Scott McKie tells of His Dad's Experiences in a Mite
These adventures took place in a Mooney Mite that my father owned and flew while he was stationed at Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming. His name was Major Forrest W. McKie. He was attached to the Wyoming National Guard as Liaison Officer to the US Army during the early 1950s. He was later transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the plane went with him when it was sold after he completed schooling there.
The plane's name was WEE MAC (after me, his son) and had a bright red and yellow paint job on it. I can't remember whether the big scallops along the leading edge of the main wings up to half way back towards the tail end were red on yellow, or visa versa. I believe the scalloped patterns were also present along the leading edges of the tail feathers. It had the 65 hp Continental engine in it.
I. The Bald Eagle
One day he was on his way from Cheyenne to Laramie Wyoming at about 5,000 ft. when he saw a "big speck" in the sky circling over a big butte. He banked to go take a look. As the "speck" was above him, he started to ascend to the "specks" altitude when he realized it was a huge bald eagle -- the biggest he had ever seen -- and it was diving on him, talons first. Needless to say, he dove into a cloud, because the size of the bird (estimated 8-foot wingspan, at least) was such that if it had made contact with, say, a wing of Wee MAC, there would have been one less wing. Dad said that he played tag with the bird for about 15 minutes before continuing on his flight.
II. The Jammed Landing Gear
The second story concerns an occurrence while flying in winter as part of his job. As Liaison Officer for three Midwestern states and the US ARMY, he had previously been driving on the road three out of four weeks a month -- that's the reason that the Army purchased the plane for his use, as he had his private pilot's licence. In this occurrence, he had stowed his briefcase in the fuselage just behind the seat.
When he attempted to lower the landing gear, the two prongs that lock the gear system down started to go right through his briefcase. He said that he found that he couldn't reach around the seat (with him in it) and dislodge the briefcase, so finally he called to the airfield and had a number of people stand by "as he was going to try something in order to get down".
He said that he placed one foot on the landing gear lever in order to keep the gear lever down as far as it would go under the circumstances (he estimated about 45 degrees), and successfully landed the plane on the runway in about 6 inches of snow. The requested people immediately came out to the plane and lifted it off the ground while one individual reached behind the seat and extracted the briefcase from the landing gear mechanism. The gear popped down and they lowered the plane into the snow. Dad then taxied into an awaiting space inside a hanger that they had ready for him.
True story, as I have verified it with people that were there that day. It just proves the robustness of the Mooney Mite.
Scott is a former US Navy F4 driver, and is considered "disabled" (according to the State of Washington) from multiple left leg injuries and surgeries most likely stemming from "activities" undertaken while in the US Navy aboard the USS Midway in the area around 'Nam in the early '60s. Presently living with cancer, he resides with his beautiful wife of 26 years in a suburb of Seattle, WA.
Both Scott and the Mooney Mite Site would like to discover the N-number of Wee MAC. If you can help, please send us an e-mail.