The Washington Times - August 5, 2008, 05:05PM



By P. Jeffrey Black

Where there’s smoke –– there’s a ride down the chute.

Well maybe not always. What if it just smells like smoke but there is none visable?  Do you deploy the chutes anyway?

Apparently so.

Earlier today a plane full of passengers had some unscheduled excitement sliding down those big rubber chutes, after their plane made an emergency landing at the Los Angeles International Airport.

As reported by the Associated Press, an American Airlines aircraft hauling 188 passengers to the Hawaiian Islands for some stress-reducing rest and relaxation, had to make a u-turn back to the Airport. 

“They had some type of smoke or odor in the cabin” said an American Airline spokesperson.

Lucky for the passengers, all the fire trucks at LAX were already lined up on the runway for a dog-and-pony show which included a water cannon ceremony to welcome the new Airbus 380 that was scheduled to land about the same time.

The ceremony was abruptly cancelled.

Somebody must of thought it wouldn’t have reflected a positive public image to be shooting all the water out of the fire trucks in playful fun, while an aircraft was approaching for an emergency landing with an apparent fire on board.  Good call.

Once the plane was evacuated, the airport fire crews used high-tech thermal imaging cameras to scan the aircraft for any hotspots or active fires.  Nothing was found.

The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration will of course investigate the incident.

Maybe agents from the FBI should be brought in to investigate also, just as they were in 2006 when another aircraft had to make an emergency landing in Nashville, due to the smell of something burning.

The FBI agents solved that mystery.

It was determined the smell came from a burning match –– lit by a woman who was trying to hide the aroma of her uncontrollable flatulence.

The headlines in the papers that day read:  

Flatulence on plane sparks emergency landing

UPDATE:  Well it turns out that not only were all the fire trucks out to welcome the arrival of the Airbus 380, so were all the media cameras, who just happened to catch the entire episode of the plane evacuating on video.

You can watch the entire video of the incident here.