Airplanes are terrifying. No matter how many times you get into a plane, there's a tiny voice in the back of your head reminding you "this ain't natural," but that's coming from someone who has to put down enough overpriced hard liquor every time he gets into one of those steel death tubes to forget the reality of being unceremoniously tossed across the globe. There's not a lot that will quell that fear either, and every other day there seems to be more good reasons to keep your feet on the ground. As if mechanical failures, disappearances, and hijacking weren't enough to worry about, now there's a report coming from Porterville Municipal Airport in California of a mysterious "pulling" that caused the crashes of two separate airplanes in two days. Luckily, both crashes were minor and no one was seriously injured, but it's a bit disconcerting that we have to add "spooky forces" to the list of excuses for not flying.
The first incident happened on Friday, August 31. According to Visalia Times Delta, a small airplane was landing at Porterville Municipal Airport when it veered off and crashed into a sign at the airport, no one was injured and the plane suffered only minor damage. According to police, the pilot said that she was landing when she felt the aircraft pulling to the side and lost control. All three parties involved (the pilot, the plane, and the sign), are fine, and the plane was able to taxi across the runway back to the hangers.
So far there's nothing out of the ordinary, accidents happen. However, less than 24 hours later a very similar incident occurred involving a completely different pilot and a completely different plane, but the same mysterious pulling.
This time the pilot was taking off when the plane was suddenly pulled off the runway and ended up overturned in a nearby field. Motorists saw the incident and called 911. According to police officer Sgt. Brian Nix:
"His aircraft began pulling to the left and veered off the runway and into the dirt field. As he attempted to maneuver the aircraft to recover, it began to lift and ultimately overturned."
The pilot was uninjured but the plane received moderate damage.
According to the Visalia Times, these incidents remain unexplained. The events at Portersville Airport have been reported to the FAA, who will likely begin an investigation of the phenomena. If anyone want's to dust off their old tinfoil thinkin' cap, here's a little morsel for you: the airport was founded in 1946 after it was transferred to the town from the U.S. Army. Now, it's true that that's the case for a lot of the infrastructure in the U.S., but it's also true that unexplained phenomena and the U.S. military go together like airport bars and awkward conversations.