Above & Beyond: Pushback: Newark Airport, 8:45 a.m.
What 9/11 looked like from one airliner’s cockpit.
- By Anonymous
- Air & Space magazine, January 2002
THE CHIRPING OF THE ALARM CLOCK woke me from a deep sleep. I cursed when I saw "5:30 a.m." and hit the snooze button for five more minutes.
"Who could possibly need to leave New Jersey this early in the morning?" I thought as I made my way to the shower. The flight's departure time was a sensible 8:45 a.m., but I had to wake up far earlier so I could shower, pack, and drive the hour and a half to Newark Airport.
The drive across the Hudson River took longer than usual. Seething, I crossed the George Washington Bridge at 10 mph. But no matter how bad the traffic, the view of the Manhattan skyline was always majestic.
The drive, especially for New York-and Newark-based pilots, was usually the most stressful part of the day. I was looking forward to getting to the airplane for my three-day trip. For me, flying has always been therapeutic, whether it's a multi-million-dollar airliner or a $50-an-hour rented Cessna.
I met the rest of my crew at Operations.
"Ever laid over there before?"
"Yeah, there's an excellent Mexican restaurant near the hotel."
"Perfect. Just what the doctor ordered."