Two Ring Circus (Bus Bumps Plane & A Human Cannonball)

November 12, 2007

in Airplane Stories

I will never fly on this airline again, ever.

This flight originated in Newark, N.J., and was supposed to be a one hour commuter hop to Burlington, Vt.

It was a very hot and humid July afternoon in Newark, and you can imagine the mood of the weary travelers and workers in the lower level commuter Newark terminal.

We were told to board a bus which would take us to our turbo-prop plane out on the runway.

The A.C. worked O.K. on the bus, but as we emerged from the shadows of the lower terminal, and turned onto the baking pavement and headed to where about 20 planes sat, the brightness of the sun was unbearable.

I reached into my shirt pocket for my sunglasses, and looked back at the plane we had just passed. The driver slowed, and turned the bus to bring us up parallel to the plane (our plane), and I’m thinking “too tight!” and sure enough, he clips the end of the plane, breaking off the plexiglas tail cone and antenna. I watch as they fall to the pavement.

Everybody’ s yelling, but it’s too late. The bus we’re in hits the plane we’re supposed to board.

Alarms go off, trucks and cars with flashing lights come boiling up from nowhere to our stopped bus. Suits with plastic I.D. badges jump out and start talking to the driver, guys are on radios, cell phones, guys are taking pictures, writing stuff down… We are sitting in the bus starting to sweat. It’s pretty hot.

Suit comes on the bus and talks to the driver, who gets out. About five minutes later a new driver arrives and takes us across the way to another plane. There are mechanics working on this plane. We board from the rear fold-down steps.

We sit in this tiny plane with no engines on or A.C. while a guy with a big wrench works on something in the cockpit. He leaves and shuts the side door. There is no air circulating and we are sitting in this plane baking on the runway. It’s about 90 out.

People are feeling agitated. For the first time, I know what it is like to breathe really thin air. We need oxygen and A.C. This is serious anxiety. No word from the flight crew. The door to the flight deck is closed. Even the flight attendant looks spooked. He goes up to see what is going on in the cockpit. For all we know, it is empty. We sit for a long ass time. He finally emerges from the cockpit but says nothing.

Finally the engines start, and some air starts to move. The cabin is pressurized. The flight attendant, young guy in his late twenties, goes back to check the rear door. He leans against it and the next thing we hear is this loud bang, and thud, then from the runway below, ” Goddam !!!”.

The flight attendant had been shot to the runway when he leaned against the door which was not shut tight enough, but was tight enough to pressurize the cabin. He went out like a human cannonball. I’d say he was shot about 6 feet.

He somehow climbed back in, unhurt, but really rattled, and cranked the door tight. Still nothing from the flight deck. He’s cursing in the back of the plane, and I’m thinking, “Do I want to go through with this flight?”

The plane eventually took off and we eventually got home. I’m sure there are worse stories. But this is mine.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Buttons April 2, 2009 at 8:14 pm


That poor miserable flight attendant must have thought twice about his job on that day.

I laughed my butt off when you wrote "something, something, something yelled from the ground "Goddamn!!"..just funny.

Imagine if you had to board the plane the bus hit – probably would have been worse!

Poor guy.


Linda April 3, 2009 at 9:51 am

lol!@flight attendant


Rob April 3, 2009 at 10:23 am

How did we get from clipping the tail of an airplane to a guy with a really big wrench in the cockpit?

Was he smashing it around?

I reloaded this 17,000 times, and the same words kept appearing.

Perhaps this is why only a few people actually become writers. What happens in your head has to actually appear in front of you (paper, computer, typewriter) before the rest of us understand. What you think in your head is different from what you actually say or write.


Ryan April 5, 2009 at 9:11 pm

I love it how people have one bad experience and say they'll never buy or try or fly whatever company again. I had a problem with my Honda civic once, so of course that means ALL Honda's are crap. I had a problem with my Apple computer once, which of course means ALL Apples are crap. One time I bought a gallon of spoiled milk from Borden, so of course Borden NEVER makes fresh milk. One time at Taco Bell, they ran out of beef, which means ALL Taco Bells ALWAYS run out of beef.

Get a life you fucking moron.


Joe Mama April 9, 2009 at 5:52 am

Rob, did you not see the part where they were taken to another aircraft that was being worked on by mechanics? The words are there in black & white. Maybe you're dyslexic, but I understood it perfectly.


Anonymous April 15, 2009 at 9:16 am

True or not, this one was so funny. I loved the "human cannonball" part but I'm sorry your flight sucked


rolf April 22, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Lucky it was a small turboprop, therefore not very high above the ground. On bigger aircrafts, I doubt the flight attendant would have climbed back in. Youd probably be watching him being taken away in an ambulance.


Jimmy T June 11, 2009 at 6:55 pm

@Ryan LMAO,this is one funny ass story,that had to be one misserable FA.HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaha


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