Tales from the Bonfire
By Ro Asgari
We were having a boogie in 2001, I think (I need to go dig up my logbook), and I had about 30 jumps. This was going to be my first time out of a CASA, and I got to sit right by the tailgate, which was extra exciting for me. We started down the runway and took off with no problems, and I remember thinking how loud it was compared to the King Air at my home drop zone. It was an amazing view out of the back of that thing. I couldn’t stop staring.
I remember checking my altimeter once and we were at 800 feet or so. About two seconds later, there was a loud boom, and the plane banked hard to the left side. I was still facing out of the tailgate, and saw something circular flying away from us really fast. I didn’t know what it was then, but knew something was very wrong, and I wanted to get out of that plane real bad!
I turned my back to the door thinking I could hold on to my seatbelt and pop my reserve to get yanked out of the back. I wanted some fabric out, at least, before I hit the ground or caught some trees. I hadn’t fully committed to my plan when I looked up toward the cockpit, and the pilot in the left seat was looking straight back at me shaking his head no! I assume he could tell what I was thinking about doing, and that maybe it was not a great idea, so I sat down.
They kept the plane in that same turn, taking it all the way back to the airport. We landed on the runway, and it took the entire length to stop that thing, but the pilots did a great job. We came to a stop without any further incident. We disembarked right there at the end of the runway, and as we were walking away, we all looked back. Then I realized what that circular object I’d seen was: The left prop was gone.
Crazy day, but a cool memory!
Ro Asgari | D-25633