So how did it look from the outside? And what happened to the pilot? was he fired? Reminds me of another incident at Orange. 1977-80ish. C-185 load of jumpers, pilot just started to taxi out, he later said he just started to think, "Now where are those gas pumps?" BBBRRRRAAAAAAAAP. He found em. Taxied right into them, I was near and looked when I heard the noise. The engine stopped. the prop chopped the gas pump pretty bad, sliced the hose off,mangled the pump etc. There was a couple of seconds of brain fart with gas pouring out of the pump. Then the pilot yelled "GET OUT". Fastest 5 way exit I ever saw, followed by the pilot. I think what saved them from a fire was the fact that it was an aluminum prop, so it didn't spark. The prop was mangled,destroyed, as was the gas pump. It was an accident waiting to happen. 4' or 5' high gas pump sitting out in the middle of the apron. No flag sticking up to warn taildraggers that can't see low right in front of the plane. Really lucky, no fire, no injuries. Later at the Bar "Mikes Place" A bunch of us were hanging out. The pilot came in, can't remember his name. Sits at the bar, some of us say sorry, tough break etc. but for the most part we left him alone at the bar like he had some kind of bad karma that might rub off on us. Wonder what happened to him also?
It was taking off to the south on 19. Got about half way down and then shut down. Copilot fixed the problem, the plane back taxied, and took off normally. As to the pump thing, the only one I remember was a 180, 44C, which had no jumpers in it. There were railroad ties around the pump and the pilot was taxiing to get fuel when the wheels hit a tie. The plane went up on its nose and burst into flames. Mike, the pilot, got out safely but the plane was totalled. The staff immediately painted out the PI logo and markings to avoid bad publicity pix.
When the plane went in at Richmond, the prop came THROUGH the side of the plane. The prop lifted up Swoop's leg and PINNED it by the cloth of his jumpsuit leg, about head high on the inside wall of the plane. As I recall, it broke his leg. They cut a swatch out of the leg of his jumpsuit to get him down.
I went in the plane by myself that night where it still lay in the cornfield, and I saw the scrap of Swoop's jumpsuit pinned BY THE PROP to the wall. It was a sight I shan't forget.
I was on that load with my 10-way team, Westwind from Greene County, Ohio. I didn't even look behind me as we scrambled out of the plane after it bellied in. I still don't know why the one guy jumped out when we were only 12 or 15 feet off the ground. One of my teammates, Bill Brandon, broke his ankle but the rest of my teammates and me were fine.
So that's the story behind the photo of the blue DC3 sitting on the trailer in Andy Keech's "Skies Call 2" book. I have stared at that photo many times over the years looking at the damage and that prop chop, wondering if any one got nailed by it. Robes
Yea...I got nailed by it. Thought I'd reply since you're an Aussie. Ken Hills, also an Aussie house sat my house for a few months after that event as I didn't get out of hospital til September. My back was to that door that was taken off its hinges by the left prop. Fuuny thingis that a few months previously I was by that same door going to altitude at Pope Valley, Ca and Dan Kitley was on board (aircraft mechanic) and told me never to locate myself there, cause if that prop ever came off...it was coming right through that door. The rush of competition and I being on 4th 10-way for exit had us loaded forward...guess that distracted me from what Dan had told me.