After reading 天空情緣 by Ms. Lam (林燕妮) , it got me thinking of writing my own cockpit stories. Over the years, I have flown many long flights and I asked and often was allowed to go in the cockpit to chat with the pilots and co-pilots. They were all nice experiences and the cockpits were tight as Ms. Lam described.
Anyway, one time I had an experience of a life time. That cockpit visit was during my time working in the air traffic control (ATC) system project. The flight attendant was nice and got me a visit to the cockpit. And the pilot and co-pilot were exceptionally nice to me. How nice? Well, we chatted for a long time about these and that (including the ATC project) and questions I have. And when we were approaching the airport and I thought it was my cue to leave, they asked me if I would like to stay for the landing? I said yes faster than they could reconsider! :)
So they helped me buckle-up on the jump-seat, I think it was one of those five (?) belts and buckle/lock in the middle seat belt, very cool. Because it was a night time flight, the view outside was just spectacularly beautiful. Imagine a city of lights and tiny cars on the highways. Beautiful.
As we approached the runway, the landing lights on both sides of the runway slowly rise up, and then the plane slowly touched down to meet the runway. And the the full force of the brakes applied to stopped the plane on the runway. That was an exciting experience that I won’t forget for a long long time. (Of course, my wonderful cockpit experience was long before 9/11, those were the simple and happier days.)
Incidentally, do you know why is that when a plane lands it is ALWAYS in full speed and then using the brakes to stop the plane? Well, it is because the pilot has to always be prepared to execute a “missed approach“. Interesting I still remember these ATC stuff years later (like ACC, separation, etc).
Here is an excerpt from 天空情緣 – 林燕妮 – 2010年04月08日,