Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hawks and Airplanes

Yesterday I hopped on yet another airplane for our annual trip to Greenville, SC, for my husband's company Christmas weekend with the other construction managers and their wives. It's always a great time, and I look forward to it each year.

As always I prayed for protection for our flights (Roger was flying to Atlanta from Phoenix; I was heading for the same destination from Denver). Roger called me as he boarded his plane to tell me all was well there. And an hour later, after spending some time with Kathy in the food court on Concourse A at DIA (she was on her way to Phoenix for some training), I boarded my flight. It wasn't a full flight, so everyone was boarded early. And the pilot assured us we would be in Atlanta on time, if not early.

We taxied out to the runway, chatting to the flight attendant sitting across from me. I was in an exit row and on Delta planes that's right at the door, nineteen rows back from the cockpit. When it was our turn for takeoff, we sped up down the runway. Just before we lifted off, I felt a huge thump (thought we ran over something!) and an immediate slow down.

Never had that happen before!

The pilot came on the intercom and said he'd chosen to abort takeoff (no kidding!) because a hawk-like bird had decided to take the same flight pattern as our plane . . . unfortunately for the bird! I don't think my heart was the only racing at that point, but everyone was amazingly calm. Of course we were still on the ground. *smile*

Don't even want to think what it would have been like if we'd taken off.

We taxied back to the gate to get checked out. Being seated where I was, I got to hear some information from the pilot, maintenance workers, and gate agent that I normally wouldn't have. Everything checked out. No damage (except to the bird, of course), but they did find one feather. One. They also determined it was a hawk, but whether from the feather or ground crews finding the bird on the runway, I don't know.

We sat at the gate for another hour allowing the brakes to cool off, then we headed back out to the runway to try again. By the time we took off (this time without incident), it was nearly two hours past our time to leave.

God's protection? You bet! All the time. Though not always as evident as it was yesterday, at least not to me. I'm afraid I usually take it for granted.

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