"And the one wing went down. The wheel broke off. And the oleo leg stuck in the ground. And that made me do a complete loop around the oleo leg.* And I’m sitting there facing the other way, wondering what happened because this wasn't what was supposed to happen."
I was out doing circuits and bumps, just taking off and landing, taking off and landing. This… it was getting late at night. It was just before sunset. And we were landing into the west, right into the sun. I was coming in and it was a perfect landing, as far as I was concerned. I was coming in. Afterwards, I talked to one of my other buddies, who was sitting over on the runway, waiting for me off the taxi strip there, waiting for me land. And he saw me coming in, and he says, “Russ, put on power, put on power, put on power.” Well, of course, I couldn’t hear him because we didn’t have radios or anything at that time. I came in for my landing and all of a sudden there was nothing underneath me.
And the one wing went down. The wheel broke off. And the oleo leg stuck in the ground. And that made me do a complete loop around the oleo leg.* And I’m sitting there facing the other way, wondering what happened because this wasn’t what was supposed to happen.
I climbed out of the airplane, after the dust settled and what not. I realized that I had crashed. I climbed out of the airplane and got out, and looked around to see if anyone was coming. Nobody was coming. And I saw one of my wheels laying over there. So I walked over and picked up the wheel, and brought it back to the airplane. Sat down on the wing and, all of a sudden, I heard the sirens coming a long, long ways away. They came. The guy who came there, the crew came there, and they said, “Boy, we sure made that in a hurry, didn’t we?” [laughing] I said, “I’ve been sitting here, waiting for you guys.” Anyhow, I was taken in.
They took me in to the hospital. The doctor went over me. “Are you sure you don’t hurt anywhere?” No, I didn’t hurt anywhere, at all. The one thing I do remember, though, of the crash, was that in the training, they kept telling you that the first thing you do in a crash, if you’re still conscious, is to make sure all ignition switches are off, sort of thing. Well, I don’t remember ever doing it, but I apparently turned them all off automatically because when I crashed, the prop on the engine broke — well, it was just shattered. And they said afterwards that the engine had never over-revved.
* The oleo strut is a hydraulic device used to absorb shock in a plane’s landing gear.
Interview with Russell Redman - FCWM Oral History Project
Accession Number CWM 20020121-261
George Metcalf Archival Collection
© Canadian War Museum