I'm back from my annual trip to sunny California where I get my once-a-year hit on the old aircraft-maintenance crack pipe.
Did I ever tell you about my love of airplanes? I have spent my entire career in/on/around/under/on-top-of/covered-in airplanes. In my younger days I worked on them, now I just work on the software that goes in them. I always have a desire to get my hands dirty on them again though and once a year I get to do it.
I got the full treatment this time, saw a B-1, B-52, and an F-22 take off. Even heard a sonic boom. I hurt my back crawling around in tight spaces, got my hands dirty changing parts, had the smell of jet fuel for breakfast, and generally wet myself. Yes I was in heaven.
Then I saw that some old boy put an Airbus A320 in the drink out in New York. Everyone walked/swam away. You wanna know why? Because that old boy was an ex Air Force pilot who flew F-4's. He knows how to fly "airplanes", not just the computer-based-overpriced Nintendo games they slap wings on now day's and call airplanes. No, this son of a bitch flew the airplane that proved if you put a big enough engine on it, you can make a brick fly. The kind of airplane that will kill you quickly if you fuck up. The kind of airplane that doesn't "compensate" for pilot mistakes but actually "aggravates" them. This boy knew how to fly.
Yes, this time he was flying one of the most advanced modern airliners in existence today but you know what all those fancy computers become when the fucking engines quick and you got no electrons running through them? Worthless wastes of space, that's what. Without those the only thing the poor bastards in the back got going for them is the matter between the pilots ears and his balls. God help you if he doesn't have any or either. (BTW ladies, men are not the only ones with balls. I've met more than enough women pilots with balls of steel to know better. I just don't know what else to call that quality!)
Pilots fly airplanes, computers only help. Take the pilot out of the cockpit and you can count me out mister. The day I put more trust in a fancy piece of silicon and some geeky software engineer than in a piss-and-vinegar filled crusty old stick and rudder pilot is the day I'll cash in my chips and take a fucking donkey.
He'll never admit it, but I bet this guy actually got a little excited when the engines quit. After years of monotonous computer-based "flying" he actually got to reuse all that shit he learned when he became a pilot. Maybe excited isn't the word, little wet-behind-the-ears pilots get excited, real pilots step up to the situation and become something beyond themselves when the shit hits the fan. Of course they're scared, everyone gets scared, some people just put the fear in a different place and do what needs to be done. This guy was probably just happy that nobody was shooting at him when his engines quit. Hell that's a piece of cake.
Next time you get on an airplane take a look at the pilot. If he's a kid, pray like hell he won't suck his thumb and cry for momma when he gets in trouble. If he's wearing an Air Force, Navy, or Marine's pin on his lapel and he's over the age of 40, sit back and enjoy your flight. Hell get drunk, it will make it that much more fun.
Speaking of praying, I saw an article about this that said something like the passengers prayers were answered when they all survived. The more I thought about it I hope that's not true. I hope those poor bastards didn't pray for themselves. I hope they prayed that their family's and loved ones would be taken care of it they were to die that day. I find it very selfish to ask the creator of the fucking universe to spare my little insignificant life just because I'm scared. If God can find a better way of caring for my family then by all means end my pathetic little existence here on earth. Everyone will be better off if that's true. If, however, God's plan for caring for those more important than me is to have me stick around and care for them, then spare me and I'll keep doing the best I can. I could be just old and crank though.
BTW, I REALLY need to run again soon. The weather in California was amazing and I didn't run a step.
Thanks for listening