fiber diva

This is the chronicle of one woman's forays into knitting, crocheting, spinning, embroidery, papercrafts, and whatever else catches my fancy at any given time. Oh, and I talk about my cats a lot, too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My first almost plane crash (I think)

A couple of weeks ago, just days after two fatal plane crashes took some 16 lives, I had what I think might have been my first (hopefully only?) almost plane crash.

The funny thing is that although I'm not a courageous person---I know what phobias feel like and I have an intimate relationship with anxiety---I'm usually an ok flier. I don't know why, really. I don't like heights, and I have an active bridge phobia (heights over water, shudder). My usual response to anyone asking if I'm tempted to skydive is to wonder why anyone would jump out of a perfectly good plane. ("So, wait, the plane was up in the air, and it *wasn't* on fire? Was there smoke? A poisonous snake? No? You just decided to jump out of it. Into an empty field? Was there at least free cake in the field? No? Just wanted to jump out of the plane? . . . well, ok then.")

Don't get me wrong---I like being a coward. I figure it's safer this way. But I'm also glad that my tendency to overthink and over-worry has never managed to shake my blind faith that flying is still the safest way to travel. Other than a little concern during take-off, I just assume that the turbulence that always seems to hit just as I'm using the lavoratory isn't serious. It's just God's little way of reminding me that no matter how dignified I think I'm becoming as I age, it's always possible to die on a toilet.

But on my last trip, I had what I really think was a near-miss. Coworkers and I were flying into Providence, RI, for a business meeting/dinner. It was a blustery day and the pilot had warned us that the seatbelt sign would stay on. I appreciate those warnings, because then I am pretty much unconcerned when it is, in fact, pretty darn bumpy.

We were close to landing, about 500 feet off the ground. The turbulence was getting worse, but I was continuing to be unconcerned (the pilot said it was going to be bumpy; clearly, he knew what he was talking about). Further I (oddly enough) tend not to worry about landings. Yeah, it's silly, but I always figure that the closer I am to the ground is that much less far to fall should an engine or two fall off the plane. ("Denial"---it's not just for excusing bad dates.) I was contentedly working on the Sudoku in the airline magazine, when suddenly I visited my next-seat neighbor's lap a bit more vigorously than was, strictly speaking, polite. I would have apologized, but before I knew what was happening, we'd swung the other way and he was practically sitting in my lap.

The plane immediately started to ascend again, which was my first indication that what just happened wasn't a simple bump! According to my co-worker who'd been looking out the window, the left wing dipped down and then flipped up almost immediately and he thought we were going to flip over. "Well, we almost bought the farm just there," was his response. (And so intent was my denial that I spend a second trying to figure out why he'd be shopping for farms out an airplane window before I realized what he was telling me.) The pilot came on shortly and noted that we'd had "a bit of an unsafe situation there" as it had gotten "a little gusty" and so we were going to circle around and try it again.

Happily, the second landing, and the trip home, went without incident. I still think flying is the safest way to travel. I'm just hoping my next plane trip agrees!


  • At 9:01 AM, Anonymous Rosie said…

    Wow Kim I know what you mean. Valerie and I were flying one time when the airplane did whatever it happening when it suddenly drops several feet - while way up in the air - not sure....

    Unfortunately the drink cart had just made its way through the plane and many folks who were holding their drinks wound up wearing them. Valerie and I had ours on our trays, they jumped a bit, but no spills. Yay us!


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