Dogs & Airplanes

The last few days here in Linyi have been rainy and gray. This is the kind of weather I expect in winter, so it is not altogether unwelcome. I’m just glad that our trip to Mt. Tai coincided with blue skies. Anyway, although the skies are overcast today, our students were able to fly. Flying here has been a little hit and miss over the last month. The closer we get to winter, the greater the chance for low visibility. Fall is the best time for flying, but the number of clear days are slowly dwindling.

There are other challenges here that limit flying, and I’ve been meaning to post about those. I had some setbacks because of my grad school classes, however, and couldn’t spend a lot of time writing blog posts. Today I will share something that maybe can’t be considered a challenge, but is something unexpected, nevertheless.

One of today’s flights was delayed slightly due to a “runway incursion.” Not that an aircraft was at risk of colliding with another aircraft or vehicle, but rather a dog had wandered too close to the runway. Wildlife are often a problem at big airports, especially birds. A bird strike can damage airplane surfaces and engines. At many airports, loud noises are used to scare birds away. At others, poison is used to deal with them. I’ve even heard of some airports that employ trained hawks to keep birds away. A friend of ours who flies in Africa sometimes has to deal with elephants and giraffe wandering onto the runway. I’m really not sure what the procedure is for a dog, but today we felt sure someone would just try to scare the poor thing away.

Instead, someone was dispatched to “take care” of the dog. With a shotgun.

I guess the moral to this story is dog may be man’s best friend, but man is not always dog’s best friend. Dogs and airplanes don’t mix at our local airport.

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