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Crash at Sea Will Not Deter This ‘Lightweight’ Aviator

From Reuters

A British pilot was rescued from the Persian Gulf on Friday when the ultralight aircraft he was attempting to fly from London to Sydney, Australia, suffered engine trouble and crashed into the sea.

Brian Milton was rescued by helicopter 35 miles northwest of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, and taken to the Zakum oil complex and then to Abu Dhabi.

Milton, a former journalist and hang-gliding instructor, told reporters he was in the water for 25 minutes after Abu Dhabi air traffic control picked up his “Mayday” distress call.

“I was afraid at first but it did not take much time for the helicopters to arrive,” he said by telephone from the Abu Dhabi airport.

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Milton said he will fly to Muscat after his aircraft is retrieved and repaired to continue his journey to Australia. He left London on Dec. 7 in the 330-pound Dalgety Flier.

“When they bring it back we will change the engine and I will fly off,” Milton said.

He said he took off for Abu Dhabi from Dhahran in Saudi Arabia at 7.15 a.m. local time Christmas Day in good weather. He had 20 gallons of fuel, enough to take him to Abu Dhabi.

“After five hours of flight and about 35 miles northwest of Abu Dhabi, the engine stopped with all the symptoms of running out of fuel,” Milton said.

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The plane dived 2,000 feet into the sea but hit the water very gently, he said, and sustained little damage.

“It seems the engine consumed more fuel than the gauge showed. I estimated I had at least four gallons of fuel left.”

Milton had engine problems a week ago and was forced to land his tiny orange-and-white plane on a road in southern Jordan.


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