Road to Nowhere.

Zupp Forced Landing

I’m on a road to nowhere” was a line famously made famous by Talking Heads in 1985. Eight years later, I felt that I was on a road to nowhere as I sat in a small clearing on the Great Dividing Range, south of Katoomba. While conducting a pilot’s licence test, the sole engine of my aircraft had decided that it had enough and left me to put the aircraft down west of Sydney and await a ride home in a Careflight helicopter.

Only last week, I recounted the tale to a fellow pilot who went home and diligently looked for the location on Google Earth. To my amazement, a photo of that forced landing field arrived in my Inbox the next day. Yes, there seemed to be new earthworks evident, but it was definitively the location where thirty years before I had held my breath as I sped across the grass tufts and collected a few rocks along the way.

My attention was spiked further when I looked more closely. I was aware that a fire trail existed in the area in 1985, as the recovery vehicles had driven there to retrieve the aircraft. However, to my amazement, that trail now had a name – “Airstrip Trail”!!

Trust me – it was far from being an airstrip.

The image of that clearing had me recall that day’s events with vivid detail. More importantly, that night with a little “Dutch Courage”, I had first conveyed my interest in a certain young female flight instructor. Thirty years and four children later, I am certainly still interested.

I am keen to venture to the location now that I know there is a means of vehicular access. I am keen to wander about and look for traces of my unplanned arrival, notably the rocky outcrop that I struck with the landing gear. Until then, I’ll be content with the fact that I lived to fly another day…and got the girl. 🙂


(BTW The full story is recounted in my book “50 Tales of Flight”.

Zupp Book 50 Tales of Flight.