Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

News, notes and ideas on music marketing, self-promotion, artist empowerment and more

November 23, 2007

Fear & Uncertainty at 25,000 Feet

We had only been in the air for about 20 minutes after taking off from LAX. Then something happened that immediately filled me and everyone on the plane with uncertainty -- if not outright fear.
We were headed back to St. Louis after spending an exciting, action-packed week in Los Angeles, three days of which were spent at the amazing TAXI Road Rally.

My girlfriend Pooki and I were talking about the holidays and making notes about the things we needed to do once we got back home. Suddenly, there was a weird clunking sound and a vibration in the plane.

The only thing I can compare it to is the sound made when the cargo door of a plane is slammed shut after the luggage is loaded on. Crunch and shake. You expect that when the plane is stationary on the ground. But not at 25,000 feet.

(I'm sure we hadn't reached our top flying altitude when the unexpected crunch sound came, but we were pretty damn high up there. I'm just guessing it was 25,000 feet.)

Soon after the strange sounds stopped, the plane seemed to lose a little power and made a quick turn to the left. The pilot came on soon after and informed everyone that the left engine (one of only two on the plane) had just gone out.

He did a good job of describing it as a "non-event" but said "they always like us to head back to the airport when these things happen." Since the plane was taking a straight shot back to LAX, he said we'd be back on the ground in less than 15 minutes.

Now I've heard that planes can fly just fine with one engine. The aircraft appeared to be stable in the air. None of the passengers was panicking. But another interesting thing was happening: No one was complaining about the inconvenience or the delay this might cause.

Pooki and I held each other's hand and patiently waited. I wasn't outwardly fretting, but I must admit it was the longest 15 minutes of my life. It was a situation where you feel completely helpless. There's nothing you can do to make it better except trust -- in the pilots, in the only remaining working engine, in the Universe, in whatever it is you trust your trust with.

As we safely landed, I saw right away that this "non-event" had caused dozens of emergency vehicles to line the runway. As we taxied off the runway, several trucks and police cars, with lights blazing, surrounded the plane to inspect the engine and make certain an emergency evacuation wasn't needed. It wasn't.

Within minutes, we had pulled up to a gate and were exiting the plane. Still, no one was complaining about interrupted plans. Within an hour and a half, a new plane was ready and the same passengers, pilots and flight attendants climbed aboard for a smooth, uneventful flight to St. Louis.

Even though we were never in immediate danger, this experience made me think of a lot of things -- in those tense minutes before landing back at LAX and in the days since.

Mainly, I realize more than ever that I have a lot to live for and a lot to be thankful for. Which made Thanksgiving Day extra special this year.

I'm extremely grateful for Pooki, my daughter Kelli, other members of my family, and my many friends. And I'm incredibly thankful for you, dear reader, for continuing to give me a reason to write and speak about the topics that are so important to me.

Just yesterday, on Thanksgiving, I got this heartwarming email from someone I've never met:

This Thanksgiving
I am thankful for ...
Your amazing writing
And all the great resources you put in our hands.

Hope your Thanksgiving is merry and bright, Bob.

Your random fan,

Thanks, Erin. And thanks to all of you who make my life brighter in so many ways!


posted by Bob Baker @ 9:53 AM   5 comments


At Nov 23, 2007 10:39:00 PM, Blogger Tiffany said...

Jon and I almost took that flight home! We would've been the panicked people on the plane, for sure ;) Glad you both got back alright.

At Nov 24, 2007 10:58:00 AM, Blogger Will said...

Glad to hear you made it home safe Bob.

That kind of survival or primal fear hardwired into our system has changed into fear of usually minor events that may or may not happen.

At Nov 25, 2007 6:21:00 PM, Blogger Stefano said...

Glad to hear you made it back alright. That kind of stuff can put the fear of God in you. Check out

At Nov 28, 2007 3:10:00 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Nice! We're so busy creating and marketing our music, we sometimes forget the much bigger picture. Glad everything worked out for you (and all the other passengers) ;) and you were able to get some good (renewed appreciation for life!) out of the whole event.

Dave Z

At Nov 30, 2007 4:12:00 PM, Anonymous JFDI said...

I am, indeed, thankful for you and your presence in this world, and am most glad to hear that all was well that ended well.


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