Have you herd? Tongue lashing follows forced landing on udder side of the Tasman

Image: © iStockphoto.com / ftwitty

New Zealand cattle farmer Bryn Whyman was understandably concerned for the safety of his livestock when a light aircraft with only one pilot on board made an emergency landing in one of his fields recently.

The Wellington Dominion Post reports that Mr Whyman was sitting at his home in Te Horo, about 70 km northeast of Wellington, when ‘all of a sudden we saw a plane coming down’. As the plane landed, the beef cattle dashed out of the way.

The pilot decided on an emergency landing because of a shuddering engine. There were no reports of injuries to man or beast, but Mr Whyman said, ‘I got down there and [the pilot] was surrounded by about 30 cows, all licking the plane’.

The reason for this behaviour is unknown, but the CSIRO’s publication Cow Talk suggests that landing aircraft near livestock may not be the best option.

‘As a prey species, cattle have an inherent fear of unfamiliar objects, situations, smells, sudden movements and noises,’ Cow Talk says.

Ironically, according to a 1999 report in the Wellington Evening Post, the Te Horo area was once considered as an alternative site for Wellington Airport.

Hoofnote: It is not known if the landing induced faulty steer-ing.


  1. Young cattle at least, are notoriously curious and will come from another paddock to investigate. They love to lick things, especially doped fabric and can destroy a glider whilst the pilot is away telephoning. Not to mention their habit of jumping up on things.

  2. That’s it? Christ slown news day at CASA! I guess while CASA are out chasing such cow licking stories they are leaving us pilots alone!?

    • I want to know who the staff writer is – and the editor that let it go to print. They need an infringement notice.

      • Well I have the opposite view Nick: a bit of harmless levity occasionally does not hurt at all!

  3. Great story and wonderful puns. But a serious note. I once lost an engine and did an emergency landing on a nearby race course only to encounter sprinklers on the grass and furlong posts along the fence. The manager told nm I was lucky they did not have the chains out to stop unauthorised training of horses.

  4. From experience, cows don’t mind a chew on the bubble canopy of a Bell 47 either. The chomp marks were predictable after a few times. Chris Butler.

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