The Flemish pilot is an expert in emergency landings, but has now crashed himself |  Abroad

The Flemish pilot is an expert in emergency landings, but has now crashed himself | Abroad

Rick, a pilot from Aalst, says this to all the student pilots he’s trained over the past decade. A lot. Says a lot, his girlfriend at Aero Club Brugge. Their flying club is located at the air base at Ursel in East Flanders. Anyone who flies indoors or out knows Rick as an experienced pilot, with hundreds of thousands of air miles on the table.

Book after the previous collapse

In the last century already crashed a small sports aircraft. It was the impetus, he says, to write I’m safeIt is a book dedicated to pilots on safety and accidents. “He gives lectures at home and abroad and has won many awards for it,” says a fellow pilot from the club. The latter is correct. He was once awarded the General Aviation Safety Award.

The man who saw his big dream – to become an F16 pilot – stranded with a minor problem with his back, always gives his student pilots the same basic rules in the event of an air problem or an emergency landing: “Low as slowly as possible. Also keep the wheels and try to raise the front Your plane just before the collision.” The theory does not always turn out to be practical.

Plane or rescue?

The flight coach took advantage of the fine weather on Friday afternoon to bring his white club Dyn’Aero MCR-01 out of the stable once again. For the entire time he was legally flying less than 15,000 feet, he was diverted below the maximum height restricted 450 metres. There was no cloud to be seen.

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Suddenly things went completely wrong over Brugge. Rick patiently observed how the sports plane’s turret was loosening and had to decide – just as he knew it – in a split second: either make a hard emergency landing or pull out the parachute on the spot. According to experts, this should absolutely be done above 10,000 feet (converted to a height of 300 meters), otherwise it will be too late. He was either trying to save himself by abandoning his plane or a desperate attempt or nothing. Choose an emergency grip with a parachute.

Vertical still unstable

Immediately, the device quickly lost its altitude over the Bruges region of Saint-Andres, much to the astonishment of the locals who suddenly heard some faint explosions. The video clip shows the device being pushed down. An experienced pilot would normally be able to land his plane horizontally, but this was not possible because a line of parachute could get stuck behind the tail. You might think that there is an absolute panic for an occupier. However, the experienced pilot remained calm.

The plane immediately after the crash.

The plane immediately after the crash.

I got out of the wreck myself

Seconds later, the emergency landing was a reality. Rick landed vertically, with the nose of the plane on the ground. It was as if a meteor had suddenly fallen from the sky. The sightings were unlikely, as the locals didn’t realize what they had just seen. The experienced pilot himself, whom you hear briefly in the video, got out of the wreck himself and inspected the damage.

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Just a head wound

While the firefighters, police and ambulance are arriving, try to recover somewhat from the roadside shock. A little later he got into the ambulance for a medical examination at the hospital. Miraculously, he sustained only minor injuries: he suffered a concussion and a head injury. Because his experience as a coach allowed him to limit the speed of a fall to a minimum, the medical damage isn’t that bad. “The fact that the damage is not greater can safely be called half a miracle,” says Dirk Van Nouvel, Chief of Police in Bruges.


The plane itself, as it appears in the Bruges Aero Club, is ready for the scrap heap. “The engine has been irreparably damaged.” They find it so special that pilot Rick can still narrate this perilous adventure. Moreover, it does not seem unlikely that it will soon fly again over Ursel and the surrounding area. Or, as he himself says during his lectures: “It is a great sensation, ten times more fun than riding a motorbike. It is really addictive.”

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