Jason and I enjoyed a lovely after-Christmas visit to Nebraska. I flew from Great Falls to Sioux City on December 28 while Jason went back up to Edmonton to work. He was to join me a couple of days later. I had never flown into Sioux City before and did not enjoy the extremely loud prop plane I took from Minneapolis to Sioux City (The airport abbreviation for the Sioux City airport is SUX - quite fitting I think). Mom and dad picked me up in Sioux City after a rather stressful drive from Bloomfield due to drifted, slick roads. Here is a photo of me standing on the highway on the way home from Sioux City at one of the many sections of highway that was only one lane.
After two trips to Omaha and back, four Christmases, a bridal shower and a bachelorette party, Jason and I headed back to Sioux City in a snow storm. On Wednesday morning, we headed to Sioux City, a day and a half earlier than originally planned because we were afraid we would not make it there for our flight. We drove 30-35 mph the whole way, but we made it there safely and spent a couple fo days with some family of mine. This brings me to this morning (Friday). Below is a timeline of our adventure back to Sherwood Park.
5:30 a.m. - Thanks to Kelly, Jason and I safely arrive at the Sioux City Airport for our 6:25 a.m. flight. Weather in Sioux City: windy and -12. After checking in and getting rid of our luggage, we wait for security to open. The metal detector doesn't work, so TSA has to wand and pat down everyone.
6:00 a.m. - We begin boarding. When we get on the plane it was freezing, just as cold inside the plane as it was outside. As we wait watching each frozen breath, Jason and I cuddle together to keep warm.
6:10 a.m. - The Captain announces that the plane sat out all night and whatever keeps it charged or warm or whatever was not working properly and that is why it was so cold. After de-icing he will fire up the engines, do the morning engine checks and we will be on our way.
6:25 a.m. - They begin the de-icing process. The Captain makes another announcement: They are having trouble with the de-icing machine and the process is taking longer than planned.
6:40 a.m. - The engines fire up.
6:50 a.m. - The captain makes yet another announcement: The wheels are frozen to the ground. Airport personnell will be bringing the de-icer back to de-ce the wheels.
7:15 a.m. - We finally take off.
Halfway through the flight there is a large jolt and the plane veers slightly to the left. I look at Jason and say 'What the heck was that?' It definitely did not feel like ordinary turbulance.
A short time later I look out the window and notice that the propellor on the right side of the plane was not moving. a couple of minutes later the flight attendant makes this announcement: "As you have probably noticed, we have lost the right engine. The Captain is speaking to the authorities in Minneapolis and will make a decision on whether to keep going or turn around and head back to Sioux City. Please remain calm." What!?!?!? The flight attendant begins passing out cookies. I begin envisioning landing in a snowy corn field. I also begin saying Our Fathers and Hail Marys faster than I ever have before.
The Captain makes an announcement: "In the five years I have been flying this has never happened." Ok, that does not make me feel better. Not only have you only been flying for 5 years, but you have no experience in this type of situation. "We are going to continue on to Minneapolis and should arrive in about a half hour. It will take us a little longer since we are only running on one engine. This is going to be a nonevent for you guys." That's just great!
I continue to pray. Everyone else remains calm.
The Captain makes another announcement: "Your Captain here. We will be landing in a few moments. They have dispatched the crash unit." What!?!?! "When we land there will be emergency vehicles waiting for us. We don't anticipate needing them, but they are required to be there in situations like this. We will be landing about 10 mph faster than normal ." At this point I am just hoping the one working engine continues to work.
We land without incident and much smoother than I had anticipated. We are then towed into the gate. I have NEVER been so relieved to get off a plane. Phew!!!!
Luckily the second leg of our flight went much smoother. When we got home Jason was checking the Sioux City Journal website to see if there was anything on there about our flight. He found the below article about a similiar incident a couple of days ago. It makes us wonder if we were on the same plane.
Needless to say, that was the scariest flight of my life. I'm not sure we will be flying in and out of Sioux City again.