TW MD-83, N965TW
My family and I got to the airport on Thursday right after I got home from school. The curbside check in was not very long, but the security into the concourses C,B,and D was very long, and I got frisked at random. We waited at the original gate of C39, but then was switched to C25. The plane was N965TW, Flt 350 from STL to EWR. I was in row 14 I think, the window, so I think it was 14F. There were several hybrid MD-80s, 717s, and 757s around us. We taxied across the active 30L to depart on 30R @ about 6:45 P.M. After takeoff, the captain made a loop to head us NE to Newark. An incredibly strong tailwind of 163MPH gave us a cruising speed of 656MPH at Fl 330! Not kidding! Because of the tail, we were there about 40 minutes early at about 9:30. We landed from the north, on the left runway. In the hangar to the north of the cross runway was Peter Max 777 w/ orange, pink, red. Right as the thrust reverse was applied, an AZ 763 was full throttling on the right runway. An Airborne Express DC-8 took off over N965TW while on a high speed taxiway. We disembarked the plane at A23. I looked at a CO 764 that seemed to be parked at the UPS area, and speaking of UPS, a 741 belonging to them (maybe a 742), left the freight apron to depart.
The next day, Friday, we saw ground zero. It was impossible to describe it. Half the police, and rescue personnel had masks on. The smell smelled of burning metal and death, which it probably was. Ash was still on windows in the area. A telephone booth near Trinity Church had been dented severely. Inside of the pedestrian walk signals were still dust. The shards of metal were still burning after 5 weeks. The long, thin, rectangular pieces of metal were seen clearly, as was an American flag hung on the side of the wreckage. It was unreal, like a movie.
On Sunday, 10/28, we drove to the airport. While at least 20 miles away, the departure were to the south, so I would be on the right side of the plane, with an overview of EWR on the takeoff. However, I was angry when the traffic changed to using the rwy 4s, departures to the N. While about 3 miles away heading north on a highway, Peter Max was arriving. We arrived at EWR for our 7:50 P.M. departure back to Lambert at about 6:00. We returned the Taurus SES, (which has a nice note when floored), and checked in at the counter for TW Flt 25. It was departing from gate A23. When passing through security, armed marshals stood guard on the X-Rays. Down in the gate areas, I got out my paper for tail numbers and binoculars, but the paper would be useless because of the night. A UA 777, N269UA, and 727 was at the UA gates, Continental 737s parked on the tarmac, an AC A319 at the gate, and also on the apron by the 737s was an AA A300, N5001 preparing for the LHR night flight. On the right of that, was SIA Megatop sitting in the dark. Over my shoulder, I realized two airport employees watching very closely what I was doing. I just pretended like they weren't there, until after five minutes, they asked me what I was doing very sternly. I explained about the regs, and they were not satisfied, but stepped back to sit on the black leather seats. To show that I was not intimidated by them and that I was not doing anything wrong, I stood there like nothing had happened, looking through the binocs. After about 2 more minutes, I started walking across the concourse, when behind me again, I saw a camouflage marshal with a 3 ft long gun, and two police officers with M-16s. I slowed down, and then the three surrounded me. The camouflage marshal with the 3ft long gun stayed with the two, until one of the officers said, "Sir, step over here. We need to talk to you." I agreed, and was escorted to a quiet area of the concourse. They introduced themselves very nicely, saying their names and they belonged to the NJ Police. They then fired questions about what I was doing with the paper and binoculars. I answered and told them I was a aviation buff. They understood, but they told me the behavior looked very suspicious. They did not stop, they asked what airline I was on, the flight, and the destination, as well as the boarding pass. The pass was with mom and dad, so I led them over there. I said calmly to my parents "We got some visitors." They were very nice and told them that I didn't look like a terroist or plan on any harm, but they were not taking any chances. They left like nothing had happened, but I burst. I coudn't write down the regs or look w/ binoculars. The damn terroists had changed my life now, and I was pissed about it. My mom snuck the binoculars out to get the reg of our MD-83, to STL on TW again, which was N968TW. I was in seat 11F, but before boarding, I talked to the pilot about our flight and the MD-80 Series aircraft. We were pushed out at around 7:55, and passed by the UPS and Fed Ex aprons on the queue for 4L. Three Airborne Express DC-8s were sleeping under their nightlights. Waiting in front of us, was the N5001, the AA A300 I saw on the apron getting ready for LHR duty. In front of that, was Peter Max, which I had seen while arriving to EWR on Thurs, and while driving to EWR just hours before. Talk about luck! Looking across the cabin and out the left, I saw the pink and red 777 accelerate down 4L. A louder than normal roar shook the cabin from the full throttle takeoff. N5001 was next, and then us at 8:10 P.M. The roll was short, and out the right, ground zero could be seen in the night. What looked like a single bright light from the air was actually hundreds of smaller ones illuminating the scene. Very frightening without the two towers. The Empire State building was seen, as much of northern Manhattan and eastern NJ, until turning ENE for FL 310 to STL. At around 9:25, we commenced descent into STL, flying just to the south of Alton, IL, and then over northern St. Charles, MO before turning east to land on 12L. A new color DL 738, and UA 722 was at the A gates and so were some AA planes. STL lookes small and puny compared to EWR. We used up nearly all of 12L on arrival, and parked at gate C39, and deplaned.
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