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.
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Added February 16, 2019