Brace For Landing!: US4042 ORF-LGA
TR6 – Part 1
I was very excited to hit the skies again. I would be redeeming my first award ticket with US Airways to visit my relatives in the Caribbean and visiting LGA
for the first time! As my mom drove us to the airport, I was excited, yet I had an unsettling feeling I had something coming ahead of me. I thought I was just getting nervous because this was my first time to the Caribbean, so I put those feelings aside. As I checked-in and said my good byes to my mom, my dad and I headed upstairs to pass security and get breakfast.
After regretting buying the sugar-filled fruit cup, I managed to eat most of it and spotted some planes. Pictures weren’t very good at 5:00am in ORF. I was contently watching some gate agents try to set apart the people on the PHL
bound flight apart from the LGA
bound flight. They called the PHL
passengers to the left and LGA
bound to the right. I prepared to give my letter to the F/A as I got my boarding pass out. Another CRJ, a different destination, what could go wrong?
Op. by Air Wisconsin
CRJ-200 – N407AW
Dep. Gate: A11
Arr. Gate: 5
I gave my letter to the sole F/A and I took my seat at 6A
. As we were taxing out, I noticed we were part of this massive rollout of the morning flights at ORF. We had a:
-Us! (US CRJ)
-Another US CRJ
-And I believe a cargo plane going out…
all heading out northbound at ORF. I expected the LGA
flight would be a little bit longer than the usual PHL
flights, so I broke out my camera after we were cleared to do so.
The free beverage service came out (yes, it’s free again), and I ordered a ginger ale. I didn’t want to take of the free beverage service because I didn’t want my seatmate to see me, well, be all A.Nutty.
Are these pics of PHL
After I mistook Philadelphia for New York, we started our descent into LaGuardia. We had a nice visual of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Manhattan Island. The captain soon warned us about not panicking if we heard the gear retract and drop many times. I didn’t mind it and LGA
came into sight. We flew into LGA
and an end of the runway was in my sight. The pilot seemed to make a steep bank trying to land into the runway the left side of the plane just saw. As the pilot pulled up, we were getting further and further from LGA
. I was getting further and further into a sleep! I woke up sometime around 8am and the pilot announced our dilemma.
He explained to us we were having a difficulty with the right landing gear. The lights in the cockpit weren’t signaling that the right gear was down, so we proceeded to do a flyby of LGA
Tower to see if they can see anything and to conclude where the problem was. He warned us we may have to brace for a rough landing and to stay calm. The F/A assumed the P/A and told everybody to review the safety card and to review where the closest exit and the easiest exit was in the case of a full out evacuation. Some people asked to move towards the back of our CRJ. I stayed in my seat, kind of freaking out inside of me.
I was trying to act calm so that my dad wouldn’t freak out, but inside I was very nervous. I knew I really couldn’t die because the worst that would happen is that a fire would break out. Of course, I would haul butt, so I considered what to bring in case of an evacuation. Two minutes of thinking and I realized you’re not supposed to bring anything! I thought of my family, friends, and teachers back home. Random things started to pop in my head like how would my Geometry teacher make me do my homework even if I get hurt (trust me, if there is a will, there is a way). I wondered if I would just push everybody off the slide or try to help without me getting hurt. I thought what would people back in Virginia think if they saw this on the local news. I started to break out in conversation with my silent seatmate. I recognized her from somewhere, but I didn’t want to be wrong in front of her. The captain came on the P/A.
He notified us that the tower said the gear was down, but we didn’t know if it was locked in or not. He announced that they were deciding whether to land at LGA
, due to the weather patterns and runway lengths. One of the passengers suggested the distribution of the alcohol would help “speed up” the evacuation process. Putting the plane in a lighter mood, I noticed we were passing the branch of the Hudson R. where Captain Sully landed his A320. I wasn’t in the mood for a swim, so I was hoping for the best. As we passed LGA
, my hopes ran high that we were landing in JFK
! Even with this dilemma, I was hoping we would land in JFK
, despite our connecting flight was in LGA
. By now, we missed our connection to CLT
out of LGA
, so I was hoping we could fly Delta, jetBlue, or even American to try to catch our connection. Plus, it would add another airport to my list! I guess I love to fly, but for the completely wrong reasons!
We passed Manhattan for the third or forth time and we headed towards what I’m presuming was Hudson Bay. We were banking and falling slowly as JFK
passed us. The whole plane presumed we were gong to JFK
by then, but I was getting worried again. If I could see the waves in the Hudson Bay and the names of the ship containers on the boats, I think we were kind of low. My seatmate rushed back to her seat from the lavatory (perfect timing ‘eh?) and 30 seconds later, the pilot called out “Prepare for landing!”
Not a second later, a voice came out of the front:
LANDING!” “BRACE FOR
, HEAD FORWARD, ARMS IN
, HEAD FORWARD, ARMS IN
, HEAD FORWARD!”
LANDING!” “BRACE FOR
, HEAD FORWARD, ARMS IN
, HEAD FORWARD!”
By now, what seemed to be 20 long seconds of this screaming, I was really resisting the urge to repeat the F/A with stupid comments like “What?”, “We get it!”, and more unnecessary comments like such. I resisted the urge to do so and looked at my feet. I could feel the right side of the plane lean and instinctively, I went left while in the brace position. I thought the plane was skidding off and an evacuation was inevitable. I soon felt the left gear hit the ground and the nose gear hit the runway!
The cabin broke out in clapping and cheers! I popped my head up and I saw the JFK
Tower. As we taxied off the runway, the emergency vehicles drove away, but the fire and ambulance took the time to wave to us!
WELCOME TO NEW
As the pilot went out and placed safety pins in the gears, the F/A told us she has faced medical emergencies, technical failures, but never a gear failure. This was her first time using the brace position in a real situation. I glanced at my dad and he started to talk with the surrounding people. He jokingly assumed the brace position again and looked at me. The Port Authority truck for JFK
pulled up and inspected the plane. We had a hard time taxiing to a gate because US isn’t really a big regular at JFK
. US only serves PHX
. We soon made the long taxi to Terminal 7.
As we pulled up to our neighbor, a Cathay Pacific B777 heading to Hong Kong, we were ready to get out! The JFK
jetbridge controller wasn’t able to line up the bridge with the door. The ground was too icy for us to step on, so we had to wait an excruciating amount of time. Soon, the F/A notified us that they had marshaled us into the gate 5ft short of what was needed. They turned off the power and brought us 5ft forward. We were all ready to get out!
We were instructed by an agent in the jetbridge to continue on to Carousel 4. An ANA agent was there to make sure her gate would free up for the incoming ANA flight. Our confused bunch muddled to Carousel 4 and my dad popped into some gift shops. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures from the carousel because it was a Customs area.
We were elated as the bags finally came in and we boarded the bus to take us to LaGuardia. We took the Van Wyck Expressway to LaGuardia. I was still a little shook up and we all asked each other if we would fly again.
We soon reached LGA
: US Airways Terminal. The busload of transfers from JFK
took the check-in staff there by storm. Our seatmate was picked up because her destination was Long Island. We continued on trying to rebook our flight. It was about 10am and we had already missed our plane to CLT
and our flight to STT. In turn, we would miss Our 9K
(Cape Air) flight. We explained our situation to the check-in officer.
To Be Continued on Part 2…..
I hope you will keep reading on. Coming up, our night in Charlotte (including writing this part of the TR
at 11pm), US Airways’ 767, a seaplane flight, and the US Virgin Islands.
Well, I’m tired! I’m in Charlotte right now.
Please Comment and tell me what you thought. Thank you!
Here are some links from some outside stories covered by other news companies about our fateful flight: