My Shittiest Landing
by Stewart Trowsdale
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Someone told me I should write this story down as it always gets a few laughs, so here goes.
No pilot always has perfect landings especially when they’re a new pilot. I was a novice pilot when I decided to go fly at a site named Kaufmans near Soda Creek and Williams Lake. The wind on launch was perfect, straight up and steady and the field we had permission to land in was a huge cow pasture and had a windsock in it.
As I flew over I saw the windsock was filled up and stretched out, that meant I had a strong headwind to land in. That was fine with me as it’s easier to land in a headwind and I still wasn’t very good at it. Unfortunately for me I assumed the wind was blowing the same direction as it was on launch. I was 180 degrees off!
The area of the field I chose to land in seems to have been the main hangout for the cows. A lot of them did a lot of socializing there and it had rained overnight so the field was completely covered in several inches of very wet and sloppy cow shit.
A beginner hang-glider has big training wheels on, so if the pilot screw up the landing they can roll along on them while the pilot slides on their belly. A downwind landing is the glider airspeed plus the windspeed equals ground speed. I touched down at a ridiculous speed, my feet were kicked back and I splashed down on my belly and started a long high speed rolling skid. There were bow waves of shit blasting off my shoulders and rooster tails of shit flinging straight up off the wheels.
As I bounced and skidded along, the glider started to ground loop and skid along sideways, the left wheel blasted a rooster tail of shit right in my face.
After I came to a stop, I got up and shook some shit off my hands. I wanted to scream “oh shit” but I couldn’t open my mouth because there was shit on my lips and couldn’t wipe it off because there was also shit on my sleeves. There was shit up my nostrils as well. I tried a farmers nose blow but it didn’t work, all it did was waste time. I didn’t want to suck shit further up my nose and was running out of air. I frantically opened up my harness and jacket looking for clean cloth. A lot of shit was blasted through my collar and down my neck so there was none to be found. I’m sure I was turning purple and was making some pathetic whining noises when I finally found a patch of clean t-shirt down by my hip.
While I was sorting all this out the cows came over to check this thing that had just splashed down in their yard. I was soon surrounded by a herd of curious cows and noticed that a few of them started sniffing, licking and pawing their shit covered hooves on my wingtip. I ran over to shoo them off but another group was also going at the other wingtip so I end up running back and forth shooing the cows away and they wouldn’t go.
That shit was slippery and the next thing you know my feet came right out from under me, I landed on my ass, begun rolling around scrambling on my hands and knees, slipping and sliding, down I go again, roll around in it some more, three times!
The cows eventually went away leaving me thoroughly saturated or should I say shiturated. I packed up my shit covered gear and started to walk to the car, plodding along, shit squishing through my toes in my shoes. The sun was drying the shit in my hair into crusty clumps and I was shedding crumbs of dried shit as I went along. Finally got to my car and reached into my pocket for my keys and wound up with a handful of shit with keys poking out of it.
Now I was thinking how can I keep my car as clean as possible, maybe driving commando with my pants down but even my underwear was full of shit. I did have seat covers and I could always buy new ones so off I went.
It was a two hour drive home, a long two hours sitting there, stinking. The one thing on my mind was having a shower and how to do it without getting shit everywhere. Tile floor to the laundry room was no problem, then duck walk holding two newspapers under my feet across the carpet, done. It was heaven when the shower started followed by panic when the clumps of dried shit in my hair plopped off and plugged the drain. I knew there was a plunger somewhere but by the time I found it I had dripped and smeared shit everywhere.
The clean-up was an ordeal, especially my harness. There was an amazing amount of shit crammed into every nook and cranny, lucky for me my parachute wasn’t touched.
It was a shitty experience but I learned a big lesson:
PAY GREAT ATTENTION TO THE WIND DIRECTION.