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The Engine Blowout of a Delta Flight to Cleveland

"It felt like the plane was going down, and below us were mountains. And then it got worse." - Joe Rexrode

jetliner cockpit.jpg

A loud screech. The smell of burning oil. Concerned flight attendants clutching emergency manuals.

When something bad happens during a flight - anything, really, from a minor mishap to a major malfunction - it's a reminder that we haven't completely conquered the skies. Everyone knows, at least subconsciously, that air travel isn't 100 percent safe. Sometimes things go poorly.

Passengers on a recent Delta flight to Cleveland know that all too well.

"I just knew there was something wrong with the engine," one passenger said, as reported. "That's all I knew."

This Delta flight counted as a major malfunction - an engine blowout from what the pilot believed was oil trouble, followed by an emergency landing in Knoxville. Joe Rexrode, a sports columnist, was on the flight, and despite what he believed was "certain death," Rexrode and every other passenger and crewmember made it down safely (although emotionally rattled).

"Once in the terminal," Rexrode wrote, "I sat down for a moment and cried."

All this said, flying is still statistically safer than driving. (Say that, though, to the passengers, and you're not likely to get a sympathetic response.) 

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