Monday, December 01, 2008

Report From Newark Transit

I've done this flight a few time now. We come in to Newark Liberty with Manhattan Island on the left at twilight, all the tall buildings, the silhouettes, all the lights, the sunset sky, it's pretty amazing. Same tonight. Mostly.

As the plane approaches I can see across over the river to New Jersey (you know she thrills me with all her charms), over the train lines, over some large cloverleaf highway intersection, and then another highway, and we are just above the car park, almost on the runway when the plane kicks back.

Engine whine increases, a screaming almost for a second there and instantly we are climbing, an ascent sharp and unexpected, the ground that was running parallel to me angles away. I see planes at their gates just outside the window, dropping back from us now as we rise and begin to bank into a turn. Is this a joy-ride? What's going on?

Everyone is silent. We have aborted the landing, obviously. I can’t see anybody from inside these giant seats. It's like being in an office cubicle, down below the vision line, like being isolated in a pod. I wonder if everyone is calm, holding their breath. Praying, meditating. That Panadeine in my empty guts has caught fire. We rise back to the cloud line.

The captain comes on, says some only marginally reassuring words about ATC sending back up as there was still a plane on our runway. It wasn't a technical fault at least, not a wheel falling off, or a fire caused by a loose wire in the entertainment system.

(Speaking of that, while looking back from the toilet queue, I notice that the soft over-window down-lights at my pod are also not working.)

This sort of emergency, near miss, incident, whatever you call it, has never happened in the 1000 or so flights I've been on since I started my travelling life. And of course it happens an hour after I draft a blog about my plane crashing.

All together now - there's a little black spot on the sun today, synchronicity...



Unknown said...

Well at least you had an explanation! I have had the fly by occur to me on two occasions.
First time was flying into Moomba, the reason given was a Dingo on the airstrip. I have the feeling that any sane Dingo would have got well out of the way of a huge roaring monster lunging out of the skies.
The second time was flying into Sydney, exactly as you described. No explanation, no comforting words from any of the crew no apology no article in next days paper. Despite a plane full of worried passengers never a word was spoken.

Skippy-san said...

At least you got a wave off-I was in the back seat of an F-18B several years ago when we almost landed on the same runway as a another jet was not yet leaving the far end. Fortunately the weather was gorgeous and we saw the guy and told the tower we would take it around.

That's the worst part for me now not able to fly like I used to-not know what is transpiring in the front-or with ATC.

marke said...

Funny that, it has never happened to me either in 100s of flights, but I sat through two aborted landings coming into Singapore last Tuesday - landing through a storm, black outside except for lightening flashes, then the sudden extra roar of engines at full blast and the pressure back in the seat. The second time was not as bouncy but we seemed to pull out much later.

So we landed 45 minutes late after a flight from U Tapao in Thailand, and that after two days trying to get a seat, then two days to get on the one I had managed to book, after 2 and a half hours queue to check in. (but hell, if you have to be stuck anywhere in the world, Thailand is not a bad choice!... maybe the message was that I should have stayed there?)

dibabear said...

Ey, funny that you arrived in Newark just as I was departing. 'tis truly a small world indeed.

expat@large said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
expat@large said...

Hey Diba, it wasn't you in that plane on the ground was it?

dibabear said...

No, I was the one taken pot shots at the landing gear though. Love that 2nd Amendment. :-)

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