to Bill's story >>>
were flying into this blackness, riven with sheets of white as
the rain pounded into the windscreen at three hundred miles an
Heine: Weekdays 4-7pm, BBC Oxford 95.2FM
I was a student I used to hitchhike. On aeroplanes. I know - You
could do a lot of things then that you can't do now. I gave my
details to the staff at the private jet lounge at Gatwick during
the Easter hols from Oxford and they asked the pilots to take
pity on this poor American student and take him to Greece.
got a flight to Geneva immediately but them I got stuck for two
days and only escaped camping out at the airport when the air
traffic controller let me sleep on his floor. Finally, about eight
o'clock in the evening, after twenty two cups of coffee, a man
came over and told me that he was flying his Lear jet to Tehran,
and he had to re-fuel in Corfu and would I like a lift, literally.
I was delighted- the only problem was he couldn't leave straight
away. He had to go home to collect his passport and money.
I waited and waited - thinking "Oh no- I've been stood up
- I'll never get out of Geneva" until many hours later, and
well after he said he would, my saviour appeared and I climbed
into the co-pilot's seat of the plane and we disappeared into
yes, there's always a however in fairy tales, a storm screeched
around us and we were flying into this blackness, riven with sheets
of white as the rain pounded into the windscreen at three hundred
miles an hour. It occurred to me that if anything happened to
the pilot at this point there wouldn't be a thing I could do.
I think it was at this time I discovered my fear of flying.
he told me that Corfu airport had to be one of the most precarious
airports in the world - spiky mountains rising up like flames
from hell on either side of the runway. When we came into land
we couldn't make contact with the ground control tower and when
eventually we got through at four in the morning, we discovered
he did not speak English, so a nearby plane swishing in the storm
acted as a translator.
circled the island and the pilot decided to make a dive for the
airport. It was bumpy, wobbly and I realised maybe I should have
checked the pilot's licence.
Suddenly he pulled up "What's wrong?" I asked. "Did
you overshoot the runway? "Yep"
made another attempt and this time when we edged down I could
vaguely make out the mountains, fortunately to the side of our
path. It was all over in about three minutes. When we touched
down I staggered out of the plane, collapsed in a heap and kissed
the tarmac..and almost put paid to me hitchhiking on planes for
Peer 's personal story >>>
Cox's personal story >>
to Inside Lives >>>