I’m terrified of flying. I’ve taken some pretty awful road trips to avoid planes, so I’m in awe of those who fly without fear.
Like those two pilots who were preoccupied for 88 minutes and overshot Minneapolis. They were so utterly fearless, so amazingly relaxed in that cockpit that they managed to take a little snooze or have a heated conversation and completely lost track of time. Investigators are supposed to listen to the black box, and I can just imagine what they’re going to hear.
“Woo, did I have a late night – got involved in a mystery novel and couldn’t put it down. I think I’ll get a few minutes shut eye. Okay with you?”…“You know, that sounds like a good idea. Let’s put this thing on auto pilot and have a little quiet time.” Then there’s a long silence on the black box.
If I’d been on that plane, I’d be white knuckled in the back of coach sandwiched between a baby trying desperately to expel its very lungs, and an overweight man with B.O., and the only thing keeping me going is the knowledge that the plane will be landing soon. And the guys in the cockpit are curled up like happy kittens sound asleep. What I wouldn’t give to have that attitude about flying.
Or say they got in a heated discussion. “I don’t like how they barely pay us.”…”Yeah, and we have all this experience”… “And we have a plane full of people depending on us”…”That’s right, and this plane can’t fly all by itself.”
A third scenario has crossed my mind, and it involves the mile high club. The investigators will get an earful if that’s the case: “Oh captain, it looks like the co-pilot is sleeping like a kitten and…”
Here I am, out there in coach fearing for my very life with visions of this giant hunk of metal racing toward earth like a meteor, oxygen masks dangling, overhead baggage raining down like…rain, and the pilot is so distracted that he turns the plane loose like a galloping stallion thundering across the sky.
Unfortunately, I don’t know how I’ll ever step on a plane again because I’d not only have to worry about whether they’ll get the beverage cart out of the way in time for me to make it to the bathroom, I’d also have to fantasize about what the pilots are up to, and if the plane is steering itself, and whether it knows how to land itself, too.
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