Friday, February 28, 2003

Fowler, Fowler, Strunk, White, Turabian, et al.:

Call me a grammar Nazi, but wouldn't it worry you if your pilot said:

"...umm, ladies and gentlemen, we will be landing momentarily." ?

I can understand trains and subways stopping momentarily, but airplanes landing?

In my younger days I took up flying, and I distinctly remember my first flight as a licensed pilot, taking up my nervous parents. Now my father had been a fighter pilot in the RAF, so I was also somewhat nervous, knowing that I would never be able to equal his gracefulness in a Spitfire with my pitifully under-powered Cessna 152.

I came as close to a momentary landing as you can. It's called porpoising. Imagine a spastic, frantic, bucking airplane progressing down the landing strip in a series of violent crashes with the ground, followed by graceful arcs in the air.

That was me, momentarily seeing the end of my days.