Sunday, December 6, 2009

PLN 27

The article "Gimli Glider" by Alan Bellows talks about how The Gimli Glider, which is a Boeing 747 jumbo jet, got its name. In one particular flight history was made. While the passengers were loading and before the plane took off, the ground crew told the pilots that the gas tank gauges weren’t working but, everything else was okay. The flight started at 5:48 eastern time in Montreal, Canada. They made a stop, to check the fuel, in Ottawa and then didn’t think that they would need to make another stop until they reached Winnipeg, Canada. When they were about 80 miles away from Winnipeg they heard loud noises coming from the left side of the plane, this followed a warning where all the lights to the fuel tank were flashing. At first they didn’t know what had happened but then they felt the plane pulled to the left and they determined that the left engine was out. They called Air Traffic Control Tower in Winnipeg, told them what had happened and were told that they could land at either Gimli or Winnipeg airport. They chose to land at Winnipeg because there was emergency equipment present. About 15 minutes later the pilots called Air Traffic Control back telling them they had now lost both engines, would land at Gimli because it was closer and asked them to send emergency personnel. Gimli airport was decommissioned and closed but not destroyed so there was still a runway but that was used for racing. At the time that the emergency occurred there was a race going on, where a lot of people were gathered. Since both plane engines out and the races activities were loud no one heard the plane trying to land. Luckily someone saw the plane and told everyone to get out of there. The pilots had released an emergency engine that used the wind to power itself and they were able to get the landing gear down except for the front landing gear which was just hanging down there. The plane was able to land safely and no one was killed or badly hurt. Due to the lack of front landing gear, the inflatable slides in the back of the plane were pretty steep so some people got bruised and cut a little bit. The emergency personnel were almost to the crash site when they ran out of gas “which almost ripped a whole in the space-irony continuum.” (Quoted from The plane was able to get back in the air a little later and the fuel tanks when searched were found bone dry. The same 747 still flies to this day in Canada. This would have been one flight I would not like to have taken again.