1/17/09

The conundrum known as flying!

The picture above represents a 'worst nightmare scenario' for alot of us I think. Well actually this truly represents a miracle, how did this plane not flip, or break up on impact?!! The aftermath pictures of the Paris Concorde crash is your absolute nightmare.

What Chesley Sullenberger and his co-pilot achieved is still hard to comprehend, and a testament to their combined hours of flying and knowledge. When I first saw the pictures online and then read that there were no casualities, it was a literal double take moment!

I have never liked flying and know it's statistically safer than driving my car or crossing the street - but it's just not natural!

It's only since I met the Hubster and HAD to make repeated solo flights across the Atlantic, that I made myself get over it - somewhat. I think for me it's being out of control of my own destiny, you see I am more than a little bit of a control freak by nature! My main fears are always in the taking off and landing phases, and unfortunately one day these were almost realised!

On a flight home to the UK from O'Hare (Chicago) 5 years ago, I was speeding down the runway for take-off onboard American Airlines, when at the very last second the pilot slammed on the brakes! That's when you realise why they make you wear the seatbelts tight, I'd have been halfway down the next cabin otherwise. We trundled back to the gate, engineers came onboard and 30 minutes later off we went again. This time we didn't quite get as far, before he slammed the brakes on again, my nerves were totally shot. The engineers returned and I asked to get off the plane, as did a few others. They weren't keen to release us but would have done. Instead a very reassuring British Mancunian engineer (which him being British and from Manchester definitely helped) came and personally talked me through the problem. He convinced me it was safe to stay onboard and third time was a charm for us. But this one incident took away all my built up flying bravado and I have yet to fully get it back!

So I can only imagine how some of those passengers who landed on the Hudson must be feeling about flying now?! And how scary is it to think a few birds can down a jet of this size. I think I would be driving home, but WOULD YOU get back on a plane quickly after an incident of this magnitude?

18 comments:

pamokc said...

Girl, I know what you mean. I have always been a nervous flyer and have had full-fledged panic attacks on board and am also a well-known puke-er. But now, flying with John, who can identify every sound that a plane is making, can tell you why, tell you when, tell you what to expect next, and I have no doubt he could go fix something that goes wrong during the flight ... well that has helped me tremendously. These folks were amazingly lucky. It wasn't their day to die.

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

I need to fly with John then, do you lend him out?

Kay said...

If I could drive back to Hawaii... I sure would. I'm really impressed with that pilot, too! Wow!

Daryl said...

Yes I would because this sort of thing rarely happens .. evidenced by the non-stop media coverage over the last 2 days ... surely there are more important things happening ... here in NYC and elsewhere ...

George said...

'Miracle on the Hudson' is certainly an appropriate description of what happened the other day. And I think you deserve a medal for staying on your flight after two aborted takeoffs!

Sherri said...

Sarah, my friend was on that flight. We were on a church committee together. I actually saw him on the news talking about his harrowing experience. He said it was a miracle the plane stayed together on impact, etc., etc. What an amazing story!! I'm just glad he and everyone aboard are all right!!

Stuart Peel said...

I hate flying too. Once when landing at JFK, my plane touched down and then took off immediately once more. The pilot then came on and told us that another plane had been on our runway !!

If I had been on that Hudson flight I'd have probably died of fright before the plane hit the water. I don't even like going in cars, let alone planes.

Winifred said...

Oh I'd rather get on a plane anyday than a long car journey. I have recurring nightmares about car crashes for some reason. I've only had one crash and it wasn't my fault, maybe that's why.

There were lots of factors here that led to this amazing survival. He was a very experienced pilot, trained pilots, was a glider pilot so knew how to land, there was a large river he could use, the weather was quite good, communications were speedy, the ferries were on hand and so on.

However I don't believe in luck, the right pilot was there who didn't panic, maybe one of very few who could have succeeded in landing that plane perfectly and just maybe lots of guardian angels were hard at work that day too!

Vintage Tea said...

I'm not the best flyer... it's only my desire to travel that gets me on a plane.

Having a sister in law who is an air hostess helps although my brother who is a fireman at Stanstead Airport is not allowed to discuss anything to do with his job!

Victoria

Anna's Spot said...

My family and I fly way to0 many times a year. We had one flying incident where our landing gear doors did not close properly and we had to fly 3 hours in circles over the desert only to land 3 hours later at the same airport we left from. (We had to burn off the fuel needed to fly from Phoenix to Tampa before we could land) It was horrible for the travelling day but I would rather caution for safety-sake any day. I was pretty nervous when we were getting ready for landing.
Hugs
Anna

fishwithoutbicycle said...

The plane landing was so amazing!! I am dying to hear him interviewed after he goes through all the NTSB investigations, although he probably wants a bit of peace and quiet eh!!

I have been getting more nervous as I've aged, but I have to say my recent introduction to flying in the business class cabin courtesy of my client has helped a lot ;-)

pamokc said...

John says that of course the plane stayed together. Those wings are made in England! Good British Aerospace wings are put on those Airbus planes!!!!

Smocha said...

That landing was truely a miricle.One of the best feel good news stories in recent history. I bet they make a movie about it soon!

I am now dreading my flight back to the US on Thursday :(
Normally ,not a nervous flyer.

Has anyone heard if their were any animals on the flight?


I don't know how you managed to stay on your plane that day ,after two incedents. You must have nerves of steel.

karen said...

horrible experience for you, well done for staying on board!

yes, what an incredible pilot to have saved everybody after the bird strike...and as Winifred says... guardian angels!

I think the thing about flying and not worrying about falling out of the sky (for me)is to think about all the millions of non-eventful flights that safely happen all the time, and just have faith, take a good book to read and don't let your imagination go wild!

Kris said...

Hey Sara, what a scary experience for those people... and for you!!

I'm a bit suspicious that a flock of birds could have done this. Miles used to work for one of the major companies in the US that design and build the engines for commercial planes (Bowing, I think) and he said they used to do serious testing on the engines and would actually throw dead birds and all kinds of things into the engines while the engines were running just to test the durability. He claims you could probably throw a few brickes into the engines and they would keep going! I know, crazy, right?! So maybe the airline is trying to put the blame on something else, but I think there was no way a flock of birds brought that plane down!

Janet said...

What that pilot did was nothing short of miraculous, talk about keeping you head when all about you are losing theirs.

I loathe flying, and I don't know how you stayed on that plane after 2 aborted take offs. I would have been reduced to a gibbering idiot.

Debby said...

Geese are big birds, and have brought down planes before. The pilot was a calm charactor. I cannot imagine being able to keep your wits about you at such a time.

Arija said...

I beg to differ, that picture will always represent to me that a really professional pilot who keeps his head can pull off such a feat that bringss everyone home safely with a full tank of fuel as well. I woul happily place my life into the hands of such a man.