Plen On Jet Blue

I found out on Drudge.  I go at least once a day, to find out what’s up with
the enemy.  The mention was small, but it caught my eye.  After all, LAX ain’t
that far from where I live.

I did a bit of cursory research and then went out for my appointed hike. 
Where I got a blow by blow from my buddy Jeff.  Who’d been glued to the set for
the past three hours.

Now tonight Amy complained that the media can only focus on one story at one
time.  Why couldn’t they just put a little box in the screen, a PIP, and wait
for something to happen, whilst going on with the real news.

I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but paranoia has struck deep in
L.A.  People are talking about buying generators.  Popular discussion is how
many days of water you have on hand.  Even the most disaffected have become
survivalists.  Suddenly, in the age of Bush, it’s every man for himself.  The
public has finally gotten the message, after watching the New Orleans disaster
unfold on television.  I always thought we lived in a society, that we were
supposed to count on one another.  But not anymore.  It’s become positively tribal.
Leo discussed buying a gun.  To keep looters from HIS house, which is well
stocked, when the big one hits.

So everybody’s on edge.  The Jet Blue almost disaster is on everybody’s mind.
Mine too.  I used to be a nervous flier, until on a bad flight Jay Krugman
convinced me I wasn’t going to die in a plane crash, the odds were just that
low.  But those odds seem to be increasing.  With mechanics on strike, with
maintenance done south of the border.  Hell, I won’t fly Alaska.  That plane that
flew upside down and crashed off of the coast of Santa Barbara?  Purely bad
maintenance.  From an airline putting up a good image and saving dough on fixes.
That’s America today.  Put on a good face, what’s underneath is irrelevant.

We don’t want to know we’re gonna die.  We want it to happen instantly.  The
thought of dying in a plane crash horrifies us.  Which may be why we’re all so
fixated on this Jet Blue thing.  I want to share with you a personal account
by Michael Plen, the legendary Attack Hamster, promo majordomo at Virgin when
they used to have hits!  He’s now tirelessly trying to develop artists at
Sanctuary as the company hemorrhages money, the insides draining out as we watch. Plen’s story may not be the best written, but it’s his, and it’s human.

Experience of Jet Blue flight #292

It was another Attack Hamster mission….Sanctuary’s artists MUST be further developed!!!

We left Burbank as normal…..10 minutes in, the pilot said there was a light indicating the landing gear had a problem.  After a few minutes he instructed us that we were going to do a low flyby of the Long Beach airport, where Jet Blue had their base and a good assessment could be made.  After the low flyby, the pilot stated that 3 different sources said we had a serious problem…the front gear was down , but it was turned in a 90 degree position…..we would have to return to LAX…….About 10 minutes later, the DirecTV sets in everyone’s seats started popping up with a plane on it…..US!!!!  Fox news had heard pilot communication and suddenly we were watching the next breaking news story…"NY bound Jet Blue flight 292 to make an emergency crash landing"….I watched and listened for a very short time, but turned it off as I couldn’t take all the commentators speculating on the many different ways we could die…or live!!!   It was so surreal…..Then a long range lens actually showed the damaged front landing gear and that’s when you could tell people really getting nervous.  The captain instructed us that we’d be flying around a while to burn off much of the fuel we had for our NY  trip…..and to determine the best
strategy for landing….It was mostly calm, some people cried..There were no cell phone abuses….I think one girl got up and got stoned in the bathroom, that smell is undeniable….

The woman next to me burst out…"I’m pregnant…5 months…what am I going to do???

The man on the other side was calm….I looked at my picture Ipod of my family for a while thinking about all the possibilities then turned it off and practiced the best yoga breathing possible and prayed to God….I also tried sending telepathic messages to my wife, child & parents…..I asked God to send me a sign …oddly at that exact moment, my blackberry buzzed in my pants.    I thought, "What does that mean?  Is it a good sign or a bad sign? As it turned out, it was a text message from my wife telling me she loved me…. Fortunately she, nor my parents had been watching TV and knew nothing about what was going on.

The 3 hour wait was pure internal torture.   With that much time to assess one’s life and possibilities, its amazing how many different scenarios unfold and how you inevitably come to terms with the fact that your time may be up in the next few minutes, that you may be facing a fireball or just be lucky enough to walk away…..

The entire time, Jet Blue’s team were optimistic, in control and comforting…showing us all the ways to get out, whether it be via emergency door, fire possibilities,  and how to assume the crash position.  Bags were moved to the back, as were people with weight to keep the front of the plane light……Then when it was time to land, …….."prepare for landing at LAX" said the captain as we watched downtown go by, then the Forum..and then it was "assume crash positions….BRACE< BRACE< BRACE!!!  The TV’s had been turned off 15 minutes earlier and in crash position you couldn’t see out the window…… BRACE< BRACE< BRACE the flight attendants kept yelling…but when the back wheels hit, it felt like the softest butterfly landing ever…the plane rolled down the runway on its back tires for a long time it seemed…but we all knew the inevitable was imminent…. What would happen when the front landing gear hit the ground?…. it was very quiet…just the roar of the plane and the attendants
instructions and then ……the plane dropped its nose…and we kept moving WITHOUT the plane cracking its struts….AMAZING!!!!!!
The smell of burned rubber & metal crept in, but was not harsh and the plane kept moving forward without cracking…& then it came to a stop…. Fire engines descended on the plane…."there is no fire" the attendants said…later on the news I would see that indeed the tires had caught on fire, but there was nothing that prompted the Fire dept. to spray us down…The cabin BURST into tremendous cheering, high fives and laughter as all realized the captain & crew had done a genius job in escaping death. I THANKED GOD….we survived!!  I called my wife and said I was safe and alive & I loved her and my son Everette….all she could hear was yelling in the background and did not know what had happened..  Her earlier text had been a love message sent precisely at the time I was trying to send them telepathic love.   I told her to turn on the news…that’s where they saw the flight fiasco I had just been through. ….We were all allowed to walk off the plane with our luggage and were brought to an area where we were given options….another flight to NY from Long Beach, a hotel, just pick up your bags or medical assistance.  I wasn’t in the mood to go to NY and it was evident where my priorities were…get home to my family….2 hours later after drug & bomb sniffing dogs checked every bag on the tarmac, I got into a car and went home…It all felt like a bad reality show……a dream that could be dismissed…When I got home I hugged my wife and kid hard because I was lucky that I could still be in their life.  We watched the news and I saw what everyone else had been seeing and that’s when it became more frightening….and with today’s newspaper stories, It all began to sink in.  It TRULY was more scary after the event than it had ever been during it.  DirectTV on the flight really made it a horrific experience.  Funny enough, I got a call from AEG’s Tommy Nast who said he had just come off the plane from NY on Jet Blue that I had gotten on…..He had just nearly escaped a freaky experience.

I thank God…but simply it was patience, calm, serenity, prayer & optimism that got us thru it…


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