Brian Jenkins, who shared with us photos of his gorgeous 172 taildragger conversion that you have see to believe, was kind enough to also share this video of a near-miss with a deer on takeoff. The airport, Nulltown, Indiana, (73II) is one of the most beautiful we’ve seen. Brian points out that, yes, there’s great backcountry flying to be had in his neck of the woods, too.
To the story: Jenkins was rolling and nearing takeoff speed when out of the corner of the eye, he caught some motion moving across the runway in front of him, seemingly on a collision course. The whole thing was being shot by a drone as part of a backcountry flying video series that Jenkins is doing, and the quality is terrific.
What happened, in Jenkins words, is this: “During takeoff I noticed something move on my right side heading towards the runway, [but] not knowing what it was I had to make the decision to either abort the takeoff or try to force it into the air. Most of our style of flying is STOL,” he added, “so I felt confident at 35-37mph I could pull the flap handle to 30 degrees and make the plane come off the ground.”
Still, it was anyone’s call what would happen. He goes on to explain, “As soon as the plane came airborne I would have to stay in ground effect or risk stalling. So after climbing to about eight to ten feet, I pushed the nose over to accelerate and finally saw what the movement was—a deer.”
And it was a happy outcome for Brian, his 172 and for Bambi, as well. Jenkins’ comments make a really important point, too. While intimately knowing where the edges of your airplane’s envelope is and being able to milk the performance out of it in those realms isn’t needed for most of the straight and level flying we do, in cases where you might need every inch you can squeeze out of it, it can pay off, as it did here.
Thanks again for sharing, Brian!