Sunday, May 07, 2006


Ernie's "Close Call".......

My "post" the other day about Dominique Beaulieu's uncle Leon Dubreuil being born in a Norseman elicited some responses from people, and some pilots e-mailed me stating they had been in similar situations. My buddy Ernie Robb from Southeast Aviation in Ketchikan, Alaska, sent me a story regarding an incident that happened to him many years ago............

From: "Ernie Robb"
Subject: Babies and planes...
Date: Sat, 06 May 2006 13:21:43


That was a great story about being born in a Norseman. It reminded me of a close call I had a long time ago when I first started in the aviation business. It was my first summer with Webber Airlines who supported most of the logging camps on Prince of Wales and the Ketchikan area. It was the last flight of the day and I had loaded my Cessna 185 and had two passengers standing by while we waited for the third. She finally showed up and was standing at the top of the ramp very much pregnant. She waddled her way down the ramp and walked up to me and asked if I was the pilot and plane going to Coffman Cove. I assured her I was. I asked her if she was sure she wanted to go, as she was obviously very large with child. She said yes, and that she had just come back from seeing her doctor and he said that she still had two weeks to go.

This flight had two stops about ninety miles from Ketchikan and I had planned on going to a logging camp at Naukati first, then over to Coffman Cove. After seeing her in the delicate condition she was in, I decided to drop her off first and then take the two loggers to Naukati about twenty minutes further away. I’m sure you can guess what was about to occur, and that’s exactly what happened. After dropping her off, and as I was landing at Naukati, she was having her baby. I saw her the next morning when she arrived on the mail plane and she and her infant were doing just fine. She handed me her baby and said we were only fifteen minutes away from having that little bundle of joy on my plane.

I have no idea what I would have done had I went the other route and she and I had been alone in the plane. I took a few classes after that which included what to do in such an emergency as this, but I was never that close again. I’ve seen one born on the dock and one born in the ambulance, but she and I would have been ninety miles in the bush and that’s as close as I ever want to come. Hope all is well at your house and your getting all geared up for another fantastic summer. Take care and keep up the good work.


Talk about a "close call". Alone in an airplane 90 miles in the bush with a pregnant woman who is giving birth. I-yi-yi! Due to Ernie's "bush smarts", that never happened because he had the "good sense" to drop her off first. I have been close to the same situation myself a couple of times, but have always made destination before the population of the earth was +1. I remember one time I was flying in Little Grand Rapids and we received a call from the Pauingassi Nursing Station regarding a pregnant woman. Little Grand and Pauingassi are only 10 miles apart, and they needed an aircraft to transport this pregnant woman to Little Grand. Pilot Gerry Zylich and 1959 C-180 CF-LDW were the only "pairing" that was available short notice, and off Gerry went to retrieve this woman. Apparently she weighed about 250 lbs. and was carried by some "locals" to the dock to meet Gerry. They "shoe-horned" her in the airplane, and language was a barrier, because she kept yelling and Gerry couldn't understand her. Gerry was a nervous pilot to start with, and he later told me the 5 min. ride to Little Grand Rapids seemed like an eternity. She never gave birth in his plane, and an hour later he was giving her a ride back to Pauingassi after seeing the Doctor in Little Grand. Apparently the only problem was that she "couldn't take a leak"! Anyways, I can just imagine a 250lb. woman giving birth in the air in the back of a Cessna 180. Anyhow, great story, Ernie, thanks for sharing it. All is well at our house, and I hope that is the same at yours. Enjoy your summer, and your "priceless scenery". Alaska is the "jewel" of North America.

WEBSITE - Southeast Aviation


Peter Besenyei wins the Red Bull Air Race in Barcelona, Spain yesterday. There were 1.3 MILLION spectators watching the race. That is just "unfathomable"! 1.3 MILLION! The Red Bull Air Race World Series is a fantastic event. Next race is May 27 from Berlin, Germany.

WEBSITE - Red Bull Air Race World Series

"Outstanding" skill, Peter! Posted by Picasa

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