th birthday, no longer flying, but I would not have been here today to enjoy life but for that experienced ATC in Blackpool.
A member of the class of 2005. Please view my 'plane, train and 'bus photos on http://www.flickr.com/photos/cessna152towser/