Thursday, April 07, 2011

Happy Landings

Although the purpose of my trip to Seattle is sad, some good things occurred. One, I got to say good bye to my brother-in-law, who will die tonight and the funeral will be probably Tuesday. This an unusual situation, but since he is on life support and is irreversible, his life support will be shut off tonight.

Which brings me to the happy landings. Flying Horizon, since I figured Southwest would be full due to the cancellations for inspections, I first got sticker shock. Those old $40 shuttle flights are past history. Because I didn't make my reservations two weeks in advance, the one-way fare was $186.00. But wait, there's more!

I got to the airport very early and went through TSA. Anticipating problems with what I was carrying, I left my shaving cream at home. I did, however, carry shampoo. Too large, the lady confiscated it. She told me that I could check my bag and could keep it, but I figured I could replace the shampoo for less than the $25.00 Horizon charges for a checked bag.

I then reported to the departure desk and was told I could switch to an earlier flight. I said, "sure, let's do it." So just before that flight loaded, the plane broke. I had to then re-establish my original reservation before the bumpees took it away. I succeeded and we took off. The aircraft was a Bombardier 400 turboprop.

About 20 minutes before we were scheduled to land in Seattle, the captain came on the speaker and said, "Folks don't be alarmed at the fire engines, ambulances and other Armageddon type equipment lining the runway. We blew a tire on takeoff,and have declared an emergency.He went on to say it was strictly precautionary, since there were two tires on each landing gear.

Obviously two things happened.First, unlike most flights where landing is in the offing, this one was thoroughly discussed. Being a pilot myself, I reassured my seat mates that there shouldn't be any problem, except the captain would probably lean the aircraft into the good gear during touchdown and not to worry about the angle.

We landed safely and gave the fire department something to do other than the endless gin rummy games that normally take place. The tower stopped us on the runway, where we spent a puzzling 10 minutes. Finally, the captain shut the engines down. The maintenance people pinned the landing gear and the captain then announced we would be towed to our parking spot.We deplaned, and of course I was moved to remark loudly, "Hey, we cheated death once more."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Herb, at the very least you did not have a boring trip. Let's hope the return trip will be un-eventful!

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Norma Jean