A Year Ago - Remembering Flying on 09/11

flipflyr

...
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Jul 28, 2002
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Yes.
09-11-01

09-11-01

It was a beautiful morning in Newark that morning. We had a 6:15 AM report time that morning, which meant an early wake up call by most peoples’ standards. On the van ride to the airport, I thought about our long duty day ahead: EWR-DAY-IAH-CAE...

Everything was normal that morning when we got to the airplane. The appropriate checklists were run and we taxied out from the old "D-pad" in EWR (now terminal C-3), around the corner, Bravo short of Mike. One word described the sunrise behind the World Trade Center that morning - magnificent. The Captain and I mentioned how we should have had a camera to capture the sunrise that morning (consequently, since then, I carry a camera in my flight case for "moments” like this).

We flew an uneventful flight to Dayton. Unbeknownst to us, the first plane had probably already hit the World Trade Center. We had arrived early, so the crew and I decided to walk around the terminal for the 10-15 minutes we had before our "long" flight back to IAH.

Another normal takeoff out of DAY on our way south. Right around PXV, we heard a United flight mention on center frequency that they would be diverting to Indy. Not something you hear every day - in the back of my mind I wondered what happened on their flight. Not long after that, a Northwest plane mentioned that they would be diverting to Indy as well. Hmmm. The Captain and I wondered if there was maybe weather in Chicago or Memphis?

What happened next forever engrained in my mind that I was part of the history of what happened that day. The center controller broadcasted, "Attention all aircraft..." (at this point I thought it was just a normal/typical Center Weather Advisory - boy was I wrong), "all aircraft in the air on frequency, by order of the FAA, must find the nearest suitable airport and land."

I was the non-flying pilot on this leg, so I sheepishly asked, "Does that include Jetlink xxxx?"
ATC replied: "Are you in the air?"
US: "Yes"
ATC: “Are you on this frequency?”
US: “Well… Ya”
ATC: "Then… Yes..."
US: "Mind if we ask why?"
ATC: "Due to terrorist activity at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon"

That's when a chill hit my entire body. We could have one of those "b-words" on board the plane. We called the flight attendant and she said everything was normal in the back.

From where we were, it looked like the closest place was BNA (Nashville, TN). We notified ATC of our intentions and they initially gave us a vector to the west to "fit us into the flow" for BNA. As we started turning back in the right direction, we get a SELCAL from dispatch, and they wanted us to divert to Memphis, TN.
Little did we know that Memphis was the most diverted-to airport in the United States.

We were one of the last flights into the airport, and there were more airplanes than I had ever seen all at one time at an airport. We had about 15 planes lined up on rwy 18C/36C. All of us did not know how the logistics were going to work on how to deplane our passengers. The ramp area was full. The gates were full...

After we were lined up in our temporary parking spot, I turned on my cell phone. Right at that point, my phone rang. It was my cousin who I don't talk to very often. He told me what happened. I was speechless. BOTH towers collapsed? The Pentagon's on fire? No way! I just saw the sunrise behind the twin towers this morning! After that phone call, the little envelope indicated I had VM. Wow. 7 messages. Messages from family and friends back in California - they all knew that I fly to the Northeast frequently, and they were all calling asking if I was all right.

I called my dad first. Now mind you, I've never heard or seen him cry in the 27 years that I had known him, but he cried on the phone that day. He thought I was THAT plane that hit. More phone calls returned... More bittersweet sighs of relief.

"Ding-dong" – the flight attendant calls us. Seems we have a guy from the FAA in the back that would like to talk to us... We jokingly thought - great, on top of all this we're gonna get ramp checked too? He was on the horn with his bosses and didn't tell us anything new - planes hit the WTC and Pentagon, and they think another just crashed near PIT.

Amazing. We were part of history that day.

It was surreal returning to EWR 2 weeks later. The twin towers were how I helped find the Newark airport! All we saw was smoke coming up from where they were...

For those people that have never been to NYC or seen those towers, images on a television don't do it justice. If you've never been there or seen them, I can understand how easy it is to forget what happened on that fateful day. As for me, I will NEVER FORGET...

Here's to all the souls lost that day. Thank you for your courage.

For all the people that continue to live life normally in the shadow of terrorism. Thank you for your courage.


WE WILL NEVER FORGET.
 

Publishers

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That Morning

That morning i was sitting at my home office talking with a person in Newark about drug and alcohol testing. He clued me in that a small aircraft had hit the Trade Center.

When I turned it on, it took less than 5 seconds to know that whatever hit the tower was not a small aircraft. As the second aircraft hit, I knew we were under attack and had a good guess from whom.

Ironically while there was little information on TV about the aircraft in PA, I checked web sites near the area and found a report of the crash.

In a little less than two minutes I had determined that:
My magazine was probably doomed--- it lasted a few more months.
The airlines would not come out of this the same
That terrorism would dominate our future thinking
That there would be terrific umemployment in our industry
The countries economy would sink further.

In short, major life changes for many.

Hopefully we learned.....
 

Dizel8

Douglas metal
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Huh?
I was still asleep, had an afternoon show, when my friend woke me up in the crashpad. He told me, an aircraft had hit the WTC. Of course, I went "yeah right", but he was insistent. So I went to sit on the couch and was watching the smoke billowing out, when the second airplane hit. It did not take us both long to figure out, that this was no accident.

I climbed up on the roof and could see the smoke with my own eyes, pouring out of the two buildings.

Needless to say, we know the rest of the events.

What I am left wondering, is why people would hate the USA so much, that they would commit such atrociate acts. I do not wear blinders, I understand that our policies are sometimes predicated on what is beneficial to us, but we also send our women and men to fight for freedom. We have people in Afghanistan, trying to create a democracy. People in Iraq, trying to give those people a choice. We strive to give the people the right of free choice and democracy, the ability to raise their families in a world free of hatred. Yet, our soldiers are being killed on an daily basis.

I get tears in my eyes, when I watch movies like Saving Private Ryan andf BlackHawk down.Yeah, I know its Hollywood, yet in the stories are the truth. These people fought for causes that we know to be right, yet they are still hated by some. We send our men and women into combat, for what?

I am left with the thought, that some people do not wish peace, that they will not be happy untill we have Islamic rule, oppression of ideas and all the "infidels" are dead.

Well guess what Osama, if you are such a brave man, why dont you name a time and a place. I would take pleasure in ripping your head of and shoving it up your arse.
 

Northern Lights

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3 years now

Here we are three years later. The origional post is now two years old, but I think that it is a good one.

Never Forget 9/11/01 What a day that was.
 

SKC

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The most sureal thing about the whole event from my seat in dispatch that day was the two hours after the ground stop was issued. Sitting at my desk watching the ASD slowly go from 5000 a/c, to 2500 a/c, down to the last aircraft in the entire country. Knowing that for the first time since the early 1900s no civilian aircraft were aloft. Strange feeling to say the least.

[this viewpoint is aside from the obvious]
 

Airpiraterob

LaForge Sayz:
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that night i got very very drunk.

the next day after my hangover i was driving to the store. drove past 4 motorcycle intensive gentlemen wearing their leather vests and tattered jeans and chains and cigarettes with beer bellys way out there for inspection. they were waving american flags and holding up a very large sign stating, " For those that care, NUKE-EM ! "....this was spotted near the wal-mart.

2 days later they let commercial traffic fly again and i was up that evening.....dead silence on the frequency. dead still in the air. no weather. no traffic or moving lights of any kind. i wasnt sure if i was actually at work or looking at a picture of work at home.

everyone loading/unloading at the destination was walking around numb....in a trance. unfortunately that week lee greenwood saw his second career begin with his two-hit single wonder.

that weekend i got very very drunk again.
 
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TrafficInSight

mmmm.... doooonuuuut.
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I was sleeping when the alarm clock went off. My local morning DJ who is usually funny says ".... this will be like asking 'Where were you when Kennedy was assassinated?'"

Odd... I hit the alarm shutoff, roll out of bed and head to the computer, my normal source of news.

CNN website, down. Google, down. Yahoo, down....

very VERY odd.

www.fark.com, of all places, is up...

As it loads my blood runs cold, as I slept the world has fallen apart around me. Four airplanes? The world trade center? The Pentagon? All aircraft grounded? What the hell is going on here?

I look at the clock, 9:30am pacific time.

I wake my roommate because we have class together at 10:00 and I wake my fiancee and tell her what's going on... she doesn't say much.

What do we do? stay home? go to class? We decide we can't do much by staying at home except watch the horror over and over again so we head for class. We need contact, confirmation that we aren't dreaming. Once we get there the instructor gives a short speech which I can't remember, and sends us home. The campus is being evacuated.

I drive to the airport, I sit, I watch.

Nothing happens. No one moves. It's like a moment frozen in time.

I call my mom and dad and tell them I love them.
 
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BRA

Rollins Rules!
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I actually went looking for this thread just now. I figured it would be around somewhere. It's one of the best ones i have ever read.
 

twabudman

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From my Dispatch Office, we saw it happen. At first we said, look at that a-hole in a Cessna that hit the WTC....ugh....
as that hour slowly progressed, and we were grounding our fleet, planes all over the world at that time. the DO told us not to tell the crew members what was going on. We all looked at each other and told every plane that was in the air what happened. The Towers fell and the last flight I was contacting was flying from FRA-HKG. He was just over Tehran. My fellow co-workers stood behind me and said tell him to take a dive!! We proceeded to land in DXB, the only save place we believed in the Middle Eastern Region.
Those next few days in NY were so eerily quiet, as we had no air traffic until Friday. I remember the road blocks and my car being searched everyday.
On a side note, the last spouse to read the names yesterday, the one who made the comments about how she hopes their grandchildren do not have to grow up in a world where someday they will have to go through something like this, was a fellow TWA employee. Her husband, Paul Zios, worked in TWA CREW SKED and when CCS moved to STL, he quit and went to work for American Express Travel. God Speed PZ.
 

pgcfii2002

"Uh....oh yeah...&quo
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I was working dispatch for a freight company that night......all you could hear was the occasional military or Coast Guard helicopter taking off. Everything else was grounded. The whole ramp dead quiet.......

Very weird night that was.....
 

Princedietrich

Retired Starchecker
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Enough
Seven years plus 24 hours since all hell broke loose.

That morning I was standing in the dispatch office, tucked away in the basement of Concourse A Terminal 3 at CVG. You had to weasel your way through a couple security doors and go past the Delta crew store to find it. I had a copy of the release on the counter in front of me, my hat sitting next to it, a cup of heavilly-sugared joe in my fist. Captain Parker was to my left, in a nearly identical pose, a Georgia good-ol-boy with half-cut glasses who was one of the two captains that I rather enjoyed flying with. The dispatcher, Al "the pilot's pal" was behind the counter and working with one of our planes that was about to blast off from CLE to CVG. We would be crew swapping with that plane and then taking it to Punta Cana, and honestly I can't remember where the trip was going after that. For some odd reason, the FO didn't make show time and nobody could get ahold of him. Captain grumbled about how the guy was going to make us all late.

Then one of the mechanics comes bursting into the room: Jim Gurley, a red-faced guy with huge arms and a very boisterous laugh, we all called him "Gurley Man." He hollered (yes, he was a southerner) for us to turn on the tv right now and that we "ain't gonna believe this!" The three of us sleepily pointed across the room, the TV was on and the weather channel was up. "No no, the NEWS ya dummies!" and with that he ran back down the hallway. Captain was from Georgia, Al and I were from Ohio, and we were in Kentucky, so we had no idea what the channels were. Al grabbed the remote and just started surfing, and he eventually found the Fox News channel just in time to see a really big plane smashing into a huge building.

"Damn, they're going to be replaying that all day I bet" Then I noticed the "live" tag at the bottom corner of the screen. "Uh, captain I don't think that was a replay...." We noticed that both buildings were belching smoke. By this point the dispatch office, which was rather cramped to begin with, started filling up and the little 13 inch screen had a couple dozen eyeballs staring at it. Our plane was in the air, we could see them on the flight tracker, and we started to get concerned that something might happen to them. Captain and I decided to head up to B Concourse and meet the plane at the gate.

Like most airports do, CVG had several tv monitors that would broadcast CNN. We noticed immediately that every single one of them showed a blank blue screen. "Well why in the world would they do that to the tv?" I was tempted to say something along the lines of them not wanting to incite a panic in the airport, followed by a "duuuuuuh," but decided this would not be a good idea. We got to the gate and went down to the bottom of the jetway, overhearing some of the rampers toss around rumors that 2 more planes had been hijacked, including one over Cleveland which is where our plane was coming from. Captain Parker looked at me and said "Son, I think we just went to war."

The plane finally arrived, and 170 groggy and annoyed-looking passengers came filing out. They had no idea what was going on. The crew followed them, asking us if we knew anything more than they did. One of the rampers then yelled up at us that the airspace was shut down, "Y'all ain't goin nowhere!" As a group, we started back up the jetway to return to the dispatch office. We passed a very frantic looking gate agent, running down the jetway with a walkie glued to his ear, and he barked at us "They just put one into the Pentagon" as he ran by in a blur.

We got back to the dispatch office to find that it was chock full of people with barely enough room to squeeze in a light breeze. I took a place in the back of the room by the coffee pot and mini fridge, being one of the taller people in the room I could still see clearly. I overheard someone talking about how the building had collapsed, and thought that was absolutely absurd. Then I looked more closely at the 13 inch monitor, and indeed there was only one smoking building where there had been two when I was last in this room. It was right around 1030 when the other one came down and the room was as silent as a morgue. The silence was broken a minute or so later by the chief pilot, Captain Clark, who said "Alright boys, get the hell out of here....."

It was a little over a mile back to my car, and I don't think I've ever made the walk that fast in my life. As I came down the little ramp to join the road away from the airport, I grabbed my cell to let mom know I was alright. She was confused as to why I'd be telling her that, so I asked her if she knew what was happening. She said no and that she was running the sweeper, so I told her to turn on the TV. When she asked what channel, I told her it probably didn't matter at this point. A few seconds later I heard a gasp and a thud as her cordless hit the floor.

I got back to my apartment around 1130. My answering machine was blinking on overdrive, crammed full of messages from friends wanting to know if I was alright and hoping that I wasn't working that day. My email inbox was about to burst as well. No sooner was I out of my uniform and into a t-shirt and shorts when the phone rang. It was mom again, telling me she had the week off from work anyways and was in the car heading to Cincy. I told her to bring beer, because I was going to need a lot of it to burn those images out of my head.

A few days later, I think it was Friday, we did our first flight after everything went down. It was a military charter to Cherry Point MCAS, where we would pick up a plane load of Marines and take them to Yuma. I can't remember if they were going to training or coming home from training, but there were about 150 of them. Those military charters were the best, because they did all of my W+B calculations for me and they always brought A TON of food. I remember hearing one of the flight attendants comment about how scared she was to be flying, considering what had just happened a few days prior. I told her to "think about who we're carrying. I guarantee this will be the safest flight we could possibly be on." That got a big laugh from the rest of the crew.

It was barely a month later when I got my furlough notice.
 

twabudman

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watching today.....is still....just as painful.....9 years later....

WE WILL NEVER FORGET
 
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