Yes, in answer to a comment regarding partying in the comments here when I'm away, by all means. You're all welcome to discuss whatever topics strike your fancy here. I just ask that you not be abusive to one another, and that a topic started on one blog entry remain on that blog entry, no matter how many days ago it was, and not get spread over different blog entries. That way the discussion is in one place that people can follow it, (you know how to tick the box to get replies e-mailed to you, right?) and people who are tired of that topic can move on and not have it follow them around.
I do intend to comment on the young Canadian who attempted to commit "suicide by cop" in a C172, and the Garuda pilot jailed for continuing a dangerously unstable approach, but I haven't finished thinking about those stories so today a bit of numerical superstition to go with the date.
I was e-mailing with someone who works with United Airlines and he mentioned that demand is down so much that with corresponding reduction in flight schedules, starting March 29th the range of flight numbers assigned by his airline will be from 1 to 999. They won't need four digit flight numbers anymore. And then as an aside he listed of numbers to be blocked as unusable: 13 93 113 175 213 232 313 413 513 585 613 713 811 813 911 913.
Fascinating. You quickly see that any number that would be pronounced with a "thirteen" is avoided to soothe the triskaidekaphobes, and that leaves 93, 175, 232, 585, 811 and 911. Do you recognize what's happened here? I didn't realize it before, but airlines retire flight numbers the way hockey teams retire player numbers, but in this case it's not for scoring a lot of goals. Each of the unusable flight numbers represents a major air disaster involving that flight number. It's a combination of respect for the dead and avoiding making people uncomfortable to be boarding "United Airlines Flight 93."
UA 175 was the other company airplane lost on September 11th, 2001, and the blocked 911 also refers to that date. United even changed the flight times on that route so that there is no longer an eight a.m. departure that could be said to be the same flight. UA232 was the famous DC-10 landing with no hydraulics in Sioux City. UA585 killed all on board crashing at Colorado Springs due to an uncommanded rudder hard-over. And UA811 had a cargo door come off in flight, resulting in nine fatalities.
Movies and newspaper stories often don't say "United 811" but just "Flight 811" as though there were only one flight anywhere with that number. But of course the same flight number can be used by different airlines, and by the same airline day after day. As I started to write this I knew there had been two different crashes of "Flight 191." American Airlines 191 had an engine separate from the wing during takeoff severing hydraulic lines and cutting off power to some captain-side instrumentation. Delta Airlines 191 was brought down by a microburst while landing at Dallas-Fort Worth. While looking for those Wikipedia links I discovered three other flight 191 accidents. Wikipedia includes a sixth, the recent Turkish Airlines 1951, but I think that's stretching it.
I was assigned the transponder code 0313 recently, and a seat in row thirteen on two different legs of a three leg airline itinerary. One was even an emergency exit row. I wonder if other passengers avoided that row, leaving it for me, the late check-in.