|It was a day off from my
duties as a B-777 first officer.
I was in the library at Texas
A&M University, where I was doing graduate study.
My wife called my cell phone
from her workplace, and said that somebody had just flown an
airplane into the World Trade Center in New York City. She
didn’t say “airliner.” I told her it was probably some light
airplane pilot who made a tragic mistake.
Half an hour later, she
called back. She said it happened again.
I left the library and went
over to the student union building to watch TV. I stayed
glued to the television all day, until a graduate seminar
that night, where the professor suspended the normal
instructional routine and we discussed what happened. The
professor and I were the two oldest people in the room,
surrounded by a lot of young, impressionable, traditionally
college-age kids. I was able to answer a number of questions
about airline operations, but knew very little about
I hope we helped them make
sense of this. Ten years later, I haven’t done that for
Captain Dave Nelson, Continental