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Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

Warning...New Midair Collision Hazard!

Wed Aug 15, 2001 4:37 pm

This information was published in the Anchorage Daily news, August 13th. I don't think this beats the AS midair with the fish.

Most of the following is per vatium from the daily news article, which was an AP story.

AND NO....I did not make this up!!!!

Apparently last week commercial pilot Rod Judy from Petersburg, Alaska was taking off in his floatplanes to pick up two USFS employees from the Keku islands last week.

He had picked up his passengers and was just about on step when a Humpback whale breeched directly in front of the airplane. For anybody who doesn't know breeching is where the animal jumps completely out of the water.

To quote on of the passengers Burl Weller(from a Juneau Empire interview), "We were just clearing the water, and right dead ahead of us this thing came clear of the water. We where staring right at the whales stomach....It had to be at least 15 feet above the airplane....You could see right under it's tail. He had air under his tail." The pilot commented, "It was impressive. You could see the whale's eye. I've seen them breach a lot. It's common. But I've never seen one straight in front of the airplane that close."

The pilot banked sharply to the left and the whale fell off to the right. The pilot extimated the whale breeched 100 feet ahead of the aircraft. Weller stated that the aircraft missed the whale by about 10 feet but the pilot seem to feel that they had a wider margin then that.

Breaching whales will now offically go on record as a potential hazard to aircraft. The USFS is distributing a notice to its employee's nationwide to be on alert for whales when landing or taking off in floatplanes, Weller stated.

He had one last comment about the incident too.

"If that whale had breeched one second later, we would have been his necklace."

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Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2000 12:16 pm

RE: Warning...New Midair Collision Hazard!

Wed Aug 15, 2001 4:47 pm

 Wow! WOW! I'd love to be that close to a breaching whale, just preferably not in a moving aircraft.