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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

3 Steak Specials Medium Rare

Fifty feet

Twenty-five feet

Ten

Five

Touchdown

Zero to one hundred and eighty
In the time it takes to say SQUAWK
Shattering structural bonds to the tune  of cross parallel chevrons in the ribbing
Leaving skid marks an eighth of a mile long
And that grey smokey trail
Joining fifteen others
In a symphony of arrival sung by sixteen brothers

No brakes yet
Don't be a fool
As we wheelie down the two mile runway just under breakaway speeds

A firm hand on the throttles
Reaches forward six more inches
Grasping crab-hinged levers
Pulling all four backwards
Up and over to hold against the stops

Four pneumatic drive motors scream out over all the rest of the noise
Audible from even the cheapest of seats in the balcony
One hundred and sixty more decibels never sounded quite so sweet
Driving four sets of flexible driveshafts
Pushing through sixteen right angle gearboxes
The same number of horizontal jackscrews
Sliding four exhausts sleeves
That pull out eighty eight blocker doors

Hard into the ice cold fan air
Diverting it out the reversing vanes
Blowing out perpendicular to the forward thrust
And just a little bit angled to the front

Slowing the more than six hundred thousand pounds of aircraft
Just enough to drop the nose
The last two tires catching up to the rest
With a SQUAWK
A pair of skid marks
And a little more choking grey rubber smoke

Brakes now applied
As the engines still scream at three quarters throttle
Pushing the reversed thrust
Stacked steel disks begin to glow cherry red
As the speed bleeds off just a bit

A patch of ice makes the #5 tire lock up momentarily
But the anti-skid system kicks right in
Releasing both the #5 and #8 simultaneously
Before reengaging the pistons to generate more friction heat unmercifully

Just as onlookers are certain that the temperature fuse plugs in the wheels will surely melt
The heavily laden Boeing reaches the first runway turnoff

Brakes ease up
Reversers scream back into streamlined place
Making a relative quiet that has even more people staring
At the fat wide-body now waddling along the taxiway at a more sedate pace

What's the hurry?
Everyone wondered
Why the swift descent and harsh desire to get to the parking space?

These questions remained a mystery to most
As the flight crew pulled a Houdini as soon as the wooden chocks were put into place
Just a black and white blur upon the airstairs going down
With the crumpled up logbook appearing like magic in the hands of the ground mechanic
The only thing to mark their former place
As the engines hadn't even stopped turning
And the crew van was speeding away like the devil was giving chase

If someone had been near a clock
And remembered what day it was today
This mystery would have had a quick solution
For it was Steak Night Thursdays at the Airport Bar until 8
And the little hand was almost on the eight already
With the big hand just kissing the eleven