Flying in and out of Unalaska causes much angst. Mountains. Bering Sea. Birthplace of the winds. 3905 foot runway. Grown men crying. Grown men who fish out in the dangerous Bering Sea crying. You get the picture. Everyone has a story…or 20 stories to tell of incredible flights in or out of “Dutch”. The sad issue is that it is just as angst-ridden for those on the ground waiting for loved ones to depart or land. You either have to be really hard up for money (60%) or love it like you’ve never loved a place before (25%), or be totally indifferent to your environment (15%) to live here and suffer the angst.
Case in point. SP’s Mom flew out yesterday. At our little airport there were 5 Saabs on the ground, a KingAir, and 2 Dash8s. That’s a lot of propellers. Jockeying for position on icy ramps. All completely safe…except in the eyes of an 11 year old boy seeing his mother off. There was a stiff little breeze, probably 15-20 knots out of the northwest. Visibility was great when we got there. Then, the airline, for whatever reason, decided that the passenger plane, which was set to depart at 10:00 am, was not as important as all of the freighters. So we waited. And waited. By the time SP’s mom got on the plane ( which was about as far away from the terminal as was possible without being off the tarmac), this is what had happened to the weather.
As you can see, you can’t even see the end of the runway. So, even though SP and I had to get home to finish making macaroni salad for a potluck we were to attend at noon, we waited. He just didn’t want to leave his mom in the hands of the ‘idiots’, I believe was his phrase. (Angst causes you to think badly of people and to blame them for things that are not in their control, lol.)
Then when the weather started to lighten and brighten up, they decided to de-ice the plane, even though not a single one of the other 5 planes that had just taken off within the past 1/2 hour had been de-iced. And they couldn’t get the de-icing machine to start. At 11:22, having been at the airport for 2 hours, SP and I decided we could wait no longer. We had to get that salad made. We reluctantly departed the airport without having witnessed the plane taking off safely. This is just not something we EVER do. Thank goodness the crazy, hilarious, mad-cap antics of getting the salad finished took away our angst.