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the friendly skies

Now that I've reverted myself to night-owl status, and currently share a building two miles from the airport with lots of aircrew, it's cool to observe them and even share a few words at times. They work mad hours, just like writers and students and lighting designers do.

You can always tell crew coming off duty since they look frazzled and, well, relieved. Those packing out to the airport look more rested and lots more calm. In the space of an hour tonight, I got to meet personnel going both ways [not at the same time :O] ... Just had a convo with a Captain and First Officer outbound to New York, just as I will be in a couple of weeks. They commented on slowdowns from the Controllers and they doubted that they'd be very much on schedule anymore after the first trip. The Captain grinned and told me that this wasn't anything like I'd ever heard from the airline webpages, right?

Last year at one of the terminals in Newark I learned from a First Officer that aircrew now regularly are armed [think, automatic pistols] and when I got more interested he said that no passenger would know who among the crew packed a little extra hardware, or if any of them actually were, on that flight, or if they all were! But each of them knew, and that was all I needed to know!

He looked very calm and was very friendly, if terse, as I recall. I wasn't flying that day but I felt very secure.

It seemed as though they were grateful to converse with someone other than each other: must be a lot of lonely responsibility they all shoulder for us passengers, most of whom could not care less, I suppose. Except to complain. Which I hear all too much of, every time I move through an airport.

Well I think it's awesome that they are so dedicated and that we --- mostly without a second thought --- trust them with our lives, also a lot of people like ARTCC folks that we never ever meet and to whom we have no more personality than electronic transponder blips on their screens. And on whom we are totally totally dependent for survival when we start moving through the skies at 800 Kph in a long pressurized metal tube. Mostly what we worry about is can we get another Coke.

And we can concern ourselves with Coke because they do brilliant, and vital, work.


kiota too late for the stars
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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