My Own Plane Scare

The recent news about the airplane that went down in the Hudson brought my own mishap to mind. I’ve told a few people but mostly I kept my mouth shut because I was never able to find my proof — I thought it vanished. Today, it appeared. I’ve scanned it and added it to my Flickr page.

Me and Dad flew Eastern 158 from MIA to DCA (Washington National airport). It was a birthday present for me from my Dad in 1988. We left and the flight was uneventful. We got near Washington, DC and the pilot said, “we have a landing gear problem” and advised us to prepare for a hard landing. We circled, dumped fuel, and then came into land. They stopped all other airport traffic, and as we got closer, you could see the lines of fire and foam trucks on the sides of the runway.

We hit, and by hit, I mean HIT. It was a very hard landing, one of the tires had apparently blown on take-off as the pilot explained to us. What wasn’t expected is that on landing the other two — both on the left side of the aircraft — would also blow causing the landing gear strut to dig into the runway. So here we are flying down the runway, sparks flying, and foam shooting all over the place. We stop right at the end of the runway — blocking both runways. The pilot did his best to keep the plan straight even though it kept trying to veer as we went down the runway and I’m sure his efforts kept it from being worse.

The tried to open the rear door (727s had them then) to get us out, only it wouldn’t open. Then they couldn’t open the front door because it was leaning on the tarmac. Some 90 minutes later, a hydraulic jack was used to prop the plane up. After that, we were all safely removed from the plane on to waiting buses. The cabin crew was terrific the whole time. There were no injuries on board: not one.

We exit the plane and notice Eastern had draped a big tarpaulin over the plane so you couldn’t see their name. Seriously. I wish I had saved the articles my relatives had. Anyway, EAL took us into the terminal and got us our luggage and sent us on our way. They never apologized or anything. It was like nothing had happened. We got to the hotel some four hours late, and there were numerous messages from my relatives who all knew I was on that flight and had seen our plane on the national news. As it turns out, we caused havoc in all major airports from Chicago east.

In a side note, our return flight to MIA several days later made an unscheduled stop in Greensboro when it was determined we didn’t have enough fuel to make it back.

And, now you know why I just don’t worry about plane crashes anymore. I’ve experienced my air disaster.

Today, special shout outs to Paul: Nice to see your sorry ass again. I’m glad you’re doing well. Evan: No, you will never, ever know what I mean by that Beatles clip — but you read the answer and didn’t even know it. And the word of today is “Burberry.” And Murph liked his gift. Murph is a class act all the way. Skating thread updated: Sunday 10am, Pines. Woo-Hoo

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