The following incident took place in 1968 on an airliner bound for New York. It started out routine and uneventful. Descending to the destination, the pilot realized the landing gear would not engage. He worked the controls back and forth, trying again and again to make the gear lock down into place. No success. He then asked the control tower for instructions as he circled the landing field. Responding to the crisis, airport personnel sprayed the runway with foam as fire trucks and other emergency vehicles moved into position. Disaster was only minutes away.
The passengers, meanwhile, were told of each maneuver in that calm, cheery voice pilots manage to use at times like this. Flight attendants glided about the cabin with an air of cool reserve. Passengers were told to place their heads between their knees and grab their ankles just before impact. It was one of those I-can’t- believe-this-is-happening-to-me experiences. There were tears and a few screams of despair. The landing was now seconds away. Suddenly the pilot announced over the intercom: "We are beginning our final descent. At this moment, in accordance with International Aviation Codes established at Geneva, it is my obligation to inform you that if you believe in God you should commence prayer."
I’m happy to report that the belly landing occurred without a hitch. No one was injured though the plane suffered so rather extensive damage.
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