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Back from Europe. Trip went like clockwork. Flight was grand, except for the wheel catching fire and the emergency evacuation at O'Hare. Am tired. More later.

ETA: Hey, my flight made the news!

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
perelleth
Aug. 5th, 2010 08:24 am (UTC)
Welcome back! I've been clicking on LJ like crazy since I touched down in my couch, looking forward to pics, you know! :-)
frenchpony
Aug. 5th, 2010 11:53 am (UTC)
I took waaaaay too many pictures! I have to sit down, pull them off the camera, and sort through them to figure out what, exactly, I have. I got home much later than I expected, so I haven't done any of that yet. But there will be picspam, oh yes there will!
perelleth
Aug. 5th, 2010 12:06 pm (UTC)
OOps. An emergency evacuation... a nasty welcome. THankfully it was already on the ground! :-)
frenchpony
Aug. 5th, 2010 12:26 pm (UTC)
Yes, it was quite a welcome to Chicago, especially for all the Brits on the plane who were going on vacation! But as I just told Little Sister Pony, if you're going to have an airplane emergency, the best place to have it is on the ground at your home airport.
meckinock
Aug. 5th, 2010 09:37 am (UTC)
Oh my gosh. I saw that on the news. Very glad you're OK.
frenchpony
Aug. 5th, 2010 11:56 am (UTC)
Shortly after I got home, it occurred to me to check the news as well. I'm impressed -- I didn't see any media at the scene. But there were a number of passengers taking pictures and video. If I hadn't had my camera inside a bag that I had to leave on the plane (along with my passport and digital voice recorder, which were far more worrisome), I would have taken a few snaps, too, to add to the trip picspams. Wouldn't that have been the perfect cap?

All in all, for a first airplane emergency, it was a good one to have. The evacuation was pretty orderly, and the injuries mostly came from people stumbling as they got off the emergency slides, not from the fire itself.
dawtheminstrel
Aug. 5th, 2010 11:16 am (UTC)
Oh dear. That sounds...exciting!
frenchpony
Aug. 5th, 2010 12:00 pm (UTC)
It was exciting! We'd just landed (which felt a bit bumpy, but nothing unusual), and we were just sort of happily taxiing around the tarmac toward our gate, when these beepers went off, and there was this voice telling us to evacuate the plane. Then I heard something blow out one of the rear exits, and that was when people started to realize that this was a For-Real Emergency. The flight attendants decided that everyone should exit through the front, so we did. I wouldn't say there was great panic, but there was general nervousness, since we knew that something was on fire somewhere. More people were afraid of the slide than anything else, I think.

Anyway, once we got off the plane, we saw that it was the landing gear that was smoking and not, say, the tail of the plane or the fuel tanks. So that was reassuring, and some people who did not have their cameras tucked away inside two bags left on the plane took pictures, which I totally would have done if I hadn't left my bags on the plane.
dawtheminstrel
Aug. 5th, 2010 12:09 pm (UTC)
So you went down the slide and everything? That would be a little scary. How long did it take to get your bags then? Because I imagine you were pretty tired by that point since you'd come from Italy. Did they have to question about events and whether you were hurt?
frenchpony
Aug. 5th, 2010 12:33 pm (UTC)
Yup, I went down the slide! There are two things that they don't tell you about the slide in the pre-flight briefings. 1) It's a lot steeper than you think it is -- they show a playground-slide incline, but it's actually much more like top-of-a-rollercoaster. 2) You go down the slide much faster than you think you will. This isn't a bad thing -- you want to get people off the plane quickly -- but it is something that would have been good to know in advance.

I wasn't scared of the slide (I thought the slide was kind of fun), but a lot of people were, especially older people and this one young lady with Down's Syndrome whose family had to put her on the slide to get her to go down. Since I went down faster than I'd anticipated, I made a remarkably graceless landing, but I rolled with it and wasn't hurt. Most of the injuries were scraped knees and legs from people who fell getting off the slide because they tensed up because they were scared.

It took about three hours before they got to the point where they would let us on the plane to get our bags. Right after we got off, the guys in the neon yellow vests went around asking if anyone was hurt, and they had lots of ambulances around just in case. We didn't get questioned about what happened, partially because we didn't really know, and partially because, from the investigators' point of view, it was pretty clear what happened: the plane made a rougher landing than it should have, and the friction ignited the (probably aging) tires in the landing gear.
jelazakazone
Aug. 5th, 2010 11:30 am (UTC)
Wow. That's the kind of excitement one can do without on a trip! Welcome home.
frenchpony
Aug. 5th, 2010 12:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I could have done without the excitement and gotten home three hours earlier. But, hey, now I have a great story to tell the Pony Family!
lcohen
Aug. 5th, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC)
glad you're okay--it's not emergency room season!
frenchpony
Aug. 5th, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC)
For a first airplane incident, I thought it was the best kind to have -- moderately semi-nervous, but people were pretty much okay. No out-of-season emergency rooms for me!
fafojoy
Aug. 5th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)
That sounds very exciting. I am glad you are ok. How exciting to go down the slide though! A real pain to have to wait around for hours to go back and get your stuff, on the other hand. I bet that made for a long day.
frenchpony
Aug. 5th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
I have to confess . . . after I went down the slide, I kind of wanted to go up and do it again! Of course, the plane was still evacuating, so that wasn't really an option, but still.

It was a very long day. I couldn't stop falling asleep on the bus back to Hyde Park. The title of this post, in fact, is a quote from the movie Hot Shots!, a spoof of Top Gun. One of the characters is involved in a long comic chase that ends with him smashing up against an ambulance. His buddies congratulate him for showing up, and he just sort of smiles, goes "Thank you, Andre. I'll have the veal piccata," and flops over. I kind of felt like that when I got home.
fafojoy
Aug. 5th, 2010 04:57 pm (UTC)
In the fall of '93 or '94, I forget which now, I was flying out to Seattle/Tacoma with my roommate on a NWA DC-10 - It was one of those 2-5-2 seating arrangements. Kit and I were sitting over the right engine/wing. On takeoff, which was on the runway that dumps planes leaving MSP over the Minnesota River, we hit a flock of geese. Wiped out the right engine, which exploded in flames and then shut down. I believe it damaged the top engine too. We sort of cartwheeled on our side, but the wing didn't hit the ground, or we'd have crashed. People went flying (some weren't wearing seatbelts) and luggage went flying through the compartment.

Our pilots managed to level the plane, quite a feat, as I understand it now -we were scraping the tree tops over the Minnesota River Valley - and then we were flying very very low. We could see house numbers on the houses below. All that fuel weight in addition to passengers and cargo - on one working engine. It took us 20 minutes to get high enough to dump fuel, but they still did significant damage to paint jobs on the cars below.

After dumping fuel, they brought us in for a landing. They had us in crash positions, and we landed with a view of all these fire trucks and rescue squads and emergency vehicles lining the runway. I don't think they foamed the runway, though. I remember seeing the trucks with that stuff.

So after all that.... we taxied to the gate and they unloaded us there. We didn't even get to use the slide LOLOL. Which, though we were young and maybe would have enjoyed it, plenty of others would not have. Two of the crew were injured when we cartwheeled, as they were not buckled in for some reason, and some passengers were hit by flying luggage. I remember one young stewardess in hysterics - she was bleeding from a head wound and bruised up from being flung about in the kitchen galley area.

We made the local news and I didn't realize it, so didn't call family to tell them we were fine and had just taken the next plane to Seattle. Oops! Our flight is also included in the FAA's list of near miss wildlife hits - we didn't crash, but sure could have.

So that's my long winded story LOL.
frenchpony
Aug. 5th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC)
Yikes! See, now that's a real Scary Airplane Story. All my plane had was a relatively minor fire right there on the tarmac, which is really the best place to have an emergency.
dot_o_choillmor
Aug. 6th, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)
Whoa. There's an Adventure to cap off the trip. I've never known anyone who had to use the slide - but now I do!
frenchpony
Aug. 6th, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)
When I told the singers about it last night, some of them were very curious about the slide, and said that they'd always wanted to try out the emergency equipment. And now I have!
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )