Thursday, November 10, 2005


I just read today that a Boeing 777 just broke the world record for the longest non-stop flight lasting over twenty-two hours, from Hong Kong to London. The article reported that the flight left from Hong Kong with 35 passengers and flew over the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. . .
. . . What???
Okay, using my knowledge of third-grade geography, London is West of Hong Kong. That's why Hong Kong is referred to as being in the Far East. Planes take off to the South from Hong Kong International, so someone should have been telling the pilot, "Uhhh, you need to be turning this puppy to the right, my friend.To the right! No, MY right!" It's no wonder they broke the world record. Talk about taking the scenic route! I'm can almost guaranteee those passengers didn't make their connecting flights.

I've done my fair share of flying over the years. It used to make me nervous, especially when encountering turbulence. I just didn't like the idea of something that big bouncing around that much.
I'm no longer afraid of flying after one particular flight a few years ago. I was flying from Toronto to my small home-town about 120 miles Southwest of Houston, Texas. After a nice flight to Houston on normal-sized airplane (explanation: a "normal-sized" airplane is one on which you can be served a Bloody Mary), I had to fly in one of those little-bitty prop planes. I have a cousin who loves anything having to do with airplanes and always wants to know, "What kind of plane was it?" I honestly think this was a Boeing "Seven" that was servicing our flight. It was late at night and a line of thunderstorms had moved into the area. Before lift-off, the pilot came on with his announcement. "This your pilot, Captain Scooter Brady. Radar indicates a line of heavy thunderstorms, bowling-ball sized hail, severe lightning and possible tornadoes in a line extending 120 miles Southwest of Houston. . .”

Oh, swell. And no Bloody Mary’s. . .

“. . . In the event of a water landing, your seat cushion may be used as a flotation device. . ."
I thought, “Scooter, baby, in the event of a water landing, I will use you as a flotation device if I have to.

For the next forty-five minutes, Captain Scooter hot-dogged that little airplane through the most turbulent weather I’ve ever experienced. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it would. Again and again.

After two aborted landing attempts due to changing wind directions, we were finally on the ground and Scooter apologized for the flight. A friend of mine from high school worked there at the little airport and I mentioned to her how horribly scary the flight was. She said, “Jon, you have to realize that these pilots and planes fly in much worse conditions that these when delivering cargo.”

From then on, I’ve never been nervous on a flight.


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