Rainey lands vintage plane on Cat Island golf course

2 mins read

By BOB SOFALY

As the old saying goes, any landing you can walk away from is a good one.

Mike Rainey of Beaufort proved it to be accurate.

Rainey’s 1943 De Havilland  Tiger Moth suffered a damaged propeller during a Thursday afternoon flight around Beaufort and  landed on Cat Island’s golf course.

A foot-long piece of the outer edge of the 72-inch laminated prop splintered off; “it started to really vibrate” he said.

Rainey said a most pilots are always looking for a place to land during a flight for that “just in case” scenario.

“I probably could have made to Beaufort County Airport on Lady’s Island. But I decided to be safe and put down on the 18th fairway of Cat Island golf course,” he said. “It was really vibrating!”

Rainey, a 20-year veteran Marine Corps fighter pilot, said the old plane was made to take off and land in grassy fields. “It was not problem,” he said. “I circled around (the fairways) and saw only an alligator and deer near the green. I came in, landed, and must have scared them off.”

Rainey said he would put a cover over the cockpit in case of thunderstorms.

“I have another prop at home. I’ll go get it, swap props and take off in an hour.”

 

Top: Mike Rainey secures his 1943 De Havilland Tiger Moth after an unscheduled landing on the 18th fairway of Cat Island’s golf course on Thursday, July 18. Photos by Bob Sofaly

 

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