Monday, January 11, 2010

Crash / Landing

A crash landing at Newark came with the stunning image of yet another runway slide:

One of the rear sets of landing gear failed to open, and so the Airbus 319 had to touch down on the front and one rear set of wheels, and then skid to a stop on its wing-mounted engine. Sparks flew. Everyone survived, but one can only imagine the mindset of the passengers as the plane was on final approach.

And so we find ourselves back in Don DeLillo's White Noise, in which a plane is caught in a sharp descent, with no power:
Certain elements in the crew had decided to pretend it was not a crash but a crash landing that was seconds away. After all, the difference between the two is only one word. Didn't this suggest that the two forms of flight termination were more or less interchangeable? How much could one word matter?