Montaine's Bird Strike 1977
A version of this story is in François Dabin's French Connection Airshow biography.
Years ago when I told it to François I had not found the slides, which I just located.
Here's how I remember it now...
At Stormville Airport, just after an airshow or Mudry Contest, Daniel & Montaine
got ready to fly both CAPs back to Sky Acres. I drove their car from Stormville
to Sky Acres to meet them there. I waited and waited for them. After a long while
I heard them coming; but I heard only one engine.

It was Daniel.

He explained what happened. As they took off and did a farewell low pass in
loose formation, he heard a BANG. Above her, he rolled almost inverted to see
Montaine's CAP was still in flight.

Off the departure end of the runway was a field of corn with birds feeding.
Montaine saw one heading right for her and instinctively pushed the stick forward,
unfortunately making the windshield angle perpendicular to the bird,
which came straight through.

Meanwhile, observers initially thought Montaine has bailed out.
But it was her jacket that got sucked out.

The bird struck her in the face and knocked her glasses off. She was bleeding
from a cut above her nose. As she told me, miraculosly (and typical of her)
she was able to get all the way to final approach and only seeing the altimeter,
made a safe landing!

We took Montaine to the hospital emergency room. I'll never forget her registration
in the ER. The seated nurse asked Montaine what happened. In a very matter-of-fact
way Montaine said she was flying in formation at over 100 mph and a bird came
through the windshield and hit her.

Pen in hand, the nurse stopped writing, paused, never looked up, waited a little longer,
then continued to write.

We waited a long time for a doctor. I remember a young boy who came in after
Montaine was treated for a cut finger, while Montaine, with a possible head injury,
waited for hours!

She was not diagnosed with a concussion; but I remember the energetic Montaine
was lethargic for several days afterward.


The day after the accident

Note pieces of corn and the bird.


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Added February 16, 2019


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