Challenge 3 came much sooner than expected but when she received an invitation from the South African Air Force to do a Aircraft pull at their annual Wings and Wheels show only 3 weeks later on 9 December 2011, she could not resist.
She was asked to do a pull on the 9th and 10th of December.
The aircraft? A Dakota, weighing around 13 tons. While training for the truck pull she easily pull a 12 ton and would have been able to manage more so the weight did not worry her. What did worry her was the fact that this 13 tons was on 3 wheels compared to a truck which was 10 tons on 10 wheels. That in itself makes a huge difference.
She attempted to only pull the plane over a 10 meter distance as she had to do another pull the following day.
She managed to do the 10 meter pull and asked to do it again as something “felt wrong”. We later discovered the plane was parked on a slight incline, the wheels were too old and not pumped enough which made the pull really tough, more to the equivalent of pulling close to 30 tons.
After the first successful pull she started the second pull and at 3 meters her Achilles snapped off like a gunshot. This could be heard meters away where spectators were gathered. She was helped to the army tent and taken to hospital and had surgery the following day. “It has been a tough couple of weeks but I was back in gym at week four on crutches and my moon boot. I needed to start upper body training for the next events”, a very brave Liesl utters.
This event might have ended with consequences but the pull was a success. She became the first woman in the world to pull a Dakota Aircraft with a body harness only, no arm rope.