Where I learned, an instructor with a solo student in the pattern would be outside watching, with a handheld radio. If the father had had one, he could have (calmly) told his daughter to go around, adding power and leveling the nose.
There have been a distressing number of collisions like that over the years - if a low-wing or biplane pilot is over a high-wing pilot, neither can see the other. Unless both have radios and use them conscientiously, the results can be tragic.
Johnny, you did another thing I was taught, and still use: If things get weird in the pattern at an untowered field, just go away for a few minutes. It’ll be clear when you get back.
Just wanted to say this is one of the more interesting starts to an OP I’ve read. And I immediately assumed this would have a sad ending. Glad to hear it didn’t–it definitely speaks to the quality of your instruction. The story reminds me of the video of the homebuilt pilot that lands on the road in FL. Didn’t even raise his voice throughout the whole thing, and had the presence of mind to pull off the road at the end.
My only problem here is that you own your own plane and don’t have a pic at the ready to share. What’s wrong with you?
Adding to this: Stall recovery is a most important sign-off prior to solo. I was trained by my friends and this was beaten into me (literally). On my check ride I made a really bad approach/landing and was instructed to go-around. I pulled the plane up and hard about into a classic stall (very similar to the example) and the stall warning went off. That the check pilot didn’t immediately grab the yoke amazes me to this day because I was probably less than a second from stalling into trees/houses. If I had reacted by banking with the ailerons we would have certainly spun in at 75 feet. He gave me my license because I demonstrated the immediate procedure needed to survive a low altitude stall. He was quite explicit that I was getting a license to learn.
I can’t imagine taking a check ride and seeing a plane overtaking me on final. The natural reaction would be to get off the glide slope quickly but a gently bank would have taken her off the center line. When I was practicing landings (after solo) I experienced another plane landing right base with no radio when I turned left base. I broke it off to the right and slipped it so I could keep an eye on the other plane. One of the things I was taught was to make standard approaches to avoid conflicts with other planes.
Unless there is a door that will rip open and destroy the plane it is always better to open prior to crashing. Even with a dangerous door scenario it can be done seconds before impact.
Aircraft windows are made with plastic that cannot be breached by hand. Even a crash ax would be tough to use in an emergency. When you consider that all airplanes have a fuel selector switch that means, there is a fuel line running through the passenger compartment. In my fabric covered plane it means (2) 18 gallon tanks feeding lines down a thin sheet of impregnated cloth.
Reminds me of a doctor I knew. Dad went to him for his flight physicals, but I went to another. He did treat me for something-or-other once though. Anyway, this particular doctor owned a Bonanza. He liked flying in the Tehachapis, and one thing he was known for was flying in a valley at low altitude. See, the wind’s direction is very predictable, and he’d count on it to give him the lift he needed to get over a ridge. One day he took a couple of photographers from Australia up for a ride. Unfortunately, the wind he’d always counted on wasn’t there that day. Trying to climb over the ridge, he pancaked in on a plain. After the post-crash fire, the three bodies were found in positions indicating they were trying to get the door open.
There was a crash at Oshkosh in 98 involving a Hispano trainer jet. the pilot crashed onto a city street and the rear passenger didn’t know how to release the canopy. the pilot got out but his passenger died in the ensuing fire. People tried to break into the canopy with a baseball bat but couldn’t. Sadly there was an external emergency release mechanism.
These are the things that make me keen to go over emergency procedures with passengers.