The recent spate of airline mishaps has me for whatever reason reflecting back on an impressionable moment while apprehensively observing a commercial jet airliner make its final approach into Key West.
For you see it was while Blondie-Dog was tied off to a mooring ball in the Garrison Bight Mooring Field that a previously forecasted front would be slamming the Keys later that lazy afternoon. The bright, sunny weather earlier that day would soon be a thing of the past. Inclement weather along with its howling, gusting winds was forecasted to be hanging around for days on end.
And so it was after having piddled the better part of the day while ashore and while doing a whole lot of nothing, that I finally acquiesced to doing the prudent thing for a change and loaded myself into my dinghy and motored my butt on back to my boat before the bad weather was to set in.
In any event it couldn't have been more than twenty minutes or so after securing the dinghy and settling in for the evening that Blondie's halyards suddenly started rattling and making a whole lot of racket. Gusting winds had indeed made their forecasted arrival. And with that, Blondie had suddenly pivoted to the other side of the mooring ball all the while straining to remain in place.
And it goes without saying that I swiftly put down the paperback that I had only moments earlier started reading to step up into the companionway and marvel at the weather event as it roared on in.
Yet it was at that very moment when off in the not too far distance that I could see a Boeing 737 jet airliner gently swing around from the south end of the island as it made its final approach for landing. But that's when the plane appeared to be laboring to maintain altitude while way short of the runway. It seemed as if a micro-burst might have perhaps happened upon the scene. And I can distinctly recall thinking to myself, "This doesn't look good".
But that's when the plane could suddenly be seen banking hard to left with its powerful engines now exerting maximum thrust. In but a few moments that plane would be flying directly overhead after having aborted its landing. That plane couldn't have been more than but a couple hundred feet above the mooring field while screaming on past.
And all the while I'm pumping my fist and thinking to myself, "Way to go pilot!... well done!"
I watched that plane for the next ten minutes or so as it gained altitude far off in the distance towards the Everglades. That plane did indeed eventually swing around to make a safe and uneventful landing.
And insofar as those passengers are concerned, I've got to believe that they were in a most celebratory mood and I don't doubt for a moment that they were all imbibing copious amounts of alcoholic beverages along Duval Street later that evening. I'm pretty sure that's what I would have been doing had I been aboard that flight.