Thursday, January 28, 2010

Have Faith

"Have faith."

When he said it, the words pressed into my palms, like coins. Since then I've measured all virtuous currency. I've checked it against a balance sheet. I know how much it costs to cross the line. I know how much I earn for grieving. Annuities paid out for never questioning. Nose to the grindstone, I'll have enough by the end of next year.

When I have enough, I will cross the Rubicon. All my rabid sins will find me.

Monday, January 25, 2010

This is Port-au-Prince tower

When you envision air traffic control what is the first image that comes to mind? I'm thinking, tower, radar screens, chain-smoking near suicidal controllers with endless supply of coffee, right? Okay, maybe I colored it a bit. I do think that air traffic control has a pretty high suicide rate though, but I haven't checked that fact. So, what happens when an earthquake hits and the tower gets destroyed and you have hundreds of airplanes trying to scramble in to a dinky little airport to provide relief for one of the most devastating natural disasters in recent history? What you do is call in the United States Air Force. And what they do, is mobilize a special forces team of combat controllers. And what they will do, within 20 minutes of landing, is establish order in a really messed up chaotic situation.

The airmen have been here since the evening after the earthquake, when they found that aid planes were landing randomly. They brought enough landing lights for the 10,000-foot runway, although the existing lights were still functioning. The control tower, however, was too badly damaged to be used. So the airmen put their table out next to the runway and, within 20 minutes of arriving, they began contacting airplanes with the message, "This is Port-au-Prince tower." They have been there since, working and sleeping in 12-hour shifts.

They landed about 50 planes that first night, and guided 35 or 40 to take off. There were only 10 parking spots by the main terminal, so aircraft stacked up quickly, blocking each other's movements. Small planes are sent to park on grassy fields. Helicopters are restricted to one side of the runway so that they don't interfere with arriving jets.

At times, an airmen jumps on a motorcycle to escort planes to their parking spots.
Thats right, ya'll, forget the radar screens and tower. All you need is a folding table and a CCT team and the job gets done. Hooyah.