Friday, September 10, 2010

Pic)k) of the week 36: A tribute to Doug and Matthew!

Exactly one week ago you guys started work in the late afternoon of Friday September 3rd at the North side of Dubai International airport. The plan was to take a Boeing 747-400 on a +six hours cargo flight to Cologne, Germany. I'm sure you were both looking forward to leave the hot and humid Dubai behind you and head off to much cooler central Europe! The sun was setting while you were preparing the flight-deck of UPS 6. It was a nice evening and It looked like another uneventful flight was about to unfold. 

Pic(k) of the week: A tribute to Doug and Mathew

What a great job all us pilots have!? 

Trying to catch up with the setting sun, the view during the climb was great. But then... all hell broke loose! What exactly happened we're still guessing for. One thing is clear; getting your 4 engined +300 ton airliner back to mother earth wasn't easy. With a flightdeck filled with dense smoke you couldn't see your instruments nor see outside. The panic in your voices while trying to get the bird back to Dubai said enough. We pilots, all know at least one other pilot who heard you on the emergency frequency... 

Ironically, I was reading flight safety reports on my iPad when I heard you guys coming overhead my home at Dubai Silicon Oasis. A villa compound housing about 500 pilots. We are used to seeing aircraft which come overhead at a few thousand feet, but nothing like this. I stormed outside the front door, just in time to see you guys flying away at a scary low altitude of about 200 to 300 feet. Oh boy, you were flying low! I immediately realized something was seriously wrong! Only a few seconds later the end was near. A huge fireball which we only see in movies! 

We might never find out if you boys avoided our housing complex and the surrounding high rises on purpose or whether you were by now unconscious. I kind of hope for the latter. What is obvious is that an even bigger disaster had just been avoided. It was only the following day that we learned that your mighty jumbo crashed inside an army camp and destroyed part of the buildings that happened to be empty because it was a Friday! (Friday equals Sunday in the Gulf).

Lets hope that the final investigation report will answer some of our questions and that lessons will be learned! May you both Rest in Peace!

a fellow Aviator and Photographer,

PS: A few days ago, I operated a flight from Jeddah to Dubai. As we passed through  Bahraini airspace, we passed an opposite traffic, "UPS 6" from Dubai to Cologne. We landed in Dubai at 1945. Exactly the time when your watches stopped working forever! A very strange feeling... The idea of a tribute post was born. Even though this is not a Aviation blog, I do hope this post is found appropriate for the dramatic circumstances of last week. September 3rd is now engraved in my memory forever! To all family members or friends of Doug and Matthew reading this, my sincere condolences! 


VELL said...

You are really great person Mr.Bjorn. everybody including me heard about this accident and forgot that after an hour. this is the first time i am seeing someone is really worrying for it. Salute to you...

Velu. Abu dhabi

Anonymous said...

Those are beautiful words...thanks, I really enjoyed reading it.

A fellow resident from DSO.

May both UPS pilots rest in peace.


Anonymous said...

It was indeed a sad day for all off us to see two comrades pass away in such a tragic accident. I and am sure all off us hope they passed a way in peace knowing they avoided a further major tragedy.
Our condolences to Doug & Matthew families and there children.

Thanks for the words Bjorn.

Rest in peace.

Peter @ Jee

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bjorn,

This tribute is an amazing idea.

To Doug and Matthew, my prayers and prayers of many others are with you both. You two are truely hero's. Your quick decision saved the lives of many pilot's and their families. Thanks for steering your jumbo aways from DSO and saving so many of us. Our thoughts are with your families and the loved ones you left behind. We will never forget, and we will always remember. Avi

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written Bjorn.. To the wives of those two brave pilots, my heart goes out to you and your families.. I know first hand that it is not easy being a wife or partner to a pilot knowing that that kiss at the door before he leaves for work could be the last.. My deepest condolences - from an aviator's wife to another.. and to our heroes, RIP

Anonymous said...

Een tragisch ongeval door jou prachtig verwoordt !
Doug en Matthew waren helden en verdienen een voetstuk. Rust in vrede en veel sterkte voor de familie.

pa en ma

Anonymous said...

very touching captain.
condolences to the families and prayers for Doug and Matthew.