Witnessing an Emergency (and almost becoming one myself)

July 2021

Interesting flight yesterday.

Had just completed a touch-and-go. A Cessna 172 had turned crosswind ahead of me, then I heard the radio call: "Auburn traffic, Cessna XXX is coming back, I've got problems."

For a moment, it looked like he was swinging back to land downwind (he had just turned for the downwind leg, this wasn't an "impossible turn" situation. I swung to the right and called, "Fly Baby is getting out of your way...."

He continued on downwind. I followed behind. I think he was no more than 500 AGL at any point. As he got ready to turn base, he was VERY low. I was cringing, because he was over the downtown area. He flew a wider pattern than I would have, but it held together and he got set up on final.

He was, actually, too high when he made it back to the airport. But the runway is ~3800 feet long, and he managed to touch down and roll out to the turnoff at the end. "Nice job," I transmitted.

The interesting thing is what MY airplane was doing. I realized all my attention had been outside the cockpit. I was ~300 feet below pattern altitude, with the throttle just at 2000 RPM or so.

All came out fine, but one *does* have to remember to fly their own airplane, first.....

Ron Wanttaja

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