A Flight to Remember

Posted by: on May 12, 2008 | No Comments

Went to Dana and Eric’s fabulous wedding in the mountains of North Carolina. It was a gorgeous day, and both the bride and groom looked stunning, and their exit to the opening riffs of Kashmir was eminently appropriate. The party involved pulled pork, a meal expertly prepared by Ashton, moonshine drinking on a verandah, and interesting mix of Princeton graduates, Atlanta residents and a few yankees. It was a real cultural experience.

While the events were perfect, the transportation there and back was not. Our flight into Greensboro was on the heels of a category 2 tornado with winds of approximately 130 mph. Two FedEx planes were damaged, pushed into a fence and ditch. We landed safely, but saw some sweet lightning and experienced some pretty strong cross winds.

You’d think that this would be the extent of the travel related incidents, but our flight back was even more exciting. The flight on Sunday night was cancelled due to crew worktime issues, so we were rebooked to Monday morning. Janet scored us a free night at the airport Marriott thanks to her impeccable negotiating tactics. The morning flight to Laguardia was fine until the approach, just after we passed over Lady Liberty. At that point, the pilot came on the intercom and informed us we were having “mechanical trouble” and were diverting to Philadelphia. It turns out that the flaps were malfunctioning, so a higher landing speed would be necessary to avoid stall, requiring a longer runway than Laguardia has. A perfectly reasonable explanation, but not the one that was offered at the time, so there were some ripples of passenger nervousness. Lou popped a Xanax and Janet tightened her seatbelt.

Philly was also experiencing strong crosswinds, so our first approach got down to perhaps 50 feet before the pilot gunned the engine and went around for another try. Again, not out of the ordinary, but when mixed with the previous circumstances, people started to get freaked out. The second landing was trailed by emergency vehicles, and I managed a quick snap of one just off the wing.

emergency landing

emergency landing

tornado airplane

tornado airplane