Home » Sport Pilot Manages To Avoid Small Plane Crash After Canopy Explodes

Sport Pilot Manages To Avoid Small Plane Crash After Canopy Explodes

by Nolan Hawk

A Dutch female pilot shared a harrowing video capturing the moment her glass canopy unexpectedly burst into pieces in the middle of a flight, and explained how she avoided a small plane crash.

The alarming incident, which occurred during an aerobic training flight on a hot summer day a few years ago when Narine Melkumjan was a novice pilot.

Female pilot shares how she avoided a small plane crash

Melkumjan finally chose to share a the video on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, as a “cautionary tale” for fellow pilots.

“The canopy of the Extra 330LX that I was flying opened in flight and shattered,” Melkumjan described the terrifying experience in the post’s lengthy caption.

“As you can see from the video, it was a challenging experience that could have been avoided if I had made a proper visual check before taking off.”

Melkumjan detailed that a failure in the lock pin of the protective canopy went unnoticed during her pre-flight inspection, which led to the almost fatal situation.

“The flight was a distressing experience, filled with noise, breathing difficulties, and impaired visibility,” she described.

Sport pilot’s errors during aerobatic flight training nearly caused small plane crash

Melkumjan explained that in addition to making pre-flight errors, she “made the mistake” attending the training camp, despite having just recovered from a bout of COVID, which left her sapped of her usual strength.

The video footage, which lasted over four minutes, begins with Melkumjan preparing for take-off. Initially, the flight seems routine until the 2:10 mark.

At that point, the young pilot makes a turn that rolls the plane perpendicularly to the ground, which is when the canopy swings open and abruptly shatters.

Despite being suddenly without the canopy’s protection, Melkumjan can be seen maintaining control of the aircraft, even ducking her head slightly to mitigate the impact of wind.

“Probably the most difficult part was to keep the power in, thus trading my vision and breathing for kinetic energy,” she noted about the flight.

Throughout the ordeal, Melkumjan’s coach provided guidance over the radio, urging her to “just keep flying.” She followed the advice and was able to land safely by the conclusion of the video.

Female pilot nearly involved in small plane crash shares advice for sport pilots

Reflecting on the incident, she noted the additional challenges posed by flying without proper eye protection, which could have potentially kept her out of the sky for good.

“The impact of the It took me nearly 28 hours to fully recover my vision,” Melkumjan said about the damage her eyes incurred during the unprotected flight.

Melkumjan said she regrets taking so long to share the footage of the ordeal, but hopes that fellow pilots would learn from her experience.

“It’s not easy to put my vulnerabilities out there for you all to see,” she remarked. “However, I have come to [realize] how important it is to be transparent about our shortcomings and the lessons we learn along the way.”

“If you are a pilot watching this, I hope that my story serves as a cautionary tale and that you will learn from my mistakes,” her message concluded. “To all my fellow pilots out there, stay safe.”

Sport pilot plunges into the Gulf in small plane crash

The situation could have been way worse for Melkumjan, like it was for fellow pilot Adam Barney, whose plane went down last year while he was flying over the Gulf of Mexico.

The Orlando pilot was near the lower Florida Keys, when his Aero Commander 500, a light-twin piston-engined and turboprop aircraft, suffered from engine failure.

The 40-year-old made the snap decision to crash-land into the water about three miles off of Sawyer Key, where he was able to climb out and tread water in a life vest as his plane sank to the Gulf’s floor.

“I was not scared up until the point I was floating in the water and the plane had disappeared below me,” Barney remarked about the harrowing crash. “That’s when I started to freak out a little.”

To make himself more visible to rescuers, the private pilot took off his life jacket and waved it around to make himself more visible, which luckily worked.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Trevor Pike spotted Barney while in a patrol boat and was able to catch the rescue on video footage.

“Deputy Pike was amazing, professional, he did a great job, was in a great mood, had a good attitude. That man saved my life,” Barney expressed his gratitude for the law enforcement officer.

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