Maybe Some of Us Shouldn’t Fly

In 1996, at a meeting of the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association, a fellow pilot, one of the guys I learned to fly with, told us he departed Guthrie, Oklahoma to fly to Ada under low ceilings and visibility, without any charts. He tried to “scud run” under the clouds until he passed under the top of a television broadcast tower. He urgently climbed into the clouds without a clearance, but couldn’t remember any of the Oklahoma City approach/departure frequencies (I know them by heart: 124.4, 120.45, 126.4). He called Fort Worth Center, who handed him off the Oklahoma City. When his transponder wouldn’t work, even on 7700, they gave him a vector based on primary (not transponder) radar contact.

In early 1993, when my pilot class and I were doing our flight work, a fellow student did his long cross-country flight to Stillwater, then Enid, then back to Ada. When he returned, one fuel tank was almost empty, and the other tank was completely full. Since the fuel selector in the Cessna 150 is either “off” or “both,” he must have simply forgotten to fill one of the tanks when he stopped.

The pilot of one of the airplanes I rent made a forced landing in it near Tecumseh, having run it out of fuel. He told authorities the right fuel gauge indicated he still had half a tank left.

The same week I got my pilot’s license, May 1993, a 30-year pilot made a forced landing about 10 miles north of the airport after his engine ran out of oil and failed. The pilot was notorious for getting in and flying his airplane with no preflight checks of any kind.

This is my home airport, Ada, Oklahoma, KADH.
This is my home airport, Ada, Oklahoma, KADH.