…perhaps an unexpected topic here.
Next Friday evening, Dave, his brother Pete and one of the lady coaches from our gymnastics centre will be taking to the air with some of the senior gymnasts for a weekend competition in Chicago. Nothing unusual there, of course, except for the extraordinary disappearance (and now, apparent stealthy diversion for 7 hours) of the Malaysian flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Dave and I, the kids and their mums were eating dinner last night, and talking about the competition, when Jaymee (12yo, Dave’s daughter) suddenly burst into tears and said she didn’t want him to go. We hadn’t realised that our kids had taken in so much about his strange event from the news, but Jaymee seems really spooked by it all. ‘If you disappear, Dad, where do you go?’ Now there’s a question to which it is difficult to find an answer. Apparently she had a dream in which an aircraft she was in was swallowed up by a giant spacecraft and the occupants whisked off for ‘tests’ by aliens. Maybe she’s seen the wrong sort of films on TV, but we were all slightly shocked by the seriousness with which our 12-year-olds are getting involved in newsworthy events. Since a trip to UK is planned for the summer, we have to make her feel confident about flying again and, I guess, when this mystery finally resolves itself (as it surely must?) we can convince her that transatlantic flights don’t routinely vanish. I must admit, I was slightly surprised to discover that when they leave US airspace (actually Canadian) there are long gaps before Irish or UK controllers get in contact, and you really are ‘out there’ on your own, over 3000 miles of ocean…
Our thoughts, naturally, are with the families of the missing passengers and crew and also with them. This sort of thing is what thriller writers dream up – it ain’t ‘for real’, surely?? Reporting systems turned off at the moment when one state’s controllers handed over to the other (Vietnam), the perfect moment to engineer a course change and remain undetected… but overlooking the engines constantly reporting their condition to a satellite for near seven hours… truth seemingly, for the moment, stranger than fiction. I write ‘faction’ – real exploits edited around to make a better read than a basic diary form would come across (see the end of the post), but I don’t think I could have dreamed up a plot like this. The plane could have landed as far away as Kazakhstan, apparently, although I don’t understand how that could happen without some major collusion from the authorities. Someone, somewhere, knows the answer to this, and isn’t saying.
We have tried to explain to Jaymee that accidents sometimes happen, but the fact that the plane didn’t apparently disintegrate in the air seems to have made her fears worse. Anyway, we assured her that Dave’s plane would be held tightly in the grip of US air-traffic-control radar for its short flight and that it couldn’t ‘disappear’.
RIGHT: this is a fitness blog and it is time for some appropriate pictures. Not an aircraft in sight.
Let’s work the biceps first:
And some impressive overall results…
The books I mentioned (gay, gym, adventure, and a number of uneventful airliner trips getting a passing mention):