Aviation might well be the safest form of transport but the latter part of 2010 seems to be giving the well-worn cliche a run for its money.
Herewith three incidents from this past weekend which will make you pleased that you put your feet up and took it easy.
1. Cracked windshield almost brings down jumbo jet
United Airlines Flight 881 from Boston to Chicago (the Red Sox-White Sox route, as it’s never called) made an emergency landing in Buffalo after a crack was discovered in its windshield.176 people were onboard and a spokesman for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, no doubt sounding extremely relieved, told the Buffalo News, “There was no problem with decompression, no problem with passengers, and the plane landed safely.”
2. Reported fire on wing leads to JFK emergency landing
U.S.-Russian relations nearly took a turn for the worse in light of a Moscow-bound plane with over 200 people making an emergency landing at JFK soon after leaving New York Sunday. Delta Flight 30 encountered early engine problems. Captain E.C. Anderson said he lost his left engine right after takeoff. “It just went bang,” Anderson told the New York Daily News. “I’ve been doing this a long time and I have never seen anything like that.”
A New York Fire Department spokesperson confirmed that more than 100 firefighters were on standby as there had been reports of a wing on fire. But “the plane landed safely and taxied to the gate. All passengers exited safely,” the spokesperson said. As for Capt. Anderson, he wanted nothing to do with the replacement flight, which had been dispatched. “I’m done for tonight,” he said. “We’ll let somebody else have the excitement.”
3. Pilots get locked out of cockpit
Delta was in the wars this weekend. Flight 124 (LA-Atlanta) was held up for several hours Sunday because the cockpit door was locked and the pilot and crew just couldn’t get inside. Mechanics had been working on the problem of the door for several hours before the penny dropped: “It was then discovered that the cockpit door was locked,” Delta Airlines spokeswoman Kristin Bauer said. It’s unsure what they thought the issue was but the flight was going to Brussels after making it to Atlanta. And presumably, everybody got off the plane safely, so long as the doors actually opened.