Tom glanced at Karlson again. There was no apparent reaction. This flight was going to be truly painful. Maybe if he just ignored him and only spoke when essential, it wouldn’t be so bad. He reminded himself, focus on safety; focus as if he was the only person in the cockpit.
That thought was interrupted by the Traffic Collision Avoidance System, “Traffic, Traffic,” followed almost immediately by the more urgent “Climb, Climb.”
Tom glanced to where the plane should have been. “Fuck! The bastard’s turned towards us, climb!”
Karlson kept looking ahead, with no apparent reaction. Tom felt the beginnings of panic, as he yelled, “I have the aircraft,” grabbing and pulling back on the controls.
The TCAS became more strident “Increase Climb, Increase Climb.”
Karlson broke from his daze, pushing back on the controls, against Tom’s input.
Tom yelled, an almost scream, “I have the aircraft, release your controls, I have the aircraft! Climbing to avoid!” as he reached and increased power.
ow hadThe TCAS repeated, “Increase Climb, Increase Climb.”
Finally seeming to realize the urgency, Karlson lifted his hands from the controls, and the column pulled back. “You have the aircraft.”
Tom eased the pressure, watching his instruments to avoid pulling the plane into a stall. Looking out the front window on Karlson’s side, he caught a glimpse of the aircraft, far too close crossing at right angles, certain to collide, a sick feeling overtaking him. They were dead. Keep trying! “Go around power!”
Karlson reacted instantly, pushing the throttles to the stops. “Go around power. Oh God!” He was now leaning forward, staring at the other plane, blocking Tom’s view, seemingly mesmerized by their approaching doom. “Oh God!”
The TCAS continued its demand, “Increase climb, increase climb.”
As the power increased, Tom kept pulling back at the limit of stall, waiting for the inevitable. Would their death be instant, or would the plane plummet from the sky, with them alive until the end? In what he expected would be his last act, he flicked the radio “Burbank Tower, ECA651, TCAS instruction climbing sharply!”
The plane rocked slightly; then nothing, the TCAS was silent for a moment, then “Clear Of Conflict,” only the increasing scream of the engines.
Tom struggled to comprehend. How were they still alive?