September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Story:I was flying a DC 10 cargo aircraft between Memphis and Campinas, Brazil when we received a radio phone patch from our Company. I was notified that upon arrival in Brazil we would be met by armed guards and escorted to our hotels, and that the aircraft would be placed under 24 hour armed surveillance. This information came completely out of the blue as we had no idea what had just happened in New York. Since we were south of Cuba but north of the South American coastline, we were not subject to recall as other aircraft were. I asked my Company if they could provide more information to us, and they responded "no." We searched our aircraft for anything out of the ordinary and finding nothing, made one more inquiry for additional information. It was then that we learned that all civil aircraft had been ordered to land in the USA. We speculated that a nuclear accident or incident may have occurred, or that an attack on the USA may have occurred. We later spoke to a small twin-engine aircraft, over the Amazon River, that was a US registered aircraft, based on his call sign. The pilot relayed to us what had happened earlier at the World Trade Center. He had watched CNN and had all the information to relay to us. Needless to say, after landing in Brazil we got the "rest of the story" and remained there for several days, until the flight restrictions in the USA were lifted. My crew and I watched the subsequent events and aftermath unfold on BBC. We also had access to CNN but the picture quality was better on BBC. We eventually migrated back to CNN because the news source was from the USA and we wanted to share the perspective from an American point of view.
Memory:The momentary uncertainty of exactly what had happened, and what our crew's responsibility was to be totally aware of our surroundings and what we should be prepared to do if any situations arose. Not knowing exactly what had happened, our first concerns were for our families on the ground, back in the USA.
Affects:I told my crew upon landing in Brazil that aviation, as we knew it, had changed forever. I feel that was one of my more accurate observations, the ramifications of which are still unfolding. I was and am proud of my fellow Americans, worldwide, who have united to change the course of civilization and to eradicate, inasmuch as possible, evil-motivated people.