Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category
As I waited, sitting in the full huff of the air conditioner, gulping down the tea, I thought of the little dreamworld called Detroit, fifteen years behind the rest of America as usual.
Janine had nailed it. People hate their cars. Daddy doesn’t come proudly home with the new one any more, and the family doesn’t come racing out, yelling WOW, and the neighbors don’t come over to admire it.
They all look alike, for one thing. So you have to wedge a piece of bright trash atop the aerial to find your own. They may be named after predators, or primitive emotions, or astronomical objects, but in essence they are a big shiny sink down which the money swirls — in insurance, car payments, tags, tolls, tires, repairs.
They give you a chance to sit in helpless rage, beating on the steering wheel in a blare of horns while, a mile away, your flight leaves the airport. They give you a good chance of dying quick, and a better chance of months of agony of torn flesh, smashed guts and splintered bones. Take it to your kindly dealer, and the service people look right through you until you grab one by the arm, and then he says: Come back a week from Tuesday. Make an appointment. Their billions of tons of excreted pollutants wither the leaves on the trees and sicken the livestock. We hate our cars, Detroit. Those of us who can possibly get along without them do so very happily.For those who can’t, if there were an alternate choice, they’d grab it in a minute.
We buy them reluctantly and try to make them last, and they are not friendly machines anymore. They are expensive, murderous junk, and they manage to look glassily contemptuous of the people who own them.
John D. MacDonald, Pale Gray For Guilt (1968)
A Federal Express MD-11 Cargo Jet Crashing in Tokyo, Japan. A FedEx cargo plane burst into flames after bouncing off a runway in unusually high winds at Tokyo’s main international airport Monday, killing the pilot and copilot and closing a major runway for several hours. The flight from Guangzhou, China, skipped along the main runway at Narita Airport before skidding to a fiery halt, footage from airport security cameras showed. Firefighters and rescuers immediately swarmed the plane.
This follows a January 2009 FedEx plane crash in Lubbock, Texas.
I was reading some of the stuff about the plane that landed yesterday on the Hudson River and I was curious about reports that the plane had floated down the river from 42nd Street to Houston Street, a distance of approximately three miles.
I Google mapped the three locations, using the “satellite” view — LaGuardia Airport, where the plane took off, to 42nd Street, where passengers were rescued, to (East) Houston Street.
Wow. Totally wow.
I know the passengers and crew were probably scared out of their minds — I would have been shrieking! But my sympathy goes also to New Yorkers who were alarmed to once again “see a plane somewhere that it isn’t supposed to be.”
Let’s hope that we are all fortunate enough to have someone like Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III piloting when next we take flight.
The airline pilot and crew and rescue folks are all American labor union members.
UPDATE (1/17/09): BBC News has new pictures of the “plane crashing into the Hudson River.” Relax. Remember? It didn’t crash. That’s the point.
Anyway, the exciting part is there is video of the plane landing on the water. Like totally wow. Here the plane lands, here the plane lands and within seconds a ferry is pulling up downstream to rescue those standing on the wing.
And a simulated “pilot’s eye view” of what Captain Sully was dealing with here.