When It’s Okay To Shout “Oh Crap!”

Pictured above is a small plane in front of a big mountain. The plane is on a runway at Pierce County Airport — also known as Thun Field — about an hour south of Seattle, Wash. The mountain is Mount Rainier, a large active stratovolcano in the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest. If you had been flying over Thun Field in early 2009, you would have seen more than just the mountain. You would also have seen a lot of portable toilets, and for one pilot that was a very good thing. Thun Field doesn’t get a lot of use, but it does serve amateur pilots and hobbyists. In May of 2009, one such pilot took off in a Cessna 182 to destinations unknown, but he didn’t get very far. The plane was about 150 feet in the air when the engine quit. The pilot tried to turn around, but to no avail. On his descent, the plane hit a fence and flipped over. In most cases, that would have spelled doom for the plane and pilot alike, but in this case the pilot lucked out. It just so happens that the portable toilets took the brunt of the crash, cushioning the plane and leaving the the pilot no worse off for the wear. While the plane was damaged, it could have been much worse had it not been for the toilets. The 67-year-old pilot walked away without a scratch, though he likely needed a shower and change of clothes.