Sea King Crew Conducts Emergency Landing at Classic Car Show, Wins First Prize

A 443 Squadron Sea King crew is being commended for their quick
thinking and social prowess after being forced to conduct an emergency
landing at the Saanich Fair grounds last Sunday. After touching down
safely, however, they were pleasantly surprised to receive first place
in the stock vintage category of the classic car show being held at
the venue that weekend.

The aircraft was minutes into a routine training flight out of
Patricia Bay B.C. when the crew smelled smoke in the cockpit and made
the decision to land the aircraft on the nearest available landing
surface, which happened to be the Saanich Fairgrounds. Although
regularly void of activity, the Victoria Annual Motorcar Festival
(VAMF) was occupying the space that weekend, forcing the pilot, Capt
Mark O’Doughteny to carefully touch down in an empty parking stall
between a 1965 Camaro and a ’68 Barracuda.

“I looked down and was amazed to see all those shiny polished cars and
just looked for an empty spot.” said Capt O’Doughtneny, while sipping
a cold Budweiser in the VAMF beer garden when interviewed by “I was a little concerned that one of those old
dudes’ toupees sucked up by my updraft might have flamed out an
engine, but luckily, I was able to deal with the situation and save
the crew. It’s all in a day’s work.”

A Sea King is admired by spectators at the Saanich Fair Grounds

A Sea King is admired by spectators at the Saanich Fair Grounds

Since RCAF regulations require an aircraft to remain in place until a
cleared for flight by airframe technicians, it was present when VAMF
judges made their inspection rounds, leaving quite a positive

“The attention to detail in this restoration is remarkable!” exclaimed
Jonathan Howard, VAMF judge and self-described 60’s aficionado “It’s
got original seats, period correct tires, and even a functional
altimeter which is so rare in these!”

Sea King flight crews proudly adorn this patch on their uniforms

Sea King flight crews proudly adorn this patch on their uniforms

In the end, the Sea King was awarded first prize in the 60’s stock
vintage category. Although reception from the judges was overwhelming,
some of the VAMF car owners were less than impressed with the
helicopter. Witnesses reported that, upon landing, the rotor wash from
the aircraft kicked up enough debris and dirt to tarnish and scratch
many of carefuly polished paint jobs in the area, angering VAMF
members. Car owners approached Capt O’Doughteny angrily demanding

Capt O’Doughteny was quick to quell the anger by handing out roundel
stickers and pins stowed in the Sea King’s cargo compartment. “I
normally keep these around for the ladies,” he later joked from behind
his Ray Ban aviator sunglasses “but today I’m using them so I don’t
get screwed”

Two hours following VAMF’s closing ceremonies, the Sea King was
cleared to fly again. Technicians determined that the smell of smoke
was from a cigarette lit by a crew member who had forgotten to apply
his Nicotine patch prior to flight. The aircraft is scheduled to
return to its normal training schedule this week.

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Categories: NEWS

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