On September 11, 2001, I was in the St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee, Minn., recovering from a hernia operation. I was watching the news and first heard the story of “a small plane,” and was still tuned in as the TV showed the second plane, obviously not “a small plane,” complete its attack. It was a sickening thing to see and perhaps because of my naivety, I did not immediately think of terrorism. I called my son (a Northwest pilot), my best friend (a United pilot), and then my wife. It was a horrible day that was almost beyond belief.

The scary thought is how many more of the terrorists there were, or might have been, whose planes did not get off the ground before the “ground stop” took effect. Could it be, as many have speculated, that the four planes used in the attack were just a fraction of those that would have been used had the traffic not been immediately stopped?

Captain Martin Coddington, ALPA Engineering and Air Safety Department