Friday, December 15, 2006
This is all about the animals.
Cats are free and dogs are slaves. That's my take on the whole dog/cat thing.
The best kind of cat is a dog. That's Lisa's take on it. Clearly we have some negotiating to do.
Our contest closing date is coming up shortly, and it's still anyone's guess as to whether we will be dressing in tuxedos or furry suits for our big day. I came out of the gate strong, but I have slacked over the past couple of weeks and Lisa has been at it every day now so I'm worried that she might overtake me.
Anyway, on to airplanes.
I have ended the lives of 4 animals whilst flying.
The first one was the most violent. I was departing Toronto's Buttonville airport in a Cessna Conquest II, a twin-engine turboprop that is mostly used as an executive transport. I lined up on the runway and poured the coals to 'er. Through about 60 knots, the left engine surged and went "Whooomph!". I figured that was a good a reason as any to reject the takeoff, and we came to a stop at the end of the far runway. Tower said the left engine was smoking, and I taxiied back to the ramp and shut everything down. Maintenance came out and took a look at it - they said it was most likely a bird-strike, but I was skeptical as I hadn't seen anything before the engine's little "event". Anyway, a day later it was confirmed that a sparrow had been sucked into the left engine's air intake and the resulting fragments had damaged three fan blades and caused all sorts of commotion inside the engine case. The engine was a write-off and had to be replaced, which was not cheap. I had only flown the plane for a few hours before this happened, and I wasn't sure if this sort of thing was a frequent event.
The second bird was a mid-air collision with a seagull. It took place in Goderich, just as I was joining final for landing. No big deal, it just bounced across the left wing and left big streaks along the side of the airplane which took me hours to clean later.
The final bird (so far) was another seagull, this time on landing in Kenora, Ontario in the MU-2. The seagull bounced off the nose of the plane, which broke its neck and left the bird crumpled on the runway. The plane was undamaged - the MU-2 is built like a tank. A guy drove up in a pickup truck and threw the bird into the back, and that was that.
The 4th event was a gravel runway, a stray dog and a Piper Navajo. I'll spare the messy details.
I'm hoping I don't kill any other animals, or fresh humans during my flying time.