Friday Foibles: And The Winners (Losers) Are?
With pilot friends like this, who needs Comedy Central? The pilot of an experimental RV-6 in Michigan told a friend to get to the beach and watch for his flyby. As promised the sleek two-seater buzzed at 100 feet, made three passes—one is never enough—pulled up in a steep turn, stalled and hit the water, securing the 2012 Bronze Stupid Pilot Tricks Award.
Earning silver with a display of star-spangled patriotism was the helicopter pilot who on July Fourth attached a flag to the skid of his experimental Rotorway and lifted it so all could see, but O, say could they see the flag rip lose, entangle itself in the tail rotor and bring Old Glory to an inglorious end.
Taking home the gold was the non-certificated “pilot” in Georgia who’d recently purchased a Destiny XLT powered parachute—picture a swamp buggy with a canopy—and tried to impress his neighbors with his ability to learn on the fly. Spectators in the cul-de-sac watched the “pilot” unpack the chute, start the engine and begin the takeoff roll. It was then that this non-certificated “pilot” aborted the flight, concerned that he might hit nearby houses.
This sort of responsible aeronautical decision-making gets you lost to history, so our hero loaded his Destiny onto a trailer and relocated to a nearby elementary school to re-enter the competition. He was back in contention.
After unpacking the rig, the “pilot” took the front seat, started the engine and flew. Once airborne, he decided it wise to fasten the seatbelt while making two circuits of the elementary schoolyard. It was then that he realized he’d never checked to see if there was any fuel in the tank. There was, but not much. The engine quit, and the non-certificated “pilot” glided into phone lines and crashed.
For persistence in stupidity, with added points for choosing an elementary school venue for displaying said deeds, we present the coveted Stupid Pilot Tricks Knucklehead Award. Although the FAA was powerless to take action against the certificate the “pilot” did not possess, it did revoke his playground privileges for a month.