I have been lucky, I have been fortunate to travel over 500,000+ miles in the air over the past twenty-five years. Traveling has always been a part of me. From leaving home at 13 to goto boarding school, to driving across the USA to live in California. Work has taken me even further, Europe 20+ times, Asia a good 8 or 9 times. Without these travels, I do not believe I would have the outlook I do today. I hope to travel some place new each year forever.
That said, I rarely enjoy flying. Not that I don’t like planes, I think they are super cool. Many times I have asked myself if I would have been happier flying an A320 or 757 vs. being a tech nerd. Anyways….lately my fear of flying seemed a bit overblown considering how safe flying really is. But, I’ve had this bad feeling about planes recently.
I think its because, I’ve flown too much. Too much turbulence, icy poles, empty oceans and windy, snowcapped mountain ranges that made for some rather long and unpleasant flights. But to my luck, no air emergencies. Not until last Monday afternoon that is.
The flight was to Salt Lake from San Jose. The plane, a Delta Canadian Regional Jet – the problem, “ice indicators on the wings.” Shortly after takeoff, we leveled off around five thousand feet and then started descending in long, slow circles, with hardly any engine power. After about 10 minutes in the air a fellow passenger could be heard muttering, “boy…we are going low..and slow.”
Then the announcement you never want to hear from the captain, “er…crackle…ahhh, we are getting some ice indicators, not going to Salt Lake, back on the ground in five minutes.” Ok….we haven’t crashed yet, the plane is still flying, though I can’t feel the engines, looks like in five minutes time I will either be alive or dead. Surprisingly, the cabin was calm, actually silent….the folks in the isle seats thought it was a problem in Salt Lake, but us folk in window seats new the plane was in trouble. Are we dumping fuel so we don’t blow up on the runway while trying to land?
After in an incredibly low and slow drift back to San Jose we landed safely. As I had promised myself a hundred time before on other unpleasant flights, I got off the plane and went home. It wasn’t this flight that sent me home, it was for all the other unpleasant flights that made me feel the same way.
On Tuesday morning I took another CRJ and flew to Salt Lake and back the same day. For some reason, the flight was great, I felt relaxed the entire time and had fun looking at all the old cold war airfields and military artifacts on the flight across the dessert. My anxiety was gone. I knew I was due for something unfortunate to happen in the air after all my travels – and it happened. And I survived it!!
Life is good again, I’m ready to fly anywhere now.