Author Topic: Would you Could you?  (Read 825 times)

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Offline Burrito

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Would you Could you?
« on: January 25, 2009, 09:38:43 PM »
Hey all.

All the media coverage of US 1549 and the "Miracle On The Hudson" makes me wonder about my own situation.  Last semester I transferred out of Daniel Webster College, a very known school to the pilot population in the Northeastern US.  I transferred mostly because I didn't like the all-around [lack of] community there, but also because I was not a pilot thanks to a late diagnosis of myoclonic epilepsy brought on by extreme amounts of stress.  A week after I got the acceptance letter and the scholarship details, I had mid-terms, which I had been studying like a madman for almost all the time.  When I had a juvenile seizure, I lost consciousness and fell down the stairs - sending me to the hospital.  After a quick diagnosis (well, a few months later), I was denied a Class 1 medical by FAA.  So basically, I could/can not fly planes unless seizure-free for (I think?) 3 years.

Enough about me though...It's Year Three.  And the meds are legal!  Unlike some doctors we see on TV..

I still wonder to this day whether or not it would have been better for me to have flown at Webster, fly later in life, or fly at all.  I'm loving my current college, so why leave?  But would you be able to step into another aircraft after being involved in a crash, disaster, RTO, or extreme turbulence like the one that recently grounded NWA 22?

My second to last flight lesson was one involving touch-and-go's and simulated engine-outs.  The aircraft before me, a brand new Cessna 182T, had just started rolling down the runway and my instructor and I watched as he took off straight into a flock of passing geese.  With almost perfect execution, he managed to pull a teardrop landing on the opposing runway without issue, even though the plane itself was badly damaged.  We continued on with the lesson, but every birdstrike I hear about I wonder what it would be like to be in that plane...Or if I'd fly again.  Would you?  Could you?

- Jay

Offline FMCS

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Re: Would you Could you?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2009, 10:57:57 PM »
   It all depends on the level of passion and determination...whether or not you love that particular job or hobby that even the threat of death as a result doesn't really bothers you (something like if you die at least you die doing what you love)
   I had an experience a few years ago that was something similar, my brother a friend and myself all rented Cessna 152's, I had just gotten my private license and we decided to have some fun. We took off from the airport and headed north east to the practice area where there was a large lake. At this point my brother decided to descend and fly full out over the lake and pass over some boats that were cruising around, both our friend and myself followed...We did a couple of passes and on the final one...all I saw was the head of the seagull...and thump, thump, thump!!! I must of hit 5 or 6 and I immediately noticed that the props had been hit, there was a strong vibration in the engine and I really thought that I was going to have to ditch...At this point I was at around 2500ft ASL and after talking to my brother, decided to try to make the airport...finally about 15min later I did and landed safely...I'll tell you that I was sure that was my last flight and in the end...the next morning I was back to go up again..
   Since then I lost my Medical and have unfortunately been grounded but my brother still flies for one the Regionals here so I get to go with him quite often...I just love it too much!!!


Offline M-Sauce

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Re: Would you Could you?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2009, 05:17:51 AM »
I have never been involved in any "metal bending", but I have flown with at least 2 guys who have. One was involved in a runway overrun, thankfully not major and with no loss of life, just busted egos thanks to EMAS. The other was involved in a major crash where at least half,  if not more of the souls on board didn't make it.

Both these pilots had definitely changed. You could tell that there was something different about them and that it had been a life changing experience, especially the one involved in the fatal crash. I think it would need to be something that you have to experience yourself to really know how it feels. As pilots we all walk arround with a sense of "invinsibility", which is probably eroded a bit, if not completely, when you are involved in a major accident. Aviation these days has gotten very safe, but it is still a very unforgiving activity. Like many things, it is all about risk management, and we have gotten very good at managing the risks.

It really is quite amazing when you think about it. I remember once I was going from XNA to LGA in the Embraer, landing LGA at around 10PM. When we left XNA the forcast said that NY would get a "light dusting" of flurries. We thought nothing of it, and blasted off with no delays. About half way through, it started snowing when we checked the WX. About the time we started the STAR we where surprised as to how quiet the frequency was. When we got the latest weather, we realized that those flurries had turned into almost a foot of snow on the ground.

Because LGA has mostly short flights, most other carriers had either landed or been ground-stopped at their departure points. So here we were coming in, just us and a couple other planes. About the time we checked in with Approach Control, they told us to expect a little holding while they finished clearing the runway. It was then that I decided to step to the back to use the lav really quick, just in case we were gonna be there for a while. As I was walking back up to the flight deck, a passenger stopped me and asked "how much longer is it gonna be? I thought that planes could fly in this weather with no problems". I kneeled down, and asked him, "sir, have you ever driven in snow?", which he answered yes. So I asked" how fast do you normaly drive? which he replied "slow, about 25 to 30 MPH, depends how icy". So I told him, well, we are getting ready to touchdown on an icy and snow covered runway at approximately 160MPH on three wheels, and we have to come to a complete stop in about 6000feet".

That seems to have infused a little patience in him.

Mariano  ::cheers::
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Offline Jaymom

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Re: Would you Could you?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2009, 09:40:12 PM »
Hi Jay,

Thought i would pass this on to you.... my wife had a seizure due to low sodium in her body which was caused by taking the same medication for so many years. When she left the hospital she had a seizure (approdimately 1 minute long) every few months for over 5 years. Finally after many doctor visits, while laying in a hospital bed, her doctor watched her monitor go from 80 heart beats a minute all the way down to zero and after approximately 15 seconds it went back up to 80. The doctor ran out of the room, ordered a pace maker for her, installed it the next morning and she has never had a problem since. Her heart beat dropping so low was the cause of her seizures. What is going on in her brain to cause the problem in the first place no one will ever know. But right now she can out walk any 20 year old in this neighborhood and she is 65.
Just something to think about.


Offline MLMC

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Re: Would you Could you?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2009, 02:46:41 AM »
One of the girls that works for our management company was on USAirways 1549.  It is pretty incredible how vivid my memory is of that day.  We were sitting and watching TV reading emails, and my roommate saw the news flash online.  I knew it would have to be on CNN for sure.  Watched the plane float down the river, and then he (my roommate) said, "Robin is flying back from New York today.  I sure hope she wasn't on that flight."  Sure enough, she was on that flight, and cell phones started going crazy about ten minutes later, and thankfully she was alright.  I ended up seeing a picture of her on CNN, and she looked really cold.  I haven't asked her about any of it yet, and I don't know if I will.  I can only imagine what went through her mind.  I am sure it was an incredibly traumatic ordeal.  I wouldn't blame her if she never stepped foot onto another plane in her life.  I don't know if she is incredibly unlucky, or incredibly lucky.  Unlucky to be on that flight.  Lucky to have the crew that she did on that flight.  Isn't that the first time an A320 (or any plane) ditched "successfully?"

I had one bird strike during my own flight training.  It was only a small size bird, but the noise was pretty unbelievable in a 172.  I couldn't imagine a goose! Or a flock of geese, for that matter.

I fly a lot for work.  (I live on the road, pretty much.)  Based out of Austin, TX for work, but my girlfriend lives in Boise, ID, and I am technically a resident of Idaho.  Needless to say, I have about a quarter million FF miles between United, Delta, and Frontier.  I fly probably anywhere from two to eight times a month, (commercially-which doesn't count, I know:-))and I figured that if I ever died in a plane crash, well, that would be that. 

I've known numerous backcountry pilots in Idaho that never came back, and I have had a couple a#$ pucker experiences myself.  One of the most puckering was on September 12th, 2001.  It took me a minute to register in my mind, but when I realized that I had been on United 93 one week earlier (9/4/01) than 9/11.  With all the things that were going on at the time, it took awhile for it all to set in.  I still remember the lady sitting next to me on that flight.  Mid 40's, still single, and scared out of her mind about flying.  She grabbed my hand during takeoff and landing.  (at least she was still attractive-so I didn't pull my hand back) She literally freaked out.  One week later, I could understand why she would be so nervous!

To answer the question, yes, I could, and am, and will be for as long as I can see into the future! ::cheers::

Offline vc-10

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Re: Would you Could you?
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2009, 07:25:12 PM »
My godmother was on the Gimli glider, and she is terrified of flying, still. To make matters worse, she lives partly in Kent (UK) and partly in NYC! I've flown over to New York with her, she didn't enjoy it at all. My mother is worse though, so much so that she refuses to fly to Spain on holiday each year (despite it being cheaper), and we drive instead.
Didn't the captain of that BA BAC 1-11 that got sucked out of the window keep flying after the event?

Offline Mosha

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Re: Would you Could you?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2009, 02:39:12 AM »
I saw that one Felix, on Air Crash Investigations, or something similar. I believe the captain did. IIRC the 1st officer has refused to talk about the incident in public. My only stipulation when flying was to ask "Don't sit me next to a smoker" "It's a none smoking flight sir." "I know that, I also know smokers who can't walk 5 yards down the road without a fag, (Not what you Americans call a fag) I don't want to next to someone going cold turkey for 10 1/2 hours"  ;D
Regards, Steve

"Never argue with an idiot. They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience."