Monday, March 28, 2005

RIP N999SK

I suppose it's time for an update, seeing as how it's been a week (an eventful week at that). We managed to get almost all of the 270+ Everystudent shirt orders distributed between Sunday and Tuesday evening (that was quite a headache). I actually spent several hours on Tuesday morning (including in class, but don't tell my prof) going through the list of orders and using Facebook, the Cru Photo directory, and directory.purdue (the official Purdue directory) figuring out where everyone lives so we could get them their shirts. We wore the shirts from Wednesday through Friday and had several hundred fliers on the ground around campus, so I think it's safe to say that just about everyone here saw the name at least once. Sadly, there's no way to tell how many people actually went to the site, but it was enough to propel Purdue to the number one school in hits to the site (previously we were #2, but they don't have hard numbers to give us an idea of how much of a difference that is). We also had good turnouts to the Passion showings on Thursday and Friday, including a lot of people who are not regular Cru people (that's good).

The rest of the week was busy, but not all that interesting (mainly evidenced by the fact that I don't remember most of it), so I'll skip to the big events of Saturday:
So I get up at my usual time on Saturday to prepare for my 7:30am flight slot, and around 6:45 I get a call from my instructor. I had just been looking at the weather reports online and because of being overcast 600ft AGL and the low freezing level had come to the same conclusion as him: it was a no-go day (as you know, the air gets cooler as you go up, so the freezing level is where that temp is 0 Celsius, if you are in the clouds when it's that cold you are in danger of the water vapor that makes up the clouds freezing onto your wings and killing your lift[this is bad]). So I go back to bed and get up around noon. As soon as I turn my monitor on, I see that a friend had instant messaged me asking "Are you there??? You alive? There was a crash." Immediately I IM back asking for details, but she doesn't have any, so I start looking for news articles online and making calls. Within a few minutes I know that it was a Lafayette Aviation Piper Arrow, with a man and a woman onboard, both dead. It went down in the McCormick Woods at the NW corner of the Purdue Golf Course. Over the remainder of the day I was able to figure out that it was no one I know (although there were a couple of scares with people we couldn't get a hold of), and they couldn't positively identify the bodies until Sunday afternoon (the only identifiable remains of the woman were two fingers they used for prints). Josh and I drove out to the site early afternoon, but we couldn't get close enough to see anything more than a glimpse of mangled metal (the Exponent has a good article and pictures http://www.purdueexponent.org/interface/bebop/showstory.php?date=2005/03/28§ion=campus&storyid=index). The current suspicion is that the plane picked up icing in the clouds (based on weather reports at the time) and went into a stall/spin situation (based on the damage to the plane). There is also a rumor that the pilot was only a Private Pilot and didn't have his Instrument Rating, so it's not inconceivable to guess that he got disoriented in the clouds flying in hard IMC conditions. Needless to say, this has everyone at the airport a little shaken up. I didn't know either of them, but aviation is a tight knit community so we all feel the loss.

In related news, there was another accident Saturday morning in Shane's career field. As some of you know, Shane is a close friend of mine who graduated this fall and has been working for the CSX railroad company. He recently got back from 2 months of training elsewhere in the nation and is now working for them here in Lafayette. Saturday morning he was on a train going up to Chicago and had to delay his departure long enough to let an Amtrak pass them. A few miles up the road (well, rail actually), the Amtrak came up on a rail bridge in Brookston. As the driver approached the bridge at ~60mph, the engineer noticed two women walking their dog on the bridge. When he blew the train whistle, they turned around and froze. There was nothing the engineer could do, there was no way to stop the train in time and the women could not jump out of the way because they were on the bridge. If that Amtrak had been a little later that morning, it would have been Shane's train that hit them. Needless to say, it's a tragedy already, but it would have been worse if it had been him hitting them.

So with two fatalities in each of our respective career fields, we both spent the rest of the day together trying to first cope, and then trying to get our minds off the situation. That night we picked up Rebecca from McCutchen, went to Steak 'n Shake, and then saw Hitch at the local theater. Overall it was a pretty good movie, there were some parts that we could easily have done without (mainly language), but it was very funny and we enjoyed it. Disclaimer: We really liked it, but it's not a movie for everyone; I know that some of my small audience here will like it (Tilla, Amy, Dustin, etc) and others would not (Grandpa and Grandma, it's just not your style of humor). Part of the reason we liked it so much was because a few characters were a little too close to home. For example, Shane immediately linked himself with the character of Albert, and when Tilla saw the movie a few weeks ago; he called me to proclaim that the main character Hitch was a close analog to me (now having seen the movie, I have to admit that it was a little uncanny). Some of you who have seen the movie would probably disagree, but you have to understand the relationship I have with Tilla gives him a little different perspective on me.

Sunday was Easter, so while I missed being home for our traditional Easter breakfast (which they apparently didn't have), it was good to get back to ECC and join my family there in celebrating the resurrection of Y'shua Messiah. Then the Lageveens had Shane and I (and a few other people) over for Easter dinner. We had excellent food and a lot of fun (including such silly activities as coloring Easter eggs and having an Easter egg hunt in the back yard). Actually, it's quite a sight to see 8 people between around 9th grade and a recent grad like Shane running around in a no-holds-barred search for 27 eggs. Before we began I stated the only rule: "Anything's legal as long as no one goes to the hospital." Shane's tactic of choice was to chase the rest of us around, ripping the bottoms out of our plastic grocery bags and stealing our eggs. He managed to get away with a total of 8; more than anyone else (he was quite proud of himself for that one). Prayer and Praise that night was also really good, with Shane and Chip even making valiant attempts at doing cartwheels afterward.

So, that brings me to today, which summarizes to class, lunch, work (now), and a flight tonight. Before you complain about how long this post is, keep in mind that it does cover a whole week (verses a bunch of smaller ones) and the unique and troubling events of this weekend. For those of you wondering about the title, N999SK is the registration number/callsign of the downed Arrow.

1 Comments:

At 8:05 PM, Anonymous Rebecca said...

*ahem* looks like someone can't spell McCutcheon... (no big deal, our staff girl can't spell it either ;) )

This was a really crazy weekend... And I just realized that I will probably be working in the transportation industry for part of my summer (driving Purdue vans up in Michigan during my summer practicum). Not to mention I found out today that plane crashed ON the property boundary I had been surveying the week before spring break. My team made up a hand gesture for "look out, there's a bear behind you", but not "heads up, plane coming your way!" (even though we had walkie-talkies... and there aren't any bears in Indiana... except maybe in zoos... ok I'm rambling now)

When I checked everystudent.com on Tuesday night, we were at #5. I'd say it's significant that we got to #1 from there in a week.

That's all the comments on this long entry... aren't you glad I didn't ask more questions? (err...)

 

Post a Comment

<< Home