It is rare in life that we get a second chance at the really important things. I remember in the 5th grade, there was a very cute girl named Jeri that I would see on the playground from time to time. Jeri had long flowing hair and she didn’t seem as “girly” as the other girls did. She wasn’t afraid to hold frogs or snakes and she ran just as fast as the boys did while playing kickball or tag. Girls had cooties, to be sure, but I was smitten with her nonetheless. Well on the last day of school, our teachers allowed us to fill some of the party balloons we had with water and we engaged in a full on end of school water-balloon war! Standing on the front lines, I hurled a water balloon with all the strength I had toward my friend Russell. Russell ducked, and my missile hit Jeri right in the face! She cried. I was mortified. A full year later when I asked Jeri to the middle school dance she laughed me and said, “You hit me in the face with a water-balloon, Ken Walker, I am NOT going to the dance with you!” I was mortified. Again. Oh, for a second chance… I’m sure Jeri is doing just fine now, wherever she may be. The lesson was plain however, second chances are rare!
Fortunately, airplanes were designed for second chances. Have you ever experience a “Go Around?” That’s pilot vernacular for aborting a landing, going back around, and trying it again. It happens more often than you think. It’s happened twice to me, once in
Consider that this type of operation is one of the single busiest events to occur in the cockpit. Consider also that most pilots are fairly technical in nature and they’re not the best public speakers. Therefore, by the time the pilot finishes the maneuver, translates what happened into layman’s English, and gets a chance to grab the microphone and engage the passengers, he ends up saying something like, “Sorry folks, we got a bit too close to some other airplanes so we’re going back around to try it again.” While true in a certain sense, this doesn’t exactly inspire confidence! I just know people go home after an event like that and call their family, “I was in a near miss situation, you’ll probably see it on the news!”
It can be scary, but it really shouldn’t be. A pilot told me once that the danger is almost non-existent. When you’re in your seat about to land and you suddenly hear the engines ramp up, you feel the nose of the aircraft rising to 15 degrees above horizontal, you hear the sound of the hydraulics pushing the wheels back up into the belly, and you feel the sudden acceleration push you back into your seat, well, that’s exactly what the airplane is designed to do!
So sit back and enjoy the ride! If you haven’t experience a “Go Around” yet, you eventually will, they’re routine, safe, and the best second chance you can safely take!
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please call 1-877-49-EXPERT. Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.