Brad Hill description of Seattle mid-air collision

Download 6.82 Kb.
Size6.82 Kb.
Brad Hill description of Seattle mid-air collision
Here is some more to add to Paul's excellent post:
Paul and I had flown the earlier part of the day team flying for about
3.5 hours or so. We had worked our way from the local foothills and
eventually ended up about 30 miles away over the rugged snowy peaks at
the end of the Skykomish Valley; and the start of the Stevens Pass
highway. This was pretty good considering the day was somewhat windy
and the building high pressure was starting to affect the thermal

During our trek we were in constant radio contact: "turning

left.....turning right......reversing course....." etc........Paul had
brought a high end digital camera with him and was hoping to get some
great in-air photos. By communicating very thoroughly, he was able to
come in for some wonderful no time was there ever any
concern regarding closing rates or distances because we both were
keenly aware of where we both were and what we were doing.

Once we made it to Lake Isabel the lift above the peaks was consistant

enough to allow is to gracefully swoop along the ridgetops, dive
through the snow covered gaps of Zekes Peak and Stickney Peaks and
generally cavort to our hearts content.

After doing this for several minutes I decided to start heading back

to Arlington. While making the jump to Mount Pilchuck, Paul and I
discussed the options: I was tired and after 4 hours I was ready to go
back home......I also realized that there was a strong possibility of
landing out, there was a good headwind and I would have to find lift
before starting the final glide. Paul however was still going strong
and made the decision to go to the east side of Pilchuck and hook up
with a great looking cloud street that headed back towards
3-Fingers......a beautiful set of 7500' peaks.

So......Paul went east and into the lift, and I went west, into the

blue and strong headwind.

Paul and I communicated our decisions and he said he wanted to fly for

another hour or so....and I said I was ready to head for
this point we heard Willy make a call.....of course he had to make a
point of using April Fools day, declaring he was on the ground with
engine problems.......I recall giving him a hard time about that when
he laughed and said "nah.....I am at Jim Creek at 4500 and climbing"
Now Paul chimed in and said he was close to 3-Fingers in good
lift........the next few minutes on the radio were really fun;
listening to Willy and Paul as they described their locations and
eventually hearing them say "hey.....I got you spotted" and something
about the glaciers on WhiteHorse.....All to soon it was evident I was
not a player anymore, kicking myself for not following Paul into the
good lift, but also remembering I was wanting to land.....I called out
and said I was probably going to land about 8 miles short at a small
grass I turned off the radio and 10
minutes later had safely landed.

Fast forward a few hours......Ron and Chuck retrieved me with the

trailer. I owed Ron dinner, so off we went to Arlington, trailer in
tow. Upon arriving at the trailer tiedowns we were a little surprised
to see Paul's and Willy's trailers and cars sitting there with no sign
of either glider......the lift had long since dissapated and they were
not back. We were concerned but figured they would come streaking in
at anytime.

While we were ordering dinner, and still no sign of either glider, I

became really concerned and decided we had to do something.......I
called 911 and had the dispatcher send an officer to check out 2
airports that I figured they may have landed at......but the scary
thing was Willy should have come home, he had a DG-400 and could have
motored back, but to console ourselves we figured he made have landed
with Paul so they could plan a retrieve together. About 20 minutes
later the Sherrif called back and said no gliders at either Darrington
or Concrete.........Willy had a cell phone, we knew if he landed in a
field close to home he would have called us, there is no cell coverage
at the 2 we knew somthing had gone wrong and I told
the sherrif that these two were indeed MISSING and quite possibly had
suffered a mid-air. Now we had the ball rolling and the next several
hours had us in communication with the authorities and with a couple
members of our club who were also making phone calls to try and figure
out what we could do.

I went to bed that night in a motel close to the airport, ready to

help coordinate with Search and Rescue early in the morning since I
was the last to hear Willy and Paul on the radio, and somewhat
familiar with where they might have been.........I went to bed that
night scared to death that 2 of my close friends may be in terrible
trouble up in the mountains and I did not know what else to do. the morning I turned on my cell phone and heard that

Paul had survived and hiked out of the mountains........and all to
soon we found out what happened to Willy.

This event has ripped a hole in my heart.....I lost a very dear friend

and could have easily lost 2. Thank God Paul survived, and as I grieve
for Willy I'll find solace in knowing he died doing something he loved
to do....with tears in my eyes I end this by saying "Blue skies to you
Willy Otis......You will always be in my memories"

Apis 199AK

Download 6.82 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2024
send message

    Main page