The last thought in my head before we took off was hoping for no albatross strikes. Of course, the thoughts previously throughout the day was wishing that we didn’t have to leave. Guess what?
Both came true.
About an hour into our flight, as both Wayne and I were entering into sleep, there was a loud bang, and a violent shake to the airplane, followed by a rapid descent. As you might imagine, we were both a little shaken up. It was startling, to say the least.
The pilots turned around and returned our aircraft to Midway, landing safely. We were greeted on the runway by the Deputy Fish and Wildlife manager and the PA. I think they were worried about shock...we were all groggy and alert simultaneously, but quickly returned to Charlie Barracks and our old rooms. We were grateful for that, as another group of 15 had arrived on the same plane. Amusingly enough, a number of them didn’t realize it was so.
We got up this morning, saw a note for a pilot’s briefing at 5 pm, and so took off to get our bicycles back and continue to do our whole island exploration. We circled the runway looking for shorttails (there were none), and then headed out to Bulky Dump for some photography. The afternoon was spent out at the finger pier, and then headed back in for the pilot’s briefing.
They pretty much had no clue why the fuel spiked, or what caused the spark. However, they assured us that the flames were simply the manifestation of the JP5 in a closed engine burning off. That was far more reassuring than some of our fellow passengers accounting of an engine ensconced by flames for 4-5 minutes! We also spent a lot more time at the finger pier in the afternoon, returning at sunset. Lovely albatross in flight pictures, plus the hybrid and chick.
Satisfying, with a distinct possibility of getting home on Thursday morning.