Smaller Isn’t Always Better!

May 8, 2010

in Airplane Stories

I often fly on both large airliners and smaller aircraft. I almost always prefer flying on noisy, drafty and sometimes rickety small airplanes instead of airliners because small aircraft travel means no hassles with luggage, security and those annoying other passengers.

Naturally, I didn’t think too much of getting on to a Twin Otter to head home from the middle of nowhere. I was a bit surprised to see the pilots were loading so much gear onto a plane, as there was no scale out on the grass runway (probably no scale for a few hundred kilometres) and there were about 10 of us passengers who were going to board as well.

Twin Otters, for those who might not know, are renowned for their STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) capabilities, so I began to worry once we passed the half-way mark on the runway with the bit rubber wheels on the ground. This particular runway ended and there was a nice gentle grassy slope down to a river just beyond it. We reached the end of the runway with the wheels still firmly on the ground, though I could feel, and see, the pilots fighting to get it airborne.

The plane started rolling downhill, and we finally left the ground with mere yards left before the water. I’m still surprised the cockpit didn’t smell like poo after that.

That experience in itself was a bit hellish, but the flight went from scary to scarier about half an hour later when we passengers in the back started to be sprayed by a fluid leaking from somewhere – a fluid which the co-pilot climbed back and confirmed to be hydraulic fluid.

With no choice but to continue to our destination, I stepped off that rickety TO and vowed to never fly with that airline again!

– AJD, Canada

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