29th June 18:48
For Maule Driver
Wrong impression! SOB! This is what's it's like flying in New Jersey!!
No one gets a break.
Well, thanks for the memories old buddy. For anyone else's
entertainment, I'll share the story lest we be accused of just wasting
bandwidth on non-soaring crap.
Yes, I crashed my PIK near Frackville PA. Frackville used to be a strip
mining town (is there anything worse than having been a mining town?).
It's pretty much in the middle of nowhere but is surrounded by some of
the sweetest ridge flying around (remember the glorious Mahantango(sic).
Trying a 300k O&R one fine weekday, I got low and setup an approach for
Frackville's Schuylkill Mall parking lot, the only landable spot within
reach. There was plenty of room, I setup a full approach, but frankly
just botched it in the face of the 20knot breeze blowing at the time. I
landed well short of the lot in a forest of stunted trees.
Glider totaled (both wings, tail, canopy, etc) but this pilot was fine.
Sitting in the wreck, I keyed the mike and told my friends that
Foureyes was OK. This was going to be an all day retrieve - and not a
Anyway, I walked up to the nearby mall, emerged from the forest and
walked across the lot. Even though I was still in a bit of shock it was
clear to me that no one saw the wreck. But people were staring at me,
intensely! It was if blood was trailing down my head, or I was missing
a limb. I checked. No, I seemed to be all there.
Since this was in the pre-cellphone era, I walked in the mall to make
the calls. At least 4 hours, probably 6 before I was getting out.
Nothing to do but walk around, drink coffee and reflect on the errors of
my ways. But every time I walked outside on this blustery post-frontal
ridge day, people would stare, really intensely. Guys were leaning out
their car windows and looking me dead in the eyes. Very strange.
At this point, I should mention that I am a black person. Brown really.
I didn't look like anyone else in Frackville that day. But that's
normal on any outlanding, especially on the expeditions required to find
KK's carcass on a typical day. So I wasn't surprised at being noticed
or even getting a second glance, but the stares were *intense*.
As you can imagine after a crash, I spent some time at the edge of the
parking lot looking out over the ridges reflecting on the flight, the
approach and the crash. People almost wrecked their cars slowing down
for a look at me. Sometimes 2 or 3 at a time. I tried to talk to some
of them but while the guys would look me right in the eyes, no one would
say a word or stop their car completely What the hell was going on?
Turns out there is perhaps a lower rung for a washed out strip mining
town - that giant prison! I saw it on my way in - the only other
sizeable open spot near this forlorn ridge town. Frackville was
apparently now a prison town. I can only assume that many people worked
there or knew people who did. And the only people that looked like me
were perhaps inside the walls... or escaping.
I retired to the coffee shop and waited for the fiberglass coffin.