Statistically speaking I should have been killed in a plane crash, long before my ticker started its regular attempts to finish me off.
My closest call came early in 2002 courtesy of the RJ100 as pictured above coming into London Gatwick Airport late one night. The winds were so bad that the plane tipped over I glanced out of the corner of my eye to see the wing tip heading perilously close to the tarmac. The bloke sat next to me started praying -aloud. The plane righted itself. Thankfully this flight was endowed with an especially skilful complement of staff on that night and what could have so easily happened did not happen and everyone was safe. If I remember correctly my underwear turned brown but there was nothing else of note! My friends and colleagues who were travelling with me were fine and we went to a pub near the Airport for a few more “shandies” after landing.
Getting back to the start. After nearly 1200 flights in 17 years there was only this one incident. Maybe it was just good fortune that there was only this one incident.
Why am spouting on about this. Well, I actually like the Avro RJ100 jet. I will tell you one important thing. I always felt safer on one of these than any Boeing or Airbus plane. Which might explain why nothing happened on the above incident. Everything felt so much more together. It wasn’t just the flight deck that night. The plane was having none of it either. It was bringing its people home safe and sound regardless.
The Simply Flying website reports to me that the numbers of these planes are dwindling. Most are now over 20 years old. This is a shame because they are good aircraft. I notched up about 300 flights on these and apart from punctuality for which I blame the airlines and air traffic control they never once let me down. The flight deck crew and the cabin crew were always top notch too. One of these was used as the BA8087 party bus on Friday nights and served everyone who was relaxing with a few drinks with me on the journey home from Dublin rather well.
Simply Flying calls these planes “unorthodox regional jets”. I say bloody good commuter jet! It is a shame that these jets will disappear from the radar over time and probably sooner rather later. Parts I suppose will become harder to come by and the cost of repair climb to uneconomic levels. This will sound the death knell no doubt. It is a double shame as people now will be increasingly denied the luxury and top option of this well screwed together safe and very capable jet.
I still miss seats 10D if travelling business class or 18D if travelling economy. I still miss the Friday night runs back from Dublin with the lads. More importantly I miss that plane. I have a lot of respect for these aircraft, even now. A very faithful servant who will never be forgotten here.