I should make that -- Brush with Death -- a new category on the blog.
What reminded me is how all the wind damaged those jet airliners' windshields today. Quite a disaster.
In the mid 90s, I was on a United SFO to LAX flight to get down for some computer party. At 30,000 feet -- and with no explanation from anyone -- plane went into a nose dive.
You could not have heard an earring drop. There was no screaming. I was in first class and looked frantically at the stewardess across from me, she was strapped in with her eyes closed.
The guy next to me was a few years older, as I recall. A lawyer from LA. And he said, well, you wanna call anybody? We both had phones in our seats. Neither us made a call. He said keep looking out the window and look for strips of highway or flat areas he can land us. But nothing. Just mountains.Meanwhile, he chanted the words to every Jim Morrison and the Doors song he ever knew.
We all thought we were gonners, but then the plane started rocking side to side, violently first, and then more gently and then our nose was level again.
Pilot got on, apologized for not explaining earlier. Said a bird hit the windshield (the first layer) at 30,000 feet. He just had to get us down as far as possible so we wouldn't get sucked out.
We finally landed at SFO.
They immediately took all of us -- tunneled us to another waiting plane back at SFO -- put us in our same seats and we were off in like, two minutes. Everyone wanted to talk about the hair-raising experience, but we had a new crew and captain obviously instructed not to talk about it. Very weird.
My paper I worked for - The SF Chronicle/Examiner Sunday -- ran a paragraph about an emergency landing. My editor knew the whole story and thought it was funny. Sure we were at risk, but no one will sue you for "brush with death" if you make light of it. I mean, no one was hurt.
Another pilot later told me that our pilot must've been great, because to be able to get stable after a 5 or 10 minute nose dive from that height is really impressive.
So that's one of my brushes. Yep. Think I'll make it a topic. I'd like to hear yours.