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DISASTROUS AERIAL ADVENTURE
MEN LAND ON HEADS IN CREEK
lives ARE SAVED BUT PLANE GOES UP IN FLAMES
SURVIVORS HAVE STORY TO TELL


Left to right: Clyde Banks, photographer, and David Logg on the propeller.  Photo courtesy of Doug Powles  Ultimatebook@aol.com. and Digital Journey into History and Art

From newspaper article describing the attempt by air mail pilot David Logg of Bellingham, Washington, to reach the summit of Mt. Baker in 1920. 

Failing to maintain altitude Logg coolly and deliberately selected the best place there was anywhere within reach and managed to check the fall by winging the branches of some trees between which he settled into the bed of the creek. His decision and management brought the trip to an abrupt finish without injury to himself or his companion though with a total loss of their plane by wreckage and consuming flames.

Logg stated, when interviewed later, that: "We were steadily losing altitude in the light atmosphere, flying at about 3,000 feet, and the air currents were bad. Had moved to this side of the valley so Banks could
get some close-up views and we were only a few hundred feet above timber. We were hemmed in by mountains and when I tried to turn round I found it impossible and brushed the tips of the trees clearing one of the ridges This damaged our ship, slackened our speed and made it necessary to land somewhere. The creek bed in the next gulch afforded the only choice there was to save our hides, so I cut out the gas, pointed her nose down and landed in between the big, tall trees where I could see running water."

Banks explained it this way: "I was busy snapping as many views as possible, but when I saw what happened and realized that the plane was crippled and falling with nothing but forest to land in where we would probably be killed, I just made up my mind that my time had come and complacently waited and watched Logg without saying a word. He seemed to be taking it as cool as in an ordinary landing and I could do nothing but wait. There was a lot to think about but nothing you could do.

"The plane crashed through among the limbs without hitting any tree trunks until just at the bottom it brought up suddenly with a heavy jolt against two or three big trees smashing it and turning it over.
I was thrown out, camera and all, without getting much hurt and Logg came crawling out from under the wreck apparently all right.

"In a very short time the machine was ablaze. I found my camera in working order and took some pictures, although the light was not very good in among the tall trees. Logg and I fought the fire and prevented it spreading to the timber before we thought of going."
                  
In their effort to find a way down the mountain to the trail along the Middle Fork, the Thunder Creek gulch was so steep and broken by cascades and falls that it could not be followed so they took to the hogbacks.

After a couple of hours hard work they reached the ranger's station and phoned into Deming and were met at Heisler's by an auto and brought back to Bellingham.  Though a failure, this flight, like Colman's first trip to Baker, starts a new developement. 

 

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copyright 1999 Nancy Allison Wright, President Air Mail Pioneers


 
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