A Year Ago - Remembering Flying on 09/11

FurloughedAgain

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One year ago at this very moment the cockpit door clicked shut. I took another sip of my coffee before setting it down.

"Turn Two" the captain called and I complied, turning the start selector of engine number two. The familiar vibration and soft whirring reverberated through the airplane from 70 feet behind my seat.

We were in Allentown, Pennsylvania and the Captain and I were frustrated with -- of all things -- security. We had just "beeped" when we went through security and were forced to suffer the indignity of being "scanned" in front of our customers. When I climbed into the cockpit I noticed ground-support workers, many in civilian clothes, walking across the ramp -- they had never gone through security. "Look at that!", I quipped, "Those guys have been in the country for about 2 weeks and they dont have to go through security -- we FLY the planes and we get molested!"

But the time for anger and frustration had passed. We started the left engine as the tug pushed us away from the terminal building. The 120,000 pound Boeing slowly lumbered across the apron and towards the runway. The ACARS flashed "W/B" and I ran my finger across the touchscreen, transcribing the weight and balance data from the ACARS to the FMS. I programmed weights and speeds until the familiar "Preflight Complete" message was displayed.

Its my leg and the captain relinquished the controls of the 737 to this "newhire" -- at US Airways if you worked there less than 15 years you were a newhire. For me after two and a half years in the right seat of Douglas and Boeing jetliners, I still loved the feeling of pushing the throttles forward. I'd "stand them up" and wait...god I loved that sound...the engines slowly spooling up from somewhere behind me. I pushed them up to within 10% of the calculated takeoff thrust and clicked the TOGA buttons, the Boeing autothrottles precisely setting the power for me.

"80 Knots....V1....Rotate...Positive Rate...Gear Up." The airplane roared skyward just as the rising sun flashed across the eastern horizon. "1000 feet", called the Captain, "N1, Bug-me-up, flaps 1" I replied. I hand-flew to 10,000 feet and then selected the autopilot. Now coupled to both Lateral and Vertical Nav the airplane settled in to its preprogrammed course towards North Carolina.

Out of ten-thousand feet we grumbled a time or two about security again, but soon settled into our own thoughts. For me, I stared out the window. I had 3 weeks remaining before I was to be married. There was still quite a bit to be done when I came home from this trip. The sky was so smooth... not a cloud to be seen anywhere.

An hour later we descended towards Charlotte with no idea that our nation was under attack. We were vectored towards runway 36-Right and, as I often did, I disconnected the autopilot, flightdirector, and autothrottles below 10,000 feet. The captain chuckled and mumbled something about how I'd be happier in a twin-Cessna.

We saw the airport from 50 miles northeast on the arrival. We were vectored over Lake Norman, and then directly over Charlotte and past the airport on a right downwind. The Captain had pulled his seat up and was peering over me towards the airport below. "What the hell?" he muttered... directing my attention to the airport over my right shoulder.

"They're all going back to the gate...", I commented. We turned base, and then final. Sure enough the airplanes on the ground were turning around. Runway 5/23 was nearly filled with parked airplanes. The frequency filled with chatter, dozens of airplanes asking what was going on.

"We're out of business", the Captain whispered, his voice cracking. "This is exactly what happened at Braniff". The captain, obviously, recalling a memory from his own troubled past, had determined that our airline was being shut down -- we still had no idea.

The main gear brushed the ground and, holding the nose from the pavement, I pulled the thrust-reverse levers to the first detent, the cascade-type reversers sliding backwards. I did not pull them any further, not interested in applying reverse thrust. We would not exit the runway until after we had passed the intersection of 5/23 on the north side of the field. I held the nose off and allowed the autobrakes to apply their soft pressure. I tapped them off with my feet and we taxied clear of the runway.

The ramp control frequency was nightmarish. Dozens of airplanes returning to the gates, demanding information. "Silvertop Boeing just off 36R -- proceed to the gate, deplane your passengers and flight attendants, then call me to push back, we're going to put you on 5/23"

I never had the opportunity to respond. The captain was already on his cellphone, calling his wife. He clicked off his phone and looked at me -- "There has been a terrorist attack in New York", he told me "an airplane just hit the World-Trade Center".

"An Airliner??? I gasped. We were marshelled into the gate and the jetway quickly attached. The captain got on the PA, with a final announcement for our customers who would now, for at least a week, be stuck in Charlotte with us.

"Ladies and gentlemen. Look at your watch. Today we are witnessing history in the making. The United States has been attacked by terrorists. The government has, for the first time in history, elected to shut-down all of the airspace over our country. Hopefully there will be more information when you get into the terminal. God bless us all."

The flight attendants - supposedly trained to be calm during emergencies - were in tears, desperate for information. Already it became difficult for our cell-phones to connect. Cellular traffic was high. I managed to get a call to my fiance's voicemail... to my brother, and to my parents.

We taxied the airplane to runway 5 and were marshelled to a stop, parked close to the string of airplanes that lined the runway. As the engines shut down airstairs pulled to the airplane a van awaited the captain and I. We boarded the van with other flight crews and it quickly drove to the crew-room where a supervisor was handing out hotel information.

"Remove your stripes, jackets, hats and ID. Go to your hotel and dont call us -- we'll call you."

5 days laters the phone rang in my hotel room...scheduling asking us to ferry an airplane to Buffalo. The sky was silent that night...very few airplanes in the air. Neither the captain, nor I, said anything -- save our checklists.

He was the first to break the silence. "The world has changed," he sighed. "You know, there are going to be furloughs", he said matter of factly.

It is now a year later and as I type this I am in a hotel in Philadelphia. After I was furloughed I was invited to several regional airline interviews. I was fortunate enough to find a job as a turboprop F/O. I've been here several months now and have settled in to my new lifestyle, pleased to be flying again a year after these attacks.

That memory is burned into my mind. I can picture the look on the Captains face. I can feel the wheels touching the ground in Charlotte that morning. I remember the relief I felt when I finally spoke with my then-fiance'.

It seems like it was yesterday.

God Bless America
 
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Little Deuce

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Furloughed Again

Well said. I too recall today the happiest day of my life when I did my 1st takeoff in the A-320 from PHL-LAX on my IOE.

After 20 in the Regionals, I realized my dream to fly for US Air (I still call it US Air out of nostalga). The only airline I wanted to work for.

This is my 5th furlough.

I had had a few interview opportunities all requiring me to resign from my beloved airline. I would rather pump gas.

I will standby and continue to Instruct in the Sim.

I will be ready to help my company grow and prosper.

I will proudly go back and call myself a Regional pilot again.

I will be back in the Airbus again.

Good Luck to all on this sad day.
 

AAflyer

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Just got back from a ceremony at the AA flight academy, now going to the airport to a sit as a pax on one of our silverbirds in remembrance.

Thanks for writing guys, furloughedAgain, that was exceptional, I think in many ways each of us experienced our own FLIGHT that day. It touched us all.

Thanks to all the guys and gals who are manning our cockpits today during this anniversary that has changed the industry and the world forever.

God Bless all the crew, passengers and victims on the ground. We will not forget.

AAflyer
 

FurloughedAgain

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AA Museum

I had the opportunity to visit the CR Smith museum last time I was in Dallas.

I have to say it is tremendously impressive. That "Imax" movie has to be the most inspirational thing I've ever watched -- I never had any aspirations to work for AA and it even made ME feel proud (for you <laugh>)

The DC3 is truly awe-inspiring. The restoration was phenominal and to this day I cant believe they let you climb inside.

For those of you who havent been I would strongly recommend a visit. It will renew your faith in the industry and in American in particular.

American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum
 

EagleRJ

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Re: AA Museum

FurloughedAgain said:
That "Imax" movie has to be the most inspirational thing I've ever watched -- I never had any aspirations to work for AA and it even made ME feel proud (for you <laugh>)

/QUOTE]

That is a pretty cool movie, with a lot of good flying shots. My favorite is the B757, F-100, and DC-6 flying in formation over the desert.
The movie they used to show a couple years ago was even more of a 20min long commercial for AA. The best shot was two rampers putting a suitcase on a conveyer, then high five-ing eachother! Give me a break.
 

ratings:all

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i remember seeing the pictures of the airplanes lined up in greenland, iceland, etc-as the sun set over them. interesting combination of beauty and intense feelings.
 

jsoceanlord

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on my cargo route, i'd fly from san juan PR to my outstation and sit there for ten hours. for the first time in months i got paged to return to san juan and pick up a VIP, who's mom had died.

so, coincidentally i was in the air enroute back to san juan when the air space shut down. i was the only plane in the air. i didn't know how permanent the grounding would be.

i'd just read a book about pan am's very last flight, and how choked up the capt. was to be making the last radio calls as a pan am plane, etc.

coming into san juan in an empty sky, i understood what he was saying.

it seemed like san juan int'l turned into a military only airport over night - it was kinda like something out of orson wells or the twilight zone.
 

UM#1

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As you should every day, tomorrow don't forget to tell a loved one you love them, give your wife/girlfriend a kiss and your kids a big hug because tomorrow will be a day that many are no longer with us to do any of those things...never forget
 

New2Flying

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Remembering 9/11

I, too, will never forget where I was that fateful morning. Being a Junior Captain, I work weekends and had just gotten home from a trip the day before. I got a call from my ex saying turn on the news, an airplane just hit the World Trade Center. Stunned, I turned on the TV. I had my son with me as it was early where I live. I searched my mind trying to conceive how it was possible for an airplane to hit the WTC. I thought it must have been a small plane. Then I thought, maybe someone was trying to make an emergency landing at EWR. As my son and I sat and watched the television, out of the corner of my eye I saw the 2nd plane. Thought it was a helicopter or something going to rescue people. Then I watched in disbelief as it hit the south tower. Nothing I could do - my son saw it all! His comment to me later was, "It looks like something out of the movies - like Independence Day". Seeing that has affected him ever since and he is very nervous now when I go on a trip, thinking he will never see me again.

Then when I heard they had grounded all the airplanes, I felt helpless as I had friends out on the road with no way to get ahold of them. It was so hard not knowing if they were alright or if any our planes had been affected.

Being with an airline that had recently emerged from bankruptcy, my thoughts then went to - there is no way we will survive this. The cash onhand situation was bleak at best. The next day, the unions (ALPA & AFA) called a meeting - not the company! The company management attended and were very honest with us. If the industry remained shut down, we would not survive. Then they told us that all of our planes were accounted for, and a moment of relief was coupled with the grief felt for my fellow aviators and flight attendants who had perished.

I remember flying my first flight a week later. To go from greeting passengers as they stepped on the plane a week before, to looking at every person as a suspect, was stressful to say the least. As we were locked in the cockpit, I worried about my flight attendants. Nothing between them and some maniac. Thank goodness we had passengers that vowed they would step in the way in the event of any incident.

I have seen many flight attendants leave this industry because of the stress after 9/11. So, for those of you who fly passenger jets, I know you have a great respect for those individuals who stand now as "mall cops without a gun" to protect us and the flying public by constantly watching the flight deck door. They are truly our eyes and ears.

God bless those who perished. We will never forget!!
 

Av8tor

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9/11/01

Never Forget!!! God Bless America!
 

C601

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FurloughedAgain

Very nicely written.
I've always enjoyed reading your postings.
 

DenverDude2002

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Good story FurloughedAgain. I can still remember every second of 9/11. I know I'm not a commercial pilot and back then I was just a huge fan who loved aviation. I was in my senior year in high school, and didnt have to be at class until 11, so i was planning on sleeping until about 10:30 as usual. At 9am my mom woke me up and said there had been a plane crash and to come watch the news asap. Being gorggy I had just assumed it was mayne another TWA 800 or EgyptAir 390. I got downstairs and saw what had happened and almost went into shock. Right as i turned it on the 2nd plane hit. I just couldnt believe what had happened. I realized at that moment the first plane struck the world had changed forever.I went to school shortly after (I was the business department aide and had access to come and go as i pleased) and turned on a TV we had there, the school hadnt heard about it yet. There I wacthed until class started, and the class voted that we watch what was happening instead of regular stuff and our teacher agreed. The principal said that evrryone was to turn off their tvs but my class insisted we needed to see it. I still cant beleieve to this day what happened or that it was 2 years ago. I live under denver international approach and for those 3 days there werent any aircraft flying over head it felt wierd. It didnt feel right. I had just flown in august to see a good friend in virginia and used to go to dia to plane spot on the concourses most weekends. My GF and me even ditched prom to go there since we both loved aviation in May 2001. It still feels wierd thinking about how much everything has changed since those few seconds changed the world forever.
 

Iceman21

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It was about 8:45 AM when I was lifting the nose of the C172 I was training in that day off the ground. I had a weird feeling about that day. I was running late, my instructor showed late, nothing was going the way it was supposed to. As we were climbing out on the extended centerline I began to notice the engine hum that I had grown used to was different. I told my instructor I was turning around and bringing the plane back to the ground before the cowling vibrated off. As I turned off the runway, a radio call came over the CTAF, stating that all the school's aircraft had to return to the airport. My instructor and I looked at each other puzzled. We walked through the door of the flight desk and asked what was going. We were told that a small plane had just hit the WTC. I chuckled and said "rrrrrright", but no one else laughed. I walked over to the classroom that had a TV and there on CNN I saw a smoking hole in the No 1. Tower and I nearly fell over. I sat in front of the TV and watched the rest of the days events with tears in my eyes.

At 3:00 pm I had to be at work in the Signature Ramp Tower at ORD, where I was used to barking out push back instructions and dealing with Operations Supervisors all day long. I was greeted by silence. No APU's, no ground vehicles, nothing. That brought me to my knees. Here I was, at the world's busiest airport and I could hear a cricket chirping from outside.

I will always remember. I will not remember because of the terrorists, rather I will remember because on that day, amongst all diversities everyone who lives in America finally acted like Americans. Black, White, Asian, Democrat, Republican, Jew, Prostestant didn't matter. We were all American for once.
 

ArcticFlier

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A Chronology
Thoughts and Recollections From 9/11/01


We showed for work in OXR at 0555. It was supposed to be an easy day (OXR-LAX-VIS-LAX-PSP) and I was flying with a good crew. The F/O was pretty new, but flew the airplane well. The F/A I’d known for almost 9 years. She was hired almost a year after me, and had worked in another department before becoming a flight attendant.

I’m not one for early morning flying, but it was a beautiful morning, not a cloud in the sky. Fifteen minutes before, the FAA notified North American Aerospace Defense Command’s Northeast Air Defense Sector of the possible hijacking of AA 11, which had departed Boston Logan for Los Angeles. It had 92 people on board. Three minutes later NORAD was notified about the possible hijacking of another aircraft. In addition to AA 11, UAL 175 had also departed Boston for Los Angeles with 65 people on board, AA 77 was airborne from Dulles to Los Angeles with 64 on board, and UAL 93 was winging its way from Newark to San Francisco with 44 people. While we were in the van, on the way to the airport, AA 11 was flown into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Seventeen minutes later, while I was probably starting the APU on N194SW, UAL 175 impacted the south tower of the World Trade Center.

Unbeknownst to me until almost a week later a long-time family friend was supposed to be on AA 11. She finished work at U-Mass a day early and left Boston on 9/10.

After taxiing out and getting our clearance from either Point Mugu or ZLA, I don’t remember which, we departed for LAX. We took the runway at 0622, departing to the west over the ocean. About a minute later, ATC cleared us via a left turn direct VTU and the Sadde arrival into LAX. My F/O and I made mention of how smooth it was that morning, enjoying the peace and serenity of an early morning flight. Meanwhile, the FAA had banned all takeoffs for flights either going to or through New York airspace and all bridges and tunnels into and out of Manhattan were closed.

Two minutes after we departed, NORAD was notified of the suspected hijacking of AA 77, and two minutes after that, no civilian aircraft were allowed in the air.

About the time that we crossed VTU and turned towards SMO, I got the ATIS for LAX. Typical morning I thought. Trying to fog up, but not quite enough moisture in the air. Maybe we’ll get a visual. Any visual is good, but the south side would be great, as we park on that side of the airport, and it would give us time to run inside and get a cup of coffee. Oh yeah…………call ops.

“LA 5133”
“5133 LA go ahead”
“5133’s ten out and we need one wheel chair”
“Copy the wheel chair. Your fuel to Visalia is 4200, but I don’t think you’re going”
“Alright, 4200. What row do you want us in?”
“Row two”
“Okay, row two. Why aren’t we going to Visalia?”
“There’s a national ground stop. No one is flying.”
“Umm, okay. We’ll talk about it on the ground.”

AA 77 hits the Pentagon.

We had no idea what had happened back east. I went back to Comm 1 and let the F/O know that I was back. No changes, he said. I told him about the fuel load, and where we were parking, and told him about the strange conversation with ops. It had me puzzled. I can understand a ground stop to a particular airport, but nationwide? I told my F/O that I was off again. I wanted more information from ops. I called ops back and asked what was going on. She said that an aircraft had hit the World Trade Center. I was stunned. I know a B-25 hit the Empire State Building during or just after World War II, but I couldn’t believe in this day that an airplane could wander off course and hit a building. I went back to Comm 1 and relayed to my F/O what I was told. After about a minute of disbelief, silence from both of us.

We switched over to SoCal with the ATIS and that we have the airport in sight. It was one of those schmeggy mornings. Vis was 5 in mist if I remember right. From over SMO we were cleared for the visual to 25R. Cool, we say out loud. Close to the Box, where we park. At 0645 the FAA orders all aircraft on the ground. We were one of 4500 aircraft in the air at the time, absolutely clueless to what was going on. At 0648, the U.S. Capitol and the West Wing of the White House are evacuated.

This is no joke, and still kind of creeps me out to this day. We touched down on 25R at 0659, the same time the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. We cleared the runway, called ground for taxi clearance to the Box, and made a comment about how quiet it was. The controller replied with “bad things happening back east”, and cleared us to the Box.

We pulled into the gate and shut everything down, as our flight to VIS was cancelled. We closed the main cabin door and I turned my cell phone on. I had eight messages. I’d never had that many messages in my life! Half of them are my wife, mostly in tears. The rest were friends and other family members. All I could get out of them are a plane hit a building, and call me as soon as you get this message.

We walked into the crew lounge, having called my wife. I didn’t know what to say to her, except that I loved her (still do), and I would call her as soon as I knew what was going to happen. I hung up the phone, opened the door to the lounge and saw a replay of the south tower going down. I wanted to think it was a movie, but knew that wasn’t the case. What I said out loud isn’t for mixed company, but was appropriate for the moment, in my mind anyway.

It wasn’t clear at that time, but it had been reported that the Pentagon had been hit by an airplane. Besides what had already happened, seeing things unfold, one airplane after another was unnerving. On top of the reports regarding the Pentagon, reports were coming in that another airplane had gone down in a field in Pennsylvania. That’s four airplanes. How many more was the question going around the crew lounge. There must have been 40 people in there and if it wasn’t for the television, you would have heard a pin drop.

There’s more to the story of our day two years ago, but it still and always will be trivial. Almost 3000 people died because some people in this world don’t like us nor do they like the freedoms we cherish. They are threatened by them. If they had what we hold dear, their power would be non-existent.

Let us not forget September 11. May it burn in our hearts as fiercely as the hatred that exists towards us.


ArcticFlier:mad:
 

Freightdog75

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Never Forget!!!!! God bless you all, and God bless AMERICA!!!!
 

banned username 2

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Monday evening, September 10, 2001 I flew into Newark in an AA F-100. Heading for Falcon 50EX recurrent like I had many times before. We got into EWR just after a line of heavy storms had passed, a cold front was passing and the sky was clearing. Tomorrow was going to be a beautiful day, or so I thought.

Tuesday Morning, up early to catch some breakfast at the Concierge Lounge at the Glenpointe Marriott... I sat eating my breakfast with a great view of Manhatten, it was one of those crystal clear autumn mornings. I check my watch, 7:30am, time to fight the traffic on 17 to get to Flight Safety...

8:00am class begins... The instructor is a familiar face... I have know Mickey for years, since my Falcon 20 days... Good guy... Class starts after we joke a bit and exchange greetings... Nothing too exciting, Chapter 2, the Electrical System... for the millionth time... "When's Lunch?" I think to myself quietly...

At about 9:00am one of the girls from the front area comes running down the hall and says a plane hit the World Trade Center... We all look at each other and figure someone in a Cessna or Piper hit the building, "Probably some nut case commiting suicide" we joke... "Break Time" Mick says and we all decide to go up front to see what is going on...

The local news station is on, we all stand there in disbelief of the images of the blazing building, we quickly realize this was larger than a Cessna, much larger. Standing in puzzlement, we can't figure out how a plane of this size hit the building on a crystal clear day. We didn't know what type of plane it was, but assumed something the size of a Corporate Jet... Maybe a Hawker or something...

We are all mezmerized by the live footage from the news helicopter on the TV, this building was in bad shape, "How are they going to get that out?" someone mumbles from behind me.

9:03am: As we are watching TV there is a quick glimpse of a large 737-looking aircraft that enters the right side of the screen, as soon as it hits the building the TV we are watching goes to static. "Was that a re-run?" someone shouts... Someone else says "Yeah, it had to be a rerun, they must have caught the whole thing on tape"... I turned around to about 10 people watching and said "If it was a rerun, why was the building on fire BEFORE the plane hit?" Everyone fell silent... A quick scramble through the stations and we get CNN on, images of both buildings blazing hit the screen, everyone gasps... This wasn't an accident, not even close.

The Center Manager tries to marshall everyone back to their classrooms. We go back in and try to discuss what we just saw... At about 9:45am I get a text message from a buddy back home that the Pentagon has been hit, I tell Mick... Class Dismissed... We find ourselves out in the lobby again watching TV...

I call my wife, who was in a breakfast meeting, I told her to get home and stay home. She asked what was going on, they hadn't even heard. She was so preoccupied with her meeting that I don't think she totally understood the gravity of what I was telling her.

I go back to the TV, watching the images of two enormous skyscrapers engulfed in smoke and fire. You can see people jumping from the upper floors.

A little while later, people are on the roof of Flight Safety, you can see Manhatten from there. Also from the back corner of the sim bay, there is a stairway with a large window that looks out over Manhatten. People are flocking to see the smoke which is only a couple miles away.

I call my wife again, making sure she is on her way and trying to fill her in on the events that are occuring here. At 10:05am while I am on the phone with my wife, the South Tower collapses. Someone comes running down the hall screaming "The building collapsed!" I tell my wife I love her and quickly end the call. I run to the TV to see the huge cloud of dust created by 250,000 tons of building falling in on itself. My God, I think... there is no way everyone got out of that building.

10:10am... I am standing, staring at the odd view of one World Trade Center building standing. It looks very strange, all alone, shrouded in the dust & ashes of it's sibling. This doesn't seem real, is this really happening...

10:20am I decide to head to the back sim bay on the upper staircase which lends a perfect view of lower Manhatten. I am standing there with another student, speechless. He looks at me, his face is expressionless, he looks like a mummy... After a minute, he slowly walks away like a zombie. I find myself standing there alone, watching this horror unfold. I ponder to myself about the fate of the North Tower as I stand and watch it burn. "Is this one going to fall too?" I think to myself. I check my watch, 10:28am. As I look back up, I see a puff blow out in a ring around the North Tower, the tower begins it's journey down. I am standing there, helpless, watching a thousand people die, instantly before my eyes in real-life, real-time. I have never felt more alone, or helpless in my life. I stood silently in disbelief for what felt like an eternity. My silence was broken by an announcement over the intercom system notifying us we must all leave the building immediately, the center was closed until further notice.

I spent the rest of the day either glued to my TV or in the Concierge Lounge at the Glenpointe Marriott staring at the smoking rubble in lower Manhatten. Highway 95 outside the hotel is deserted. The George Washington Bridge into Manhatten is closed and the road is blocked, not a car in sight. There isn't even any traffic on the local roads. It reminded me of sceens from the Stephan King movie the Langoliers. This thriving metropolis was a ghost town. Only an occasional Police Cruiser is seen. The sky was empty, the roads were empty, the world had changed, forever.

It is a day I will never forget. It is a day that no American should ever forget. It is a day that will define our history and shape our future, and our childrens future.

God Bless America and all those who perished in the senseless events of September 11, 2001.
 
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check out this pirep

Baltimore MD (Baltimore-Washington Intl) [BWI]: pilot report
at VCNTYBWI at 6:38am EST (1138Z), at 2,000 feet a ML7 reported sky scattered cirrus, weather flight visibility 10 point, temperature 20°C ... we will not FORGET 9/11
 

dispatchguy

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I have my own memories of 9/11/01.

I was still in ground school at American Eagle dispatch, in OJT portion for Executive airlines. For us, the normal show time for day shift was 0300, but my OJT trainer and his wife had plans for the night before, so he did a trade and we had an 0800 show time that morning. I thought, cool, now I get to sleep in and feel human at work.

I woke up that morning in DFW and looked outside at the severe clear weather and thought that it was going to be a great day.

Get ready, and head into work. A radio show I have listened to for ever it seems (since high school) is on a DFW radio station, Bob and Tom - nothing like juvenile humor before heading into work.

Right when I pulled into the AA Flight Academy parking lot, Kristie, their news girl on B&T said that a newsflash had come across that a plane, size unknown, had crashed into one of the towers of the WTC. My immediate thought was a C172 or something of similar size went no-gyro in hard IFR and bounced off one of the WTC towers.

I log in and the first thing I do was type SLS*LGA, the SABRE command to display the sequence for LGA - it was 10 and clear. Hmmm, something's not good. I do the same for JFK, HPN, ISP, EWR and BDR and all were the same, 10 and clear.

About this time, the midnite shift for AA Dispatch is getting off shift, and one of them comes thru the Eagle SOC and stops by and talks to my trainer, and sez that somethings up with AA11 - that the Center Manager for AA SOC has locked the flight records out in SABRE right when he was walking out. I relate what I heard on B&T and we all look at each other with a holy-$hit.

Rocky, the dispatcher working the early morning Caribbean operation, gets a call from a friend of his saying that smoke is coming from a trade center tower. The printer spits an ATCSCC message about a ground stop for NY and DC centers from all centers.

A flight from ORD ACARSed his dispatcher telling him of the ground stop, when ATCSCC issues the following:

ATCSCC ADVZY 031 DCC 09/11/01 GROUND STOP ALL DEPARTURES
DESTINATION AIRPORT: ALL
FACILITIES INCLUDED: ALL
EXPECT UPDATE: 1500Z
REASON: DUE TO NATIONAL EMERGENCY, GROUND STOP ALL
DEPARTURES REGARDLESS OF DESTINATION........REPEAT
GROUND STOP ALL DEPARTURES

Since I wasnt signed off yet, I couldnt jump in and help. Rocky and my trainer called all of the caribbean flights and told them to land short, and stay out of San Juan centers airspace - since it was now closed. I called the stations and told them, to the limit of what we knew, that no one was going anywhere today.

My most vivid recollections of what I did that day was entering endless numbers of flight cancellations into SABRE for the Caribbean operation.

I still have the messages which shut the NAS down - tattered, but very important.

ATCSCC ADVZY 036 DCC 09/11/01 FDC SPECIAL NOTICE

DUE TO EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES AND FOR REASONS OF SAFTEY(SIC). ATTENTION ALL AIRCRAFT OPERATORS, BY ORDER OF THE FEDERAL AVIATION COMMAND CENTER ALL AIRPORTS/AIRDROMES ARE NOT AUTHORIZED FOR LANDING AND TAKEOFF. ALL TRAFFIC INCLUDING AIRBORNE TRAFFIC ARE ENCOURAGED TO LAND SHORTLY, INCLUDING ALL HELICOPTER TRAFFIC.

AIRCRAFT INVOLVED IN FIREFIGHTING IN THE NORTHWEST US ARE EXCLUDED. PLEASE READ THIS NOTICE OVER THE EMERGENCY FREQUENCIES, AND VOR VOICE.

111505

May the crews and victims rest in the most peaceful of peaces, and may we NEVER EVER FORGET.
 

EagleRJ

Are we there yet?
Joined
Nov 27, 2001
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Never Forget
 
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