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August 20, 2007
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Airframe

I’m terrified of flying and yet I fly all of the time.  I take drugs to help me.  People are always asking my why I’m afraid of flying so I thought I’d put together a quick piece of my adventures in flight and some of those of my friends.  

Enjoy your next trip...bring Valium.

***********

“Um...folks, I’m afraid we’re going to have to circle around again.  There seems to be a donkey on the runway.  We’ll land as soon as they move him.”   -Captain speaking after trying to land in West Caicos.

Yes, try a carrot, I hear they love those.

**********

“We just heard from the tower and they have extended our holding pattern beyond our fuel capacity.  We are going to turn around and try to land in Cleveland.”  -Circling above a tornado over O’Hare Chicago.

What?!  In the words of Yoda “There is no TRY only DO!”.  

********

“Sorry folks, we have to go back and refuel.”  -Captain after a one hour wait on the tarmac in Atlanta for permission to take off.

In case you didn’t know, flights are carrying less fuel these days to cut back on costs.  If a plane idles too long on the tarmac they can easily run too low on fuel to be able to make it to their destinations.  This also leads to the problem we had in the above story after 45 minutes of circling.


*********

“Greetings from the flight deck we’ll be pulling away from the gate in just a few...hang on.  What?  You’re ki...”  -eerie silence for a few minutes.  “I apologize for that, it looks like there is going to a be a delay.”  -eerie silence for half an hour.  “Okay, we’ve found the problem.  The part is in a box, we’ll be taking off soon.”  -Sitting on the tarmac at Miami International.

Could you take the part out of the box first?  Unless it actually belongs there, in which case...leave it be.

*********

“Thank you for dropping into Providenciales.”  -Flight attendant announcement after we landed so hard that the oxygen masks fell out of their compartments.

I know we’re on the ground, but can I put this thing on and breath deeply for a while anyway?

*********

“Oh, well...hmmm.  Shit.  That didn’t work.  I guess we’ll have to pull her out, dry her off, and give it another go.”   -Captain/Friend of a small single engine plane after a failed take off where we ended up in the Ocean at the end of the runway.

I was actually four when this happened.  My mother and I were hitching a ride to an island a few hundred miles away with a friend who had been asked to deliver 500 pounds of frozen chicken to a hotel on the island.  

My mother, crammed in between the chicken with me on her lap, began to doubt the planes ability to fly when the Captain started making jumping motions in his seat as they taxied towards the Ocean.  As if that would help get more lift.  

They did pull the plane out, dry her off, and tried again.  After two bounces she got airborne.  My mother and I remained on the ground.  

*********

“There’s no time!”

-Kathy to my mother who was trying to help a group of Nuns that Kathy had just pushed to the ground while running into the Airport of the Dominican Republic because they were going to be late for the only flight of the week out.

She really wanted off that island.


*********

“Sorry about that, there was another plane on our runway and we didn’t have a lot of options.  We’ll circle around a few times and have another go at it.”  -Trying to land in Michigan.

This announcement was made after we were so close to the ground that you could read street signs when the plan suddenly titled up about 50 degrees and the engines whined and ground while the plane slowly, painfully, clawed its way back into the sky.

A pilot friend of mine later told me that we must have been feet away from what they call ‘The Point of No Return’ this is a stage in take off or landing where you have no option but to follow through on your course.  

No matter what the movies show you a plane (at least nothing short of one of the Blue Angels) can not come close to touch down and then simply take off again.  

This is part of what happened during the Tenerife disaster where two Boeing 747 crashed into one another because one plane was trying to take off while the other was taxing in after landing killing 583 people in 1977.  


*********

“Sorry, folks, it looks like we may have made a slight miscalculation.”  -Captain speaking after almost landing on the wrong island.

This happened to my pilot friend who was not flying at the time.  Back before GPS.  He and his wife were on a commercial airliner to Provo (the island I grew up on).  She looked out the window as they came into land:

“Hon, that doesn’t look like, Provo.”

“Ah, shit.”  He mutters and presses the flight attendant button frantically.

“Yes, Sir?”

“Go tell the Captain that he is about to land on the wrong island.”

“Sir, the Captain has been flying for 15 years, he knows what he’s doing.”

“Great!  Then he’ll know what to do when the runway is too short and we crash into the fucking Ocean.”

**********

“Don’t worry folks, we’ll hire a boat to take you the rest of the way.”  -Captain speaking after landing on the wrong island.

This is actually a completely different incident that happened to a different friend of mine.  Who was not savvy enough to warn the Captain.  They safely landed the Boeing 747 on the island...but the runway was too short to take off again.  So they were stuck there.  The plane had to be disassembled, put on a boat, and shipped back to America.

I’m fairly certain some people were fired over this.


**********

“We’ll be boarding in just a few minutes, we have unfortunately had a vomiting incident in the last five rows of the craft and are replacing them.”  -Flight attendant before we got on a plane in Atlanta.

That must have been a fun ride.  Even after they replaced the seats it didn’t exactly smell like roses.

*********

“Just between you and me...I wouldn’t stay on this flight.”  -Flight attendant to my mother and I after a woman has just pitched a complete fit on the runway and has to be removed, delaying the flight while they also remove her luggage.

********

“Now, please, don’t be alarmed...but I have a gun.”  -A friend of mine on an American Airlines flight after 9/11.

This one made the news!  My friend owns a store past security in the airport in Provo.  She had been robbed a few times when going out to her car after work.  So she got special permission to have a gun past security.  

One day she had an afternoon flight to the States, so she worked that morning, closed the shop and got on the plane.  Of course in her purse is the gun, she’s already past security and they know she has it.  She did not mean to bring it on the plane.

Half way to Miami she realizes that she has it.  She’s terrified that if she doesn’t tell someone right away they’ll arrest her in Miami.  The flight attendant was very calm, she took the whole purse and went to the Captain.  He was ordered to fly back to Provo.  Homeland security meets them there and acts as if my friend has tried to take over the plane.

My friend does not look like a terrorist...she’s 67 year old woman from Trinidad.


**********

“Maybe some soap would help.”  -My father to his friend who has built his own sea plane, but can’t get it off the Ocean.  

My father jokingly suggests that ‘surface tension’ is holding the plane to the water and says that some dish soap would fix that.  Amazingly my father’s friend actually tries this, squirting soap out the plane window as he taxies.  

No...of course it didn’t work.

*********

“TWA never on time...always!”   Front desk lady in West Caicos.

We had asked her why our small charter plane was four hours late while we are being bled dry by the tiny islands unimaginable mosquito population.  Honestly after a few hours you just lay there and let them drink you, your blood volume is too low for you to care anymore.

We discover later that our plane had been offered more money to fly some people to the States rather than fulfill their contract with us to come get us.  This is what happens when you try to help people.  We were actually on the island to help consult them about their mosquito population and what could be done about it.  Really.  

********

“Just hang your butt out the window.”  Captain/Friend to his wife who really needed to pee.

Since there was no toilet on the four seater plane she dumps out her luggage and pees into it.  Talk about not having a pot to piss in.

********

“Don’t worry, there would have just been an orange flash. You wouldn’t have felt a thing.”  -Captain/Friend to my father after a Boeing 747 suddenly sprang out of a cloud coming the other way.

It roared directly above them maybe 500 feet higher.  My father asked what would have happened if they had been flying at the same altitude.


*********

“What’s that?”

“What?”

“That, wrapped around the wing flap.”

“Oh, that’s 200 mile an hour tape.”

“It looks like duct tape.”

“Well it is, but if the FAA asks...it’s 200 mile an hour tape.”

Don’t ask.

********

That’s all for now...oh yes...I have more!!
I have not lived a sheltered life. The fact that I've lived this long sometimes amazes me.
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:icongatebee:
gatebee Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2007
wow good you survived all that

I have stories too but yours are far funnier
Reply
:iconphoenix-cry:
Phoenix-Cry Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2007
Any story can be funny...it's all in the telling. Of course it helps to have a cast of shady characters (such as my parents).
Reply
:icononceuponatimetheend:
OnceUponATimeTheEnd Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2007
oh my....
Reply
:iconcaitlyn1701:
caitlyn1701 Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2007  Professional Artisan Crafter
wow. that's...amazing. great stories...lol. where exactly did you grow up?
Reply
:iconphoenix-cry:
Phoenix-Cry Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2007
Thanks...I know crazy people.

I grew up in the Turks and Caicos islands...just above the DR.
Reply
:iconcaitlyn1701:
caitlyn1701 Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2007  Professional Artisan Crafter
the....uh...wha?

(horrible at geography lol)
Reply
:iconphoenix-cry:
Phoenix-Cry Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2007
:giggle: Sorry. DR Dominican Republic.
Reply
:iconcaitlyn1701:
caitlyn1701 Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2007  Professional Artisan Crafter
ah...that sounds more familiar lol. whered you move to after that?
Reply
:iconphoenix-cry:
Phoenix-Cry Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2007
Then I lived in South Florida for a while, went to college in IN, now I'm in sunny Minnesota.
Reply
:iconcaitlyn1701:
caitlyn1701 Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2007  Professional Artisan Crafter
you jump around a lot :D
Reply
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