Saturday, 5 May 2012

Flying


This week I managed to sit down and spend some time researching, planning and booking the hotel, flights and car for our trip to Victoria in August.  Matthew will be competing in the Canadian Championships for Target and Field Archery and we figured that since it is in Victoria the whole family would fly out.  The boys were both born in the Comox Valley which is on the Eastern coast of Vancouver Island at around the midpoint of the island.  Beautiful spot.  I am looking forward to the trip, but especially seeing Comox again and introducing the boys to where they spent the first couple of years of their lives.  I love my Nova Scotia home but how could a person not miss a town that has this as it’s view?
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The picture shows the Comox Glacier.  Yes, it is glacial ice.   To the right of the Glacier is the Forbidden Plateau, and then further right (not pictured) is Mt. Washington resort.  A popular resort for skiing.
We were able to use our airmiles for two of the tickets which helped but it was still nearly $2600 for four tickets.  And they don’t even feed you on the plane anymore.  Or show you free movies.   Gone are the days when you could take off and drink free from take off to landing!!  (Not that I ever did that…much).
Let’s just hope all the archery gear makes it there.  They can lose our underwear but if that archery gear doesn’t make it off the plane safely I think I may have a cow.
In fact, if we could warp speed through the actual flight that would be great!  I never used to be a nervous flyer but I think that all changed when I had kids.  I used to be in the Air Force and loved flying and planes.  I remember living in the barracks and parking my fanny in front of my bedroom window after work to watch the planes take off and land, or running to the window when I heard some new, different engine sound wondering what weird and wonderful visiting aircraft that it belonged to.
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And then there was the psychic.  One white haired little old lady that read my palm and tea leaves when I was 15 that told me that I would always have problems involving airplanes and flights.  And for the most part that is true.  The first flight I took after that (about 3 months later) ended up having to return to Montreal after trying unsuccessfully to land in Halifax during a storm.  There can not be many worse feelings in the world as a 15 year old on a plane in a storm feeling it descend for landing, not being able to see the runway under you and then feeling the plane sharply pull up and climb after aborting the attempt… more than once.  Landing in Montreal was a relief.
While hubby and I were living on Vancouver Island we decided to book a flight home to Nova Scotia and surprise the family.  We were young and childless at that point and could do impulsive things like that.  The air force Boeings were still  in service then and it was a relatively simple thing to book ourselves on a return cross country trip.
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The day we left was a fairly rainy day and on take off I was getting wet sitting in my seat as there was water actually coming in from around the window frame…and oh yes, all the oxygen masks came down in front of all the seats.  ”No problem” the pilot said, just ignore them.  Great.
On the return trip, as we were doing our approach into Comox we noticed that we were taking an unusually long time.  Circling.  We thought that there was just a lot of air traffic and that we were just waiting our turn.  Well, after widely circling for 45 minutes we began to suspect something was up.  As we spotted the air field we noticed all the lights off the runway…belonging to ambulances and firetrucks.  They were there for us.   Eventually the pilot came on and told us to brace during landing and that it might be a bit rough.  Other than that, none of us were told what was going on.  We landed and the plane came to a stop faster than any plane I’d ever been on.  We didn’t even taxi to the terminal, they wheeled a couple of sets of stairs out to us and we all got off.  There was hydraulic fluid all over the runway under our plane.  When we got to the terminal there were people waiting there for passengers in tears.  They could see and were all told that the plane could not get it’s landing gear down.  It just wouldn’t come down.  Eventually it would come down partially (one side down, one side down about half way).  That’s why we’d been circling and the ride was bumpy.  They were trying to jostle the landing gear down and burn fuel at the same time.  We were told none of this on the plane.
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Eventually they were able to get both sides of the gear down but were unable to confirm if it was locked in place.  They went in for a landing expecting that some or all of the gear would give out at touch down.   Thankfully that didn’t happen.  I have to say that not knowing fully what was going on was probably a good thing.  As a result I could look at it from the other side and instead of fear I just feel lucky and a bit detached, as if it happened to someone else.  It’s probably why I can still get on a plane.
There were other incidents such as missed planes, delayed planes and even once another plane that came way to close to us which sparked a bit of a panic.  The pilots denied there was ever any issue however most of the passengers saw the other plane pass slightly below us and to the side and we could clearly see the passengers in the windows of the other plane.  One of the stewardesses freaked when it was pointed out to her, which caused some of the passengers to freak.  Nothing else was ever said about it except for a small write up in the paper about two planes coming very close to each other.  I don’t know if it was our two planes or not.  I assume so.
So, the more I fly the more of a nervous flyer I become.  I am still not going to let it ground me though.  I realize there are going to be times that I just need to fly.  Period.
The kids probably feel the same way.  However their issues with flying have nothing to do with bad experiences and everything to do with the TV show “Mayday”.  They used to watch that show all the time.       They aren’t outwardly nervous fliers although they will admit to a few butterflies.  It’s their own darn fault though.  Heck, the last time Matthew flew his dad looked over on the plane to see what movie he was watching…he was watching “Mayday” on the plane.
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1 comment:

  1. I love to fly, I think it's the point A to B fairly quickly thing. However, I do admit that the service aboard is nothing like it used to be. I've had my share of waiting while they "fix" the plane before take off etc. But in some cases it's the way to go! What I hate most is having to be at the airport so early now. I like the comment they alwasy say when I come back into the country - "you don't look like a criminal but we'd like to search your luggage". Oh well they have their job!LOL!

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