Essays & Short Stories
Loosely based around an actual emergency landing that I partook in at work.
Loose Goose do you Copy
"Loose Goose do you copy?" my radio crackled to life and I heard my handle called from the operations center.
"Go ahead," I replied.
"Hey Mike, this is Rabbit. We have flight 291 diverting here on an emergency. Do you want to handle?"
This communications between Operations Agent Chris and myself was typical of what transpires at my job when we are faced with a situation requiring an aircraft to make an emergency landing.
I rushed to the operation's center understanding the urgency of what was about to happen. A diverting flight meant that danger was ahead and lives could be at stake.
I had to get pertinent information about the flight and I had to get it fast. I sat down at the computer console and watched as the information appeared on the screen. I needed to know the total number of Souls on Board (SOBs), the type of cargo the plane was carrying, and the estimated amount of fuel the aircraft would have upon arrival. After accessing this information, I called the SOC (Systems Operational Control) center to obtain the nature of the emergency. It was important to see what we were up against.
After I hung up the phone with SOC, the pilot of flight 291 contacted me.
"Los Angeles Operations this is Northwest 291, how do you copy?"
"Copy five by five," I replied. "I spoke with SOC. They advised me us that you have a number two EGT temp warning and hydraulic problems."
The pilot responded, "Affirmative. Also be advised, fire bells number two. We have dropped both bottles and shut down the engine."
"Copy on number two," I responded somewhat nervously. Having just been told by the captain that an engine had caught fire and the aircraft was now operating on only one engine, made my heart race. "Two ninety-one," I continued, "I need to verify a few details with you. I show you have 131 SOBs plus three infants, and you are carrying dry ice, magnetized material and a radioactive medical shipment -- all loaded in the aft cargo compartment."
"Affirmative," came the reply over my radio.
I continued. "I am also estimating that you will have 11,500 pounds of fuel onboard upon your arrival into Los Angeles."
At this time Chris approached me Chris handed me a note regarding which runway the aircraft was assigned for landing.
I asked the pilot, "Two ninety-one, copy, LA?"
"Two ninety-one, LA go ahead," replied the pilot.
"Uh, 291 LA tower has advised us they are going to assign you to runway twenty-four left for your landing. When do you estimate arrival time?"
"LA, 291, right now. If everything goes well, we estimate 12 minutes. Also, LA we are having problems raising Maintenance Control. Can you contact them and let them know we dropped both bottles and we have shut down number two?"
I responded, "Two ninety-one, will advise Maintenance Control and SOC of situation. Also, LA Maintenance copied and upon arrival into LA, you will have gate twenty-four alpha. You can drive it in and ground power is good."
"LA, 291 copy gate twenty-four alpha, drive in, power is good."
"Two ninety-one, LA once again. Please advise us when you are at the five-mile marker. Response team will be stationed at the end of roll out."
"LA, 291 copies."
Chris turned and looked at me, shaking his head. "Man, dropped both bottles and shut down the engine. I know it is going to cancel." He was as concerned as I was that there was going to be trouble landing the plane.
I dialed our Systems Operations Control Center. The phone rang once and then Larry, the senior dispatcher, answered. "SOC, Larry," he said.
"Hey Lar, Mike in LA."
"Hey Mike, howz it going?"
"Not so good," I replied.
"So you handlin' 291?"
"You got it. 291 would like to advise M Control they shut down number two and have dropped both bottles."
"I'll pass it on doesn't sound good."
"We think it will cancel. We are going to go ahead and order busses, just in case it takes a dump."
"Okay, LA, go ahead and do so."
"Larry, I'll call ya after arrival."
"Okay LA, have fun," He jokingly said
To make matters worse, the captain radioed me again with some more bad news.
"LA 291, do you copy?"
"Two ninety-one this is LA, go ahead."
"LA, 291, we have just added a few more coals to the fire. Ummm been advised we have a possible heart attack victim. Flight Attendants are with him now."
"Two ninety-one understand possible attack. Will let you know when and if need vitals, age, sex, previous probs, medication. I will advise rescue of this development."
"Two ninety-one copies. Will try and get info we umm are just a little bit busy up here."
"Two ninety-one copy and understand. If you need, we can request a quick park."
"LA, 291. We'll let you know. "
A few minutes went by as I listened to Chris order buses (in case the flight terminated) and advise crash and rescue of the possible heart attack onboard. I was waiting for further input from the captain.
"LA, 291," the pilot called.
"Two ninety-one, go ahead."
we have a 59 year old male, 280 pounds, previous heart condition,
taking nitro. A doctor is with him. Looks like we do not need quick park
and we are at the five mile marker."
"LA, 291 be on the ground in two."
"291, LA copies."
I rose from my seat at the control consol and gazed out the window waiting to see 291 fly by as it landed. I spotted the aircraft as it glided past my window and watched it touch down before it disappeared behind another aircraft at the next terminal.
A minute later, my radio crackled, "LA, 291, we're on the ground and see ya in the gate in a few."
'291 copy you are on the ground. Paramedics are standing by at the gate. See ya in a few."
"LA, 291 Thanks for your assistance."
"291, you are welcome!"
The flight had landed, the emergency had not been as disastrous as we had anticipated and I was about to return to the concourse to see what the next adventure might be. Feeling relieved I sighed and mumbled, "All in a day's work."
© 2001 Michael A. Loose
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