Bush pilots know that wildlife can be hazardous to their health. Aircraft have collided with giraffes and other large animals on various remote African airstrips, and there are numerous stories of downed pilots being hassled by predators after making forced landings out in the boonies.
Lion and hyena are also known to be partial to certain aircraft components, tyres being a documented favourite of the big cats. My father was once left with the (hefty) bill after a gang of hyenas chewed his wingtip navigation lights and strobes (both wings) and then did a runner after dinner.
These pictures from an un-named, hapless but entirely resourceful Alaskan bush pilot take aircraft gastronomy to new heights, however. It seems the owner of this 1958 Piper Cub – a wood-and-fabric taildragger popular with backcountry pilots – had been on a long fishing trip and after landing one day neglected to clean the aircraft properly.
The fishy aroma attracted a passing grizzly bear who, clearly frustrated at not being able to see the lovely “noms” it could smell, took the plane apart in an effort to find it. Aircraft fabric is no match for bear claws. The bear also chomped both tyres for good measure, then departed the scene.
Alaskans are a hardy bunch, however – as tough as the aircraft they fly. The pilot radioed for two new tyres, three cases of duct tape and a couple of rolls of cellophane to be flown in so he could repair his craft and get home.
The result: an ugly but utilitarian repair job. Like they say, the world really is held together with duct tape. So, campers, never leave home without it!
Grizzly bears…..ya gotta love em.
Nah, too greasy for my taste. Even when properly marinated!
Not even with a little sauce bear-naise?
But have the grizzly bears ever eaten the pilots along with the plane? What are the chances of being devoured by a bear while flying in alaska?
History does not relate any specific incidents where both plane and pilot have been eaten. The chances of being eaten while actually flying are probably quite slim, as long as you always look under the seats before take-off. Crafty animals, bears.
An explorer called Bear Grills is just asking for trouble.
I guess he didn’t like the peanut M & M’s
Only the PLANE…;<)
at least he didn’t eat the radio…
Remember the Red Green show? Duct tape- the handymans secret weapon!!
My friend, Judy, was the camp cook where this happened. She brought lots of pictures back and said they had “beary” season with lots of bruin visitors this year.
Thanks, for the comment, Marti. It must be quite a thing having to live with these big guys hanging around all the time.
Not a Piper Cub, the aircraft is an Aeronca Champ.
And nobody else caught it???
Look again. Note the shape of the rudder and vertical fin – sharper than the Champ. Also not the size shape and failure of the rear side window to extend past the trailing edge of the wing. Compare with the inserted link;
Other identifying evidence of the Cub I forgot to mention, is the lack of dihedral on the wing of the Cub, which is very evident on the Champ, and the difficult to see, but present flaps on the Cub. Finally, you can barely make out the “jugs” protruding through the left side of the engine cowl. The “Airknocker” had an absolutely smooth cowl over an enclosed engine.
Can you imagine you land to nowhere and your plane get that kind of damage. What a nightmare.