Author Topic: A Delta pilot left a note behind last March  (Read 74 times)

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Offline DaveW

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A Delta pilot left a note behind last March
« on: Wed Jun 16, 2021 - 06:05:01 »
435 days later, another pilot found the 'pandemic time capsule.'

The scene in the desert was "chilling, apocalyptic, surreal" as Delta pilot Chris Dennis arrived to drop off a plane for storage at Southern California Logistics Airport in 2020.

It was March 23, less than two weeks since the fast-spreading coronavirus had been declared a pandemic. Passenger numbers were spiraling. Airlines were slashing flights and laying up their unused planes.

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In a Facebook post at the time, Dennis shared photos of what he saw at the airport in Victorville, Calif.: Long rows of Delta and Southwest jets parked on the runways under a cloudy sky. In one, a somber Dennis appeared in the foreground.

"It's hard to fathom how many aircraft Delta has until you see that many of them parked in one place," he said later in a Delta news release. "When we got in line, it looked like an optical illusion. It just kept going and going. I don't know how to describe it - it was shocking." ‚Äč

The final picture in the Facebook post was of a note penned by Dennis, a first officer, to an unknown eventual audience. Delta called it a "pandemic time capsule" that waited out the past 15 months behind a tray table in the cockpit.

"Hey pilots, it's March 23rd and we just arrived from [Minneapolis-St. Paul]," the note reads. "Very chilling to see so much of our fleet here in the desert. If you are here to pick it up then the light must be at the end of the tunnel. Amazing how fast it changed. Have a safe flight bringing it out of storage!"

He expected the plane to stay out there for a couple of weeks, Delta later said. In the end, things didn't change all that fast: It took 435 days for the next pilots to come back for the plane known as 3009 on June 1.

In the meantime, the jet did have some purpose: More than 120 of its parts were used for other aircraft while it was parked in Victorville. Delta said it's common for planes in long-term storage to be used for parts.