John Walker's Electronic House

Tag: planes

Turbulent Times: Planes Can Be Scary

by on Jun.28, 2011, under The Rest

I am alive. Which is something I wasn’t sure would be the case earlier today.

Something I’ve always wanted to do is fly in one of those research planes that go through thunderstorms with the deliberate intent of being struck. As I’ve mentioned so very often, I adore thunder, and the idea of being so close to it seems thrilling.

Well, as it turns out it’s just terrifying. Especially when you’re not in a research plane, but a small commercial vessel that’s circling above Brussels for an hour, insanely flying through the storm again and again and again. It’s hard to understand what was happening, especially since the pilot adopted that airline code of not explaining what was going on for enormous stretches of time, while we all stared at each other, not sure how much longer we had to live.

Things kicked as we approached Brussels to land, and the rollercoaster began. About twenty minutes earlier the flight attendant (the, as this was a very small plane) had warned us there was a chance of turbulence, but not said when. The plane lowered, we began our approach (wheels still up), and then dropped, my stomach left at our previous altitude. Now, I love it when that happens in planes, because I’m an idiot. It’s the ultimate ride, that sensation you get from a good coaster but without the tedium of seeing where it ends. I know that it’s just hitting an air pocket, and I know it’s fine, and I enjoy the adrenaline rush. I turned to the guy sat next to me and said, “That was a good one!”

But then it got a bit worse. And I saw the airport pass beneath us, as we continued on.

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