Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Disaster and triumph

Well everyone, what a difference a few days make! who could have predicted a week ago as I was flying towards Thailand that I would now be reporting on potential disaster and triumph both in the same sentence! The disaster part, as most will be now well aware of was my very unfortunate forced ditching into a shallow lake beside Nong Prue Airfield last Saturday afternoon. At that point I really did think that this fantastic flying adventure had come to an untimely and very abrupt conclusion...However, the positive team spirit displayed by the local flying club members and friends that day was not just "beyond the call of duty", it was quite simply beyond comparison. (photo below may be used with permission gyroxgoesglobal@gmail.com/)

As I literally sat with my head in my hands trying to come to terms with what had just happened, about 20 people quickly set about recovering the Gyro from its 30 minute swim and recovering all the very soggy equipment and luggage held therein. There followed a scene, when I occasionally looked up from my chair, of fantastic uplifting teamwork. The whole contents of the aircraft had been exploded across the floor of the hanger on large tarpaulin sheets, every item carefully washed to remove the lake silt and rinsed with clean water and laid out to dry in the intense afternoon heat. Your eye was drawn around the hanger, an odd mixture of Dollar bills all individually laid out, next to aircraft service sheets, next to soggy passport, next to camera batteries, electrical equipment etc.etc. and all this done spontaneously and with such drive and purpose. (photo below may be used with permission http://gyroxgoesglobal@gmail.com/)

Within a few short hours all clothing had been washed and dried and all dried items stowed in large plastic barrels ready for sorting (a job I am still working through days later!). The aircraft too, received the same treatment, recovered, unloaded into hanger, engine drained of water and restarted barely two hours after the incident. 

It was a triumph, not just in the physical achievement of so quickly turning the situation around bringing a sense of order to the devastating chaos which was first presented, but it was also a triumph for the positive, spontaneous spirit displayed by all those people, who a few short days before had all been complete strangers to me on my arrival. If we successfully repair the aircraft in the coming weeks, a contributing factor will no doubt be the fact that the "can do" atmosphere pervades here in Thailand and in Nong Prue Airfield in particular. In short, their efforts may well have managed to save the whole show... Cheers N.

15 comments:

  1. It was great to hear these details of what went on last Saturday. It was (in a weird kind of way) lucky that you had your prang next to the Flying club field. Their spirit is a joy to hear about. You can tell from the photos that they are a great bunch of people and their kind of grass-roots flying brings back the early adventurous spirit of aviation that the larger and commercial airfields are missing. A big cheer to everyone at Nongprue and congratulations to you Norman for being our comeback hero. We will all watch your posts on here and the other sites in anticipation of the next chapter in this remarkable story. All power to you and your friends so many miles away :-)

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  2. It's great to read your words Norman, it puts everything into prespective. People are great in times of trouble.You are lucky to have such good company at the airfield. Lets hope the gyro fly's again and you can start a new chapter in your travels.Best of luck for now Norman, take care of yourself and that Autogyro too !!

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  3. Joseph Ferris, CushendallMay 5, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    Great spirit Norman ... people can be fantastic when the situation merits. Hope to see you back in business shortly, that's if you can bring yourself to leave such a nice friendly place! Say thanks to them on our behalf too.

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  4. Sounds like you're hopefully back on the sky road to Larne. We'll be among the group cheering you in do the last circuit before landing!!!

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  5. Major kudos to the folks at Nong Prue Airfield for doing such a remarkable job! I do hope Gyrox will be able to be got back into safe running order so you can continue on your way, but if you have to be stuck somewhere for the moment it sounds as if you couldn't wish for a better place.

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  6. Herograms all 'round - hope you can make repairs asap and continue the great adventure. Best of luck - John Cook (Bad Management)

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  7. Norman, here's a message for your trusty Gyrox:

    "Get well soon and finish off what you started"

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  8. This is a great story. And to think, it's only one small part of the journey. We gave your effort a shout out on FlightLineInternetRadio.com today. Stories about the prevailing human spirit are simply inspiring! Blues skies, continued success on your journey!

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  9. Norman, Great descriptive post! I can "see" the hanger floor covered with soggy items.
    Carry on soon... and God bless.

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  10. Norman ! I thought we said "keep yer feet dry !" :-) ( just kidding )

    Sounds like a close one. Glad to hear everyone has helped out and been so supportive. Lucky you did not get hurt.
    Good job it was not at one of those big airports with all the red tape eh ! Much better help at the small fields.

    All the best
    Richard Bradwell.

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  11. Norman, it takes a special person to continue on
    when faced with serious challenges. You're
    inspiring us all.

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  12. Well done to everyone concerned in this rescue!
    All the very best for a successful rehab of GYROX and continuation of the journey.

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  13. Charles, Ann and Emily Lawn(ex-Toulon, France). Have been following the great adventure daily, glad you survived the ditching unscathed and that you have now fallen amongst a great bunch of people. Time to re-name that machine "The Phoenix". Every good wish in getting back inthe air.

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  14. Hi Norman, I've been following your progress with interest and find your adventure exciting and inspiring. And this blog plays an important part in it: it is the glue that gets the cyber-community behind your cause. That's why I am sorry to see updates from you come in so sparingly. I'd like to encourage you to let us be part of your adventure, difficulties and successes. Even if you feel there's nothing new happening each day and you're bored waiting for some part to arrive (just guessing), I'd love to share in your boredom and frustration. Please keep it going.

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  15. In reply to the previous post from anonymous...obviously Norman is very busy and has a thousand things to do etc, but if you need to feel involved may I suggest that his Facebook page is very active with video's, photos and media articles being added every day. Check it out through the website were it say 'become Norman's friend on Facebook'. Cheers :-)

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