A Pilot's Story
Chapter Two - Page 2
Now, the engineer in Prince Rupert had told me not to put too much pressure on the nose wheel, as it would ruin the bearings. So to keep peace on the base, I relaxed the pressure on the nose wheel so as not to ruin the bearings. Big mistake. An extra strong gust of wind hit the tail and turned the airplane because there was no pressure on the nose wheel.
To keep it straight, I put the left wing down and right rudder on, but now the right gear had lifted off the ground and the right brake wasn’t doing anything. Unfortunately, the PBY didn’t have the luxury of lift destroying spoilers as the modern jets did. I put the right wing down to get some braking, but now found myself off the runway to the right. Now we were half way down the runway with the airspeed way down, but the end of the runway coming up and no way of stopping before the end.
Choice number one was to try to pull up. The difficulty was that, if the airplane couldn’t get enough flying speed, we would settle into those waves off the end of the runway. That was a fair choice because, even if we went down in the water, we should have been able to survive, as it was a seaplane. The problem was that pregnant woman. Either she or her baby would probably be harmed escaping from the airplane. I loved my job and had a promising career ahead of me with Canadian Pacific.
Choice number two. The airplane had that huge wing. If I could groundloop it (turn it sideways) and dig the wing in, we should be able to stop before going off the end into the water. By this time, we are off the runway to the right. Goodbye career.