It was early March when a beautiful day full of soul pleasant flights turned into a two (2) months duration SEARCH & RESCUE operation!
Due to a yet to be defined electrical/electronic failure, at the last flight the (till that time problem- free) Beaver started to fly erratically and almost uncontrollably. Achilleas who was on the controls gave his best and succeed to land the ΄΄flying brick΄΄ at the nearby filed which was planted with thick oilseed rape. Of course the loss of a model is ΄΄part of the game΄΄ but nevertheless our disappointment was more than obvious.
The general crush area was mentally marked, but an attempt to find and retrieve the Beaver by Achilles and Dimitris, soon proved to be futileness, due to the unbelievable density and the height of the oilseed rape plants which at the presumable crush area exceed our height (1,83cm) more than an one (1) meter!
Next thought was to call our dear friend Michalis and ask for an aerial surveillance by his MAVERICK drone.
Several overhead area sweeps confirmed our fears that the vegetation has engulfed the Beaver and unfortunately we had to wait till the oilseed rape plants become dry and hopefully less dense for the drone to take a better look. The decision was made, the Beaver was declared probably an almost total loss and the days became weeks…. A second attempt with the drone a month later with the plants almost dry revealed nothing!! The dry oilseed rape plants had transformed themselves into a thick blanket ….. What a frustration!!
Finally the day has come! 15th of June 2018 almost 2,5 months after the crush and the farmer who cultivated the field gave Dimitris an urgent phone call. ΄΄Come as fast as you can at the airfield the combine has initiated the harvest!΄΄
Dimitris was anxiously waiting at the side of the harvested area for the phone call from the co-driver of the three man crew of the combine. Normally the driver is the only occupant of this big complicated machine but don’t forget that this time it was a SEARCH & RESQUE OPERATION!
After a nerve breaking 15 minutes, the most waited triumph call finally came!! ΄΄Dimitris, I spotted it΄΄ the co-driver Vasilis shouted over his phone microphone! After the combine moved to a safe distance, Dimitris rushed to the displayed point and ………. THERE IT WAS resting on its belly waiting to be lifted and transported back to the workshop after two lonely months……
What an emotional moment….. What a relief! Its tail was protruding over the plant blanket now that the plants were totally dry and bent by the constant Southerly wing. At last after two months it΄s wheels touched the tarmac again!
A first inspection proved the rigidity of ESM models! Minor to no damages, an astonishing fact after such a prolonged exposure!
With the aid of two good friends Vasilis and Nektarios, the Beaver was disassembled and transported back home to go through΄΄factory΄΄level maintenance.
The Beaver proudly proved the authentication of the book Immortal Beaver: The World΄s Greatest Bush Plane by Sean Rossiter & Sean Rossier.
WELCOME BACK HOME DEAR FRIEND!!