Sometimes in Dog Rescue Flying Things Don’t Go as Planned

Sometimes life throws you a curveball. That’s exactly what happened on the return leg of our dog rescue flight to Morristown, NJ. Here is the audio of that in flight emergency.

While returning to Raleigh, NC from Morristown, NJ we were flying just above the clouds at 10,000 feet when we suddenly started losing all oil pressure. The immediate concerns was if the engine in our Cessna 182 would seize and we’d suddenly become a glider. When the oil pressure dropped to 0 it was a real possibility.

The arrow points to the location where our average flight took a turn for the worse.

You can see the steepness of our descent to the airport in this image. The arrow points to the moment we headed for the field.

The entire experience wasn’t a tragedy. The Air Traffic Control system operated well, emergency services was on the spot, and the people at Easton Airport with Maryland Air were so caring and kind.

And it reinforced the awesomeness of the the new glide advisor update in the Foreflight software Steve uses in flight. You can see his iPad in the picture below.

The Foreflight software provides a lot of information during flight but in this case it helped Steve always know the airport was in range if the engine completely quit.

Most of our emergency happened as we descended through 8,000 feet of solid clouds.

On this flight we had eight dog passengers who all uneventfully made it from Raleigh, NC to Morristown, NJ on the first leg. The 62 pound momma dog was a bit of a chicken and wanted to sit on Pam’s lap.

One of the pups rode up with Steve as the co-pilot. This dog had been left by its owner in the after hours drop box at a local shelter.

The rare and unexpected issue had been caused by a single gasket failing. The gasket was located near the oil filter so almost all our engine oil had jumped overboard as we began our emergency descent to the airport.

What we found after we landed was a big dripping mess under the aircraft and the trail of oil to our stopping point.

After we landed and turned off the runway were were greeted with a fire truck coming at us. Steve made a quick turn to get out of it’s way since he didn’t want to block the engine from where it was headed. It didn’t occur to him it was headed for us.

This event just reinforces that all dog rescue pilots can face an unexpected life altering event while doing good things. Flying is fun but serious and you always have to be prepared for the worst. Up until now the worst was always just really bad dog farts. This episode now tops all of that.

8 thoughts on “Sometimes in Dog Rescue Flying Things Don’t Go as Planned”

  1. Steve and Pam — I watched your video of the emergency landing and my stomach was in my throat. I am so glad the pilot dog angels were watching over both of you. Hope you get your plane back as soon as possible. Happy and safe flying.

  2. you did what is the cardinal rule “1st fly the plane” then the other “what ifs” are secondary. Glad all souls are well.

  3. Hello Steve & Pam. My name is Marsha Whitehurst & I just happened to come across your website about your nonprofit canine rescue foundation through flight rescues & I was very intrigued with your organization & your story. I even watched the short video clip that WRAL ran the story about your N/P Foundation & that the reporter who broke the story even got to ride along with you on one of your rescue missions. I was a bit envious of her changes to fly along with you guys on that rescue mission to pick up the dog that was being rescued & or going to it’s newly adoptive forever home. But, I was just wondering if you ever come to the rescue of cats as well even though you’re a primary dog rescue foundation? I ask because over my last 30 plus yrs of my life I’ve had cats that came into my life by way of them adopting me. But, I also had a little Shetland Sheepdog for 13 yrs. & then mated her once where she had 3 puppies. Sold or gave 2 of them to families who wanted them & my parents kept the runt of the litter. Then I lost my Sheltie when I was in a very bad car accident(she passed away at the site of the crash & in my arms). She was my loving little fur baby & I still miss her to this very day. It was only after her death when I started getting adopted by all of my cats 7 to 8 in total. But now I too have lost them all through various kinds of deaths with the last one passing away in & around 2012. And I’ve been yearning for another companion wheather it be a cat or dog. But, it’s kind of tough getting one because I stay with my mother who doesn’t want to bother with one & so I can’t get one.
    I had even thought about doing volunteer work with SAFE HAVEN for cats which isn’t very far from where I live but never got around to doing so. And now with these two viruses I don’t know if they’re still having volunteers coming in to help. Which brings me back to when I saw your website about PilotDog where you fly all over the different areas to rescue dogs that intrigued me because I love flying & I have worked at Six Forks Animal Hosp(SFAH) as a kennel assistant taking care of both dogs & cats. And the thought of volunteering in helping with your in flight canine & possibly some cat rescues where I could just sit & comfort the animals during the flight to wherever they’re going I would love to do very much. That is if you’re taking on volunteers to help with this kind of work. It’s been at least 3 to 4 yrs since I worked at SFAH. But all in all I have a very deep love for ALL ANIMALS big & small. And I would like to know if you are still taking on volunteers. Would love to hear from either one of you about this. And thank you for hearing me out & I apologize for being so long winded in this Email.
    Marsha Whitehurst

  4. Undeniably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the net the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks


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