Thursday, February 21, 2013

Where is Joe Patroni When You Need Him?!

I can hear Dean Martin's voice shouting into his captain's microphone, "We need [runway] two-niner*!" A stuck airliner jeopardizes the emergency landing of Dean's plane on which a bomb has exploded. That was the plot of the wildly popular 1970 movie, Airport.

That came to mind from this scene from Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport this afternoon:
Wichita Mid-Continent Airport via Facebook
A United Express (known as United 'Distress' to frequent fliers) jet took a wrong turn and got stuck in the snow. No one hurt. A bus was brought for the passengers and they are all warm and safe.

Besides, none of Mid-Continent's three runways is oriented toward the west northwest. Runways are named for their orientation in compass degrees (i.e., landing on a runway toward the north would make it runway "36"). So, we won't have a runway two-niner to clear.

* Pilots say "niner" rather than "nine" 'cause it's cool.


  1. ...and to distinguish the sound of "nine" from the sound of "five."

    Nah....let's go with cool.

  2. Scott: "Five" and "nine" don't sound that much alike. It is all about cool (see opening chapter of "The Right Stuff" and talking like Chuck Yeager).

  3. Ok. I'm thinking of being on the other end of the radio. As a dispatcher, I actually did have times I confused the numbers. Haven't read "The Right Stuff," but I take your word for it.

  4. It's actually to distinguish from the German word nine meaning no. Just in case a German pilot gets confused. I'm serious.

  5. @Harger. Very interesting. Thank you.


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