Emergency! Emergency!

We had a wee scare last night flying from Washington/Dulles into Burlington (on my way home from a quick trip to San Diego to do an INETA talk … that blog post is still on my laptop :-)).

It was a late night flight, due to land at 11:30pm in Burlington.

Five miles before we got to Burlington, the airplane’s monitoring system reported excessive heat in one of the front brakes. The worst case scenario was that on touchdown or cruising down the runway, the brake could catch fire and it was quite close to the engine so…scary potential.

The flight attendants (both young and neither had yet been initiated with an emergency landing before this) had to prepare us very quickly with the news and for an emergency landing. Tighten the seat-belts, tuck into a ball, brace yourself against the seat in front of you (I had a wall that was a little far away). There was no time really for much else. They did a fabulous job.

I live with a general disbelief in anything bad happening to me or my loved ones. My parents have both survived minor bouts with cancer; my father has been in two car accidents where the car was totalled and he walked away; my husband cracked his head open on a rock face while we were hiking and while there was a LOT of blood, missing teeth, a scalped scalp and huge gashes to be stapled up, he recovered perfectly and they even shoved his teeth back into his gums and they remain there today. My Newfoundlands are living to ripe old ages beyond the norm for this breed of dogs.

So yes, I live in a little fantasy bubble world.

And because of that, while I was certainly shaking a little, I didn’t really think that anything bad would really happen. And it didn’t.

We landed. Nothing seemed to happen out of the ordinary. We did an emergency evacuation of the plane because the potential for fire and explosion still remained. Since I was up front I just went down the stairs like I normally would (vs. jumping off the wing like a lot of other people had to). Nobody was hurt. The plane didn’t catch fire.

There was a lot of excitement on the runway. Many firetrucks and emergency vehicles and two guys in Hazmat outfits who looked like astronauts inspecting the plane.

It struck me as odd that I was the only person who walked VERY far away from the plane (you know, just in case.). I just kept going further and further out in the field by the runway.  And an hour later, I was allowed to go back on the plane to get my stuff out of the storage bin and I headed home.

One poor girl had been so terrified (possibly she has some past experience that this too closely resembled) that she couldn’t stop crying for at least an hour. She had her boyfriend there to comfort her.

So, I got another day out of it. Didn’t even bother calling my husband since it was nearly midnight; I knew he was sleeping and all I had to report was “Hi honey. I’m here. The plane didn’t crash or blow up and I’m still alive. Talk to you later.”  But I call him with that report after every single flight, which means generally twice in a day, since most of my flights include one stop over. So it didn’t seem necessary to wake him up for that.

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3 thoughts on “Emergency! Emergency!

  1. Ah!It is kinda scary flying into Burlington sometimes.If it is really socked in, you get to fly below the mountains without being able to see where you are going.On top of Mount Abe, there is a plane that is sitting in the trees.Hemust have thought he was plenty high, but that big old mountain reached up and caught ’em.I never did hear the story about the circumstances.But when I read your story, I thought about the weather and how it would seem worse (maybe?) if it had been snowing really hard and the wind had been blowing.Glad you made it.George

  2. Yeah – I’ve landed in Burlington in plenty of scary weather. I’m always deeply grateful that there are experienced pilots flying those things and not me!

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