If there's one think pilots love, its acronyms. We learn them throughout our training and our flying, whenever we get freaked out or scared we remember an acronym. If we have an engine failure it's A.B.C; Airspeed, Best Field and Checklist. Simple, to the point and easy to remember, that's why we use acronyms so much. It's actually pretty funny because we love acronyms, however when we speak on the radio we use the phonetic alphabet so the controller's understand. But there's no acronym for this, no acronym for how to handle two men in the cabin beating up an innocent girl. Because all we want to do is go out there and rip their fucking heads off, but the safety of the passengers comes first and we can't risk them getting into the cockpit. Another thing we learn is to always, under any circumstance, a pilot always flies the airplane above all else, that is our first priority; fly the plane.
Over New York 7pm
"American 674 is the aircraft damaged at all?" New York Center asked us over the radios.
Rick answered "not to our knowledge." Then to us he asked "do you think they have any explosives?"
Eric spoke up "God I hope not, are they Al Qaeda?"
"They don't seem organized enough to be a terrorist cell." I answered.
"American 674 please squawk 4674, and advise on any altitude changes" the man said over the radio.
Rick answered, "squawking 4674 and will advise on altitude changes." Rick reached over to the transponder to put in the squawk code.
"Unless they're trying to seem unorganized so we don't suspect it." Eric said, picking up the conversation right where it left off.
"Alright, stop assuming things." Jose spoke up. "What are the facts? We know there are at least two of them, that they want something from Rahm Brandon,"
"They have at least two guns." Eric announced.
"They have Mary." I spoke up. They had a scared girl back there whom they had locked into the bathroom. Though she was being incredibly brave by not sneaking into the cockpit when she had the chance, or stupid.
"Okay and our priority must be to get this plane on the ground so we can these passengers off the plane." Jose said.
"And we have to get Mary somewhere safe." I said quietly.
"Now we have to see exactly what it is that they want and how we can get it to them. What's our fuel at?"
"15 hours" Rick read off the gauge. I did an instrument scan, everything was in the green and both engines were rich and at 65% so they would burn the most amount of fuel possible at this altitude. We had the auto pilot on, keeping the plane at 35,000 feet and on a northeasterly heading. The air was clear up here, no turbulence, but I could see some clouds below us.
"So we are twenty thousand pounds overweight." Jose answered and we all fell silent.
Rick was the first to speak, "we could fly over the ocean to dump the fuel." He proposed.
"Yeah and we could land at LaGuardia" Eric said. I thought about that for a second, we could turn right to position ourselves away from civilians. That would be relatively easy, with the winds southeasterly at 120 we would only need to be about 10 miles over the ocean to make sure the wind wouldn't carry all the fuel to land.
"Alright let's contact New York Center to get us vectored out there." Rick said.
"And we need to figure out what exactly these guys want" Jose said.
"Look man, just put the guns away, we can land and forget this whole thing happened. You can walk away a free man and everyone on this plan will stay safe." Eric bargained through the door.
"NO!" One of them roared, I think it was the one in charge of all of this. He was the one talking to us the most. "I want Rahm Brandon and I want him at Bangor in 2 fucking hours so we can trade his daughter for his life!" He yelled. Eric had his eye pressed to the peep hole.
"He's white, has blonde hair, and earrings." Eric whispered to us, Jose was sitting still, soaking it all up while rick stared straight at the horizon and I looked at Eric.
"Why don't you put the guns away and calm down?" Eric asked. He sucked at negotiating.
"Why don't you open this fucking door, let me in there to see you guys?" He asked with malice in his voice.
"We can't do that man, it's against regulations." Eric answered.
"Where's Mary?" I yelled, hoping he would hear me.
"She's in the fucking john waiting for me to go and join her." He said and I thought I heard a chuckle, but it was too low to hear.
"Don't you hurt her?" I yelled back, my face was getting hot from my anger.
"What he means is that if you hurt her, Rahm won't want to trade his almost dead daughter for himself, think of the trade man." God what the fuck was wrong with Eric, he was acting like he was high.
"I'll come back over here when you have news about Rahm. Until then, keep fucking quiet and be on the ground at Bangor in 2 hours." He demanded, I heard his retreat.
"Look we need to talk to someone; FBI, CIA the fucking national guard, I don't know. But we need some help with this." Eric said as he sat back down. I looked over my left shoulder and made eye contact with him. He looked incredibly worried and scared. His black hair was disheveled. Then I looked over at Jose, his eyes were glossy, like he was thinking hard.
"I agree." Rick said, then over the radio he spoke to ATC "New York Center we need help up here, can you get in touch with the FBI for us please? Or someone, anyone who can help us with this, the terrorists are making demands." We had been speaking to a man this whole time while we were tuned into Chicago center, but this time it was a woman who spoke.
"American 674 this is the head of New York Center speaking and we have contacted the FBI, they are on their way here, we have also grounded all traffic in and out of LaGuardia and closed down Bangor, the FBI's ETA is approximately 1 hour and they will be stationed at Bangor. What kind of demands are they making sir and how many unsubs are there? We would like the best description you can give us."
"Ma'am we haven't seen the 'unsubs' because our cabin camera is down and we cannot fix it, one of them we saw through the peephole, he's white, blonde and has piercings. However we are sure that there is at least one more of them and they have locked Mary Brandon in the restroom. We don't know exactly why, but they are demanding a trade; Rahm for Mary." Rick answered.
"Okay I will notify the FBI negotiator, is anybody injured?"
"It seems that Mary and one of our flight attendants have been hit a few times, but nothing serious."
"That's good, and I see you are at 060 heading to the coast? Are you prepared to enter a holding pattern so you may dump the fuel?"
"Yes ma'am and then we will begin a descent heading 330 towards Bangor; will I be staying with you for the duration of this flight?"
"Yes sir, you will. Please notify if you have any further interaction with the unsubs."
"Roger, over." Rick said.
"Sir ATC had informed us that they are vectoring 674 to Bangor International." Agent Saxon informed me, he was new to the anti-terrorism unit and had only been working with us for the past month, I didn't know if I trusted him or not.
We were in the cabin of the FBI's plane in Quantico, waiting to take off.
"Do you know what vectoring means?" I asked Saxon, he was sitting diagonally from me at the table, papers and laptops scattered all over it, there were 8 people on this unit and we were supposed to meet up with a SEAL team when we arrived, they had been called in at the same time as us.
Saxon looked sheepish as he stared at his notes. "Does anyone know aviation terms?" I asked the members of my team and they all shook their heads. "Well let's get one of these pilots in here then!" I said exasperatedly.
Three people stood up at once, but Mike practically raced to the door and won. They were such children sometimes. I looked down at my notes;
Mary Brandon is the target
Rahm Brandon is the demand
230 passengers. 2 unsubs, are there more?
11 flight attendants.
4 men in the cockpit; Edward Cullen, Rick Mladic, Eric Yorkie, and Jose Smith. Are they involved?
Landing at Bangor. ETA?
Currently dumping fuel. Why?
Do they have a target? What is their plan? Al Qaeda?
"Okay Garrett, preform background checks on all of the pilots, where were they the past 24 hours, who are their friends, and how long have they been working with each other? Look at everything, their pets, their girlfriends and their dream jobs.
"Char, do the same on the flight attendants.
"Peter, figure out what the exact dimensions, seating arrangements and food onboard 674, I want to know how many meals are on board and how many stains are in that cabin, then figure out what's in the cargo hold. Anything valuable?"
"Yes sir," Peter replied.
"Everyone else, figure out who these unsubs are and where they have been over the last 5 years. Go through every one of the passengers if you have to, just figure it out.
"Now where is that pilot?" I finished as I looked up to see if the cockpit door had opened back up yet, Mike had gone in so he could speak with them. Just in time I saw Mike open the door, behind him was a tall white guy with a nice suit on, he looked fresh out of college with that 'I'm going to conquer the world' gleam in his eye. He was walking with his hands out of his pockets, eager to be let in on the secrets of the FBI.
"Mike, find out everything you can about this Mary Brandon, can she be an asset or will she be extra baggage. Why was she on this plane?" I ordered Mike and then brought my attention to the pilot; he had a nametag that said Adam. "Hello Adam, if you could answer some questions for me that'd be great." I told him and motioned for him to sit across from me in Mikes vacated seat.
"Of course sir, I'll tell you everything I know." He said as he sat down, smiling slightly.
"Do you know much about a 757?" I started.
"It's a twin engine low wing which is primarily used for commercial flights." He answered robotically, as if he had memorized it beforehand.
I wrote down as he was speaking, "alright, what else, does it have flaws? What's its endurance?"
"Well, I mean every aircraft has its flaws," he breathed out and put his hands on the table between us, intertwining his fingers. "I don't know what's going on here, but you're not the FAA or the NTSB so you're obviously not dealing with an aircraft flaw right now. And as for the endurance, it depends on how much fuel they put into the aircraft before it began its flight."
I looked down at my sheet, "They were flying from Chicago to Cairo, and I don't know their fuel amounts at this moment."
"Well they were scheduled to fly over 6,000 miles so I would assume that they have full fuel tanks right now, and a Boeing 757 burns, on average, 3,000 pounds of fuel an hour, with eleven thousand gallons of fuel, or sixty-seven thousand pounds, that would mean that if they stayed in cruise flight they could be flying for 22 hours." I just stared at him, then tried to write all of that down on my note sheet.
"Alright and let's say they had to dump fuel, why would they do that if they could stay up for the better part of a day?"
"You only ever dump fuel in an emergency, to get below landing weight usually." I waited for him to elaborate. "Well you have minimums and maximums for everything you do when you're flying, your max takeoff weight could be 60,000 pounds heavier than you max landing weight because it's factoring in how much fuel you're going to burn on your trip." This kid was some kind of genius.
"Okay and is it safe to say that in the event of a terrorist attack, like 9/11, a terrorist wouldn't dump fuel because the fuel is the accelerant?"
"Yeah, I mean without the fuel nothing in an airplane would catch fire, it's all fire resistant, not that that helps much of you have 60,000 pounds of fuel on fire below your feet."
"And what is the arrangement of a 757, someone get me blueprint of the plane!" I said to my teammates.
"Sir, I think you're underestimating the size of a 757. You could fit the entire first flight of the Wright brothers in the fuselage of a 757. If there is something going on inside a 757 you're going to have to be pretty freaking invisible to sneak past a few hijackers. It won't be easy." Adam said, looking serious. "I think that the best bet would be to get some eyes in there, drill some holes in the floor and stick some little spider cameras up there. The cockpit would be the safest place to do that, no fuel near the cockpit. Maybe get the cell phone numbers of the pilots and the passengers. Then station some men underneath the aircraft, you can't see more that about 90 degrees from any window in an aircraft. Look at this window, half of it is covered by wing and the other half by fuselage." I looked out and could barely see anything. "Then if they stay in the air, get some f-16 to fly next to them so they can see what's going on and paint you a picture."
Adam finished and I started jotting ideas onto my notepad, "Alright everyone, did you get all that? Let's get these people on the phone." I demanded.
My flight was cancelled today good for you guys though (if anyone actually reads this). But I have discovered a few errors in this and I will address them here but I cannot change them now,
First, a 757 only has a two man cockpit, I apologize, that probably would have been less confusing so I apologize. But it's too late now.
Also I think I'm making this story entirely too confusing, but I'll try to iron it out soon. A lot of people were introduced in this chappy, you don't have to remember all of their names but in the cockpit are; Edward(Co-Pilot), Rick (Captain), Jose (second shift Captain) and Eric (second shift Co-Pilot). Then on the anti-terrorism unit are Jasper, Peter, Charlotte, Mike and Garrett. They aren't extremely important, but Jazz had to have a team.
Finals are over! I got a C on one of them . Fuck intro to management.
Have a good winter break everyone!