Top Gun


(John's Backyard Blunder)

Total Landing Gear Failure Due To A Very Effective Left Toe Hook.


Have you ever been on an airplane when the landing gear failed in flight?  Itís usually not pretty.  How about when you are not on an airplane, as in human flight?  The result is usually the same, not pretty.  I had a recent personal experience with the latter.  The other day, I was getting ready to leave on an errand.  I was closing the gate and paused, feeling one last urge to give the dog one last bit of torture before leaving.  As I was running after the dog in the backyard, I raised my left foot to step over the rock edging surrounding the flower bed.  I made a minor, ok, major miscalculation and didnít raise my foot quite high enough.  I managed to kick the half buried rock with my left big toe while at a full running pace.  I became airborne.  I thought maybe a few things might flash before my eyes in flight, but the ground broke my fall instantly.  The flight warning systems didnít even alarm.  No landing gear deployment.  No time to react at all.  In fact, I donít think I slid at all.  My conclusion is that my toe didnít just hit the rock, it hooked the rock.  Hummm, Codyís revenge.


 I lay there for a minute taking inventory of my limbs, trying to figure out why I couldnít feel any pain in my upper body after hitting so hard.  Was it because my toe hurt just that much orÖ wait! I canít feel any pain because my motorcycle jacket and helmet did their job!  I know what youíre thinking.  Why was I in the backyard testing my motorcycle gear?  Trust me, it was an unplanned field test.


 I sat up, looking around at the neighborís houses.  Good, no one saw me.  Apparently, I had failed to take into account the extra weight from my gear and my toe was paying the price.  Probably not.  I should quit blaming the external equipment.  I still donít know why I decided minutes earlier to wear tennis shoes instead of my steel toe riding boots.  Note to self.  Use the riding boots anytime you are going to run around the back yard with a riding jacket and helmet.


 Next up.  Walking.  Nope, better sit back down for a few minutes and let the toe stop hurting.  A few minutes later, better sit here a few more minutes and let the toe stop hurting.  A few minutes laterÖ


 Ok, Iím not letting this keep me down (still in the flower bed).  Iím determined to go on my errand.  I closed the gate and climbed on the Valkyrie which was parked at the bottom of the driveway.  Sheíd been feeling so neglected since I bought the Wing so I decided to ride her that ill-fated day.  As I push the starter button, click, click, click, silence.  It seems that I didnít charge the battery enough earlier.  As I crawl up the hill to the garage, I remember noticing that my driveway is much longer than I previously remembered.  I pulled out the battery charger and extension cord and start down the driveway that must be an entire block long now.  I get the Valk started and Iím off on my errand.  I found out that my left toe wasnít too keen on shifting out of first gear and quickly learn how to shift with the side of my foot.  Still hurt, just not as much. 


As I pull up to IKEAÖ IKEA! What the heck was I thinking!  Iím having trouble shifting gears with my throbbing left toe and I think Iím going to walk through the IKEA?  Please, just shoot me!  Since I only need to get a couple of parts, maybe I can walk in through the out door, out door.  Sorry FKA Prince.  If I can just make it to the returns desk at the exit, maybe they will have the part that I need in the stacks and stacks of bins there.  Ahhh, success.  Susan was calling to find out where I was and what was taking so long.  She wasnít home for my launch attempt and didnít know any different.  Fortunately, she took pity on me, didnít laugh too hard and said she had brought lunch home. Ah, I get to sit down for a while, if I can make it home.  I get back on the bike, ride home and leave the Valk in the driveway, hurting too much to park it back in the corner of the garage, much less move the wing out of the way! 


After eating, I pull off my shoe and do a quick check on the toe for the first time.  Everything looked fine.  I didnít think it was broken.  However, that confidence waned later when I gave it another look and realized that it had become very swollen and had turned a cool blue color.  Uh oh.  Maybe Codyís revenge was worse than I thought.  After limping in for X-Rays the next day, my fears were confirmed.  The toe was broken.  The doctor said I have a nondisplaced intra-articular fracture of the proximal phalanx of the left great toe.  Thatís the short description!  Further explanation states that I have a vertically oriented fracture of the head of the proximal phalanx of the left great toe which extends into the interphalangeal joint space.  Lucky for me I live with someone that can explain to me what that means.  With pictures!  Fortunately, there is no significant displacement which means if I donít injure it again the bone should be able to grow back together without having to do anything else.  Injure it again?  Uh huh.  Easier said than done.  After all, I am Mr. Graceful.  At least this month until one of our many other qualified friends take the title away.


Lesson learned.  Donít torture your dog if you arenít wearing full body protection.  The dog will win!


Last Edited 02/06/2010