Thursday, September 22, 2005

Plane Autumn Days

So this was the big news around these parts yesterday afternoon. Just gonna make a few quick observations I thought were amusing. I heard about the whole debacle after the plane had been circling for a couple of hours, so I flipped on the local news coverage to see what was happening. The answer was...not a lot. Apparently that particular model of Airbus is incapable of dumping fuel, so they were forced to fly around at low altitude until they'd burned off enough fuel to land safely (i.e. without a high probability of bursting into a huge fireball upon touch-down). The local newscasters eventually ran out of things to talk about, said the plane would likely still be circling for another 30 or 40 minutes, and returned us viewers to our regularly-scheduled programming.

I was curious to see if national news had picked up the story yet, so I switched over to FOX...not a little because I thought they would probably have more amusing coverage than CNN. I was not disappointed.

They had interrupted Bill O'Slimeball to talk about it. Apparently the folks back in NY don't talk to their local affiliates much, because Laurie Dhue kept emphatically informing the viewers that the plane "was due to land at any moment!" For fifteen minutes she kept telling me they were on their final approach into LAX. Yeah...not so much there, Laurie. Eventually she talked to the local FOX guy who set her straight. O'Slimeball's show ended and Sean Halamity took over.

While talking to some expert or other, Hannity said, "[Expert], I keep hearing them talking about 'foaming the runway.' Now, I've never even heard of that. What are they talking about?" I'm sorry, are you just trying to make the home viewer feel smarter or are you really that dumb? Come on, man.

Now here's something I didn't know. Another thing Hannity kept saying was, "Now, they've got TVs on board and could very likely be watching this very broadcast right now! So, to the passengers, if you're watching, know that our prayers are with you." And I thought to myself, Idiot. Planes can't show live TV. It would interfere with the navigation equipment. They play pre-recorded news and other programming; everyone knows that. But this is apparently not the case. Some airlines (or maybe it's just Jet Blue, but I can't imagine so) actually have satellite dishes on top of the planes, with which the passengers can watch live programming, and it doesn't screw with the instruments. Go figure.

Anyway, everything of course resolved without incident, which is good. I know I wouldn't have wanted to be on that plane, no matter how many reassurances the pilot gave about the probability of a perfectly safe landing.

Moving on...the calendar on my desk tells me it's the first day of Autumn today. Felt more like it a couple of days ago when we had a pretty good thunderstorm (lasted all night and into the next day) than today, with the cloudless blue sky and warmer ambient temperature, but there you have it. My calendar also informs me that today is the 55th aniversary of the first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight made by jet aircraft. Nifty.

That's all I've got for now. Happy first day of Fall, everyone.


YaYa said...

I happened on the coverage and was blown away seeing MY BOSS as the Channel 4 "Exclusive" passenger vido....Dave Rinetz!!!! His face appeared on the screen and I had no one to scream with, except my good ole' furry friend, Maggie! Well it was quite something to see coverage through the night, then again this a.m. on the Today Show...I spoke with Dave today and he said it was quite the experience and that the crew were calm and firm...for a few moments he said he had a brief "flash before your eyes" experience...He is the stand-up I've told you about...plays at the Ice Palace in Pasadena...remember??? Anyhow...quite the news-filled day!
Now let's hope Rita calms down..!:)

susan said...

Wow, I can't believe Dave was on that plane! That must have been a surprise to see him on the news. And yes, Rita really should take a chill pill. Definitely.

Amy said...

Seriously, are the plane gods really trying to persuade me never to fly again??? They suck.