A Christmas miracle


Continental Airlines flight 1404 began its takeoff run at 1808 MST on Saturday evening at Denver airport for a routine flight to Houston.  Carrying 115 passengers and crew, the Boeing 737-500 series airplane was heavy with fuel as it thundered down the runway.

Preliminary indications are that, just after lifting off, something went wrong with one of the engines and the pilots aborted the takeoff.  In their attempts to slow and stop, the aircraft veered left off the runway, shot across the grass and finally came to rest about 200 yards from an airport fire station.  A fire broke out but, amazingly, everyone evacuated with a number of injuries but no fatalities.

115 people will have an extra reason to celebrate this holiday season.  They’re still alive.

UPDATE 1: Jon over at Flightblogger makes the point that we shouldn’t call it a “miracle”.  Pilot and flight attendant training and a well manufactured airplane ensured that everyone survived.

UPDATE 2: Passengers are saying that a pre-boarding announcement said that the plane had “engine problems” but they had been corrected.

Much, much more to come.

Happy Winter Solstice! Happy Winter?


At 7:04 EST (12:04 UTC) the Sun reached its Southermost declination.  Winter officially arrived. Cold, but not as cold as yesterday, and light, fluffy, beautiful snow.  The days start to get a little longer and winter settles in for the next few months.

Perhaps it’s a good time to skate away on the ice of a new day.

Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull, circa 1977


Last Tomcat Flyby
The US Navy’s F14 fighter, known as the Tomcat, is being retired. The Tomcat became a movie star in
“Top Gun” in which it acted a whole lot better than Tom Cruise.

According to Stars and Stripes the ‘Cats are on their last Pacific mission and will make one more deployment in the East before going off to the boneyard.

The F/A 18 Super Hornet is taking the Grumman built fighter’s place.