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Grand Canyon – A Death Defying Visit

Grand Canyon Airlines Scare – the first clue

You might also be interested to note that we almost didn’t make it back alive. We were in a very, very scary, very perilous situation during out sight-seeing airplane trip in the Grand Canyon. There had been a snow storm earlier, but the storm lifted and these 30-something cowboy pilots said “we’ll give it a try.” That was the first clue, but I didn’t comprehend it as a statement that should have caused concern.

The second clue

Michael recounted (after-the-fact) that he heard the pilots quoting lines from the movie Dumb and Dumber prior to take off. I didn’t see the movie, nor did I recognize the dialog. So, this too was ignored.

The Ride

We got up in the air and it was a white-knuckle ride all the way. We hit some serious turbulence just a minute or so after take off. When we got close to the canyon, the turbulence was severe. I looked out the windows and saw us dip and sway and I just kept thinking that, at any moment, we were going to be dashed into the canyon rocks and killed. Michael says that at one point we were literally being blown by the wind currents so much that we were just barely keeping upright. I am not exaggerating when I say that all 8 of us passengers were scared out of our wits. That fear of falling that I have was in full effect.

We had sudden, significant, losses of altitude on several occasions due to wind shears and turbulence. The pilots also had to deal with severe wind gusts as we landed. I am just amazed that they landed in one try. They landed with one wing practically scraping the ground and it felt as if the plane was going to be overturned in the process. Suffice it to say, that I could not have been happier to feel terra firma under my feet, and I was damn glad that we were driving home to San Diego so that I wouldn’t have to go up in the air so soon after that incident. It was bad enough that the airlines offered to give all of us our money back, but we all had way too much adrenaline running through our systems to even comprehend that kind of transaction.

Perhaps strangely, considering the events, I don’t have a new fear (fear of flying) to add to my list of phobias. I will fly again, it just won’t be soon. And I will never, ever, ever go for a plane ride in the Grand Canyon again. Furthermore, I shall think twice (maybe three times) before flying in “iffy” weather conditions – especially in anything smaller than a jumbo jet.

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