Caribbean Trip. Feb 5, 2010

The day of our maiden flight came, and we were understandably excited. We packed and ferried our baggage to the plane, taking off from Montgomery Airport at around 12pm. From here we flew over the local mountains at 11,000 feet. It was expected that there would be some severe turbulence, but there was not any. The flight was a good one, clear and with a strong tailwind we made our first refueling point, demining.  Here we met Burt, the charismatic Ex U.S Navy man turned plane fanatic, with a handlebar moustache to rival no other. He gave us a good talk about his experience which was all caught on camera.

After refueling we took off into the sunset, cruising due east heading for Galveston.

We had been in the air for about an hour when by chance Michelle and I noticed that the fuel gage was strangely low, considering that we had just refueled, at first we just thought it was a fluctuation, but as it continued to descend towards empty, we were increasingly more worried. 2 minutes later and the plane had no electrical power, there were no lights on the normally well lit dash board, and we could not communicate on the intercom. Needless to say Michelle and I, not being able to hear the conversations that Tom and Ollie were having in the front were more than a little nervous.

We were 100 miles out over uninhabited desert with no GPS, no landing nights, and only a hand held radio, a small torch, and a map to go by.

Tom had noted our position just before the lights went out, and we quickly swung around, heading for the lights in the distance that was El Paso.

After about 10 minutes Tom managed to make radio contact with the tower at El Paso, and we immediately requested an emergency landing. El Paso is a major international airport, and as we came in to land, having flown for 40 minutes over lifeless desert, we could see the runway straight ahead, with all other runway lights turned off, and commercial 777’s waiting for us on the runway.

Amazingly Tom managed to guide us on with no landing lights, and we touched down essentially blind, with only the end of the runway to concentrate on.

Very relieved we taxied to the local cutters airport, for small private planes. The experience was very scary, and Tom clearly demonstrated his flying prowess, and clear calmness under extreme pressure to guide us in to land safely…..


One Response to “Caribbean Trip. Feb 5, 2010”

  1. Tony Bury Says:

    Tom,Dom et al,many congratulations on surviving a very exciting day.


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