KLM is the worlds’ oldest airline
still flying under its original name.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines was founded in 1919. It’s first flight took place on May 17 1920. when
pilot Jerry Shaw
lew from London to Schiphol in a leased De Havilland DH-16.
Darcy keeps losing things. The first night it happens, she’s
alone in the lab.
The pack of Sour Skittles she had been absentmindedly eating
were missing. In a split second, she’d turned to grab a pen, and when her eyes
returned to the desk, they were gone. She felt the skin of her arms prickle, the
hairs raised on end slightly with static.
She removed her glasses and rubbed the bridge of her nose
where they often pinched. She concluded that either her snack had fallen into a
junk food black hole (is that how Jane
stays so skinny? she wondered), or she was working too hard. She decided on
Of course this wasn’t the ideal Friday night plans she’d
been expecting, but with yet another cancelled date (she’s never using Tinder
again, ever) and an inordinate amount
of data to process she’d resigned herself to the fact that this was her life
And, shit, it was boring. At least she could
drink the ‘secret’ tequila and lime stash Tony left not-so-subtly hidden in a
drawer with a crudely scrawled label stating: ‘Don’t Touch My Stuff, Banner’(complete
with a small doodle of a sombrero-wearing Hulk).
There were perks to being Jane’s intern, of course. She had
her own apartment on the 12th floor of the Avengers tower whilst she
was conducting research, and she was getting to spend the majority of her
downtime there. The others didn’t seem to mind her loitering presence in the
lounge area; she had an open plan policy with her Netflix password and she was
constantly baking, so feedback seemed generally positive. At one point, Clint
had even called her his “favourite of the new kids”, between mouthfuls of a
cherry bakewell slice.
“The new kids”, she soon realised were a little…odd. The
first time they’d met, Darcy was sprawled out on the sofa, knee deep in a Game
of Thrones marathon and shovelling raw cookie dough into her mouth without an
ounce of guilt. She was hungover and wearing aviator sunglasses, despite the
fact that it was 9pm and November. Thor was taking up the bulk of the adjacent
couch, with Clint perching on the arm and grumbling.
“How am I supposed to reach the popcorn when it’s all the way
over there?!” Clint gestures wildly at the Asgardian, who has a large plastic
bowl wedged between his knees.
“My friend, simply reach over and take your share,” Thor
smiles, in that jovial, puppy-like manner that seemed to frustrate the archer
at the best of times. Clint flaps his arms again in the general vicinity of the
“I’m not gonna put my hand in your damn lap! Let me hold
Darcy shh’d them
both and swipes the bowl and its buttery contents in one swift motion. Both men
glance from Thor’s lap to the bowl and then exchange exasperated glances.
“Shut up. You have to pay attention! This show is, like, so
badass and great and everyone dies!”
She edges forward in her seat and gleefully rubs her hands together.
Thor’s face drops. “I’m unsure as to why you would enjoy
that, Lady Darcy.”
In her abstraction, Darcy had failed to notice the twins’
presence in the room. She was about to geek out and regale the two Avengers
with a complete history of mega dorky Westerosi knowledge, but was cut short by
“Good afternoon, Miss Maximoff, Mr. Maximoff,” the AI
“I’ll never get used to that.” The dark-haired female
mutters, referring to the disembodied voice with a smirk. She’s all smudged
eyeliner and graceful, slender limbs like a ballet dancer.
Darcy, what an accent. Eastern
European, husky, with a hint of snark. Ticks
all the boxes!
And then she notices him. He’s just like when she saw him on
TV news reports when Sovokia was falling to pieces. Tall, toned and lean. His borderline-ridiculous
silver hair is curled, messy and falling into his eyes a little. Those eyes are
glancing awkwardly around the room when they finally settle on Darcy. He gives
her a small, tight-lipped smile and when he breaks her gaze, and she doesn’t
realize it but she continues to gawp open-mouthed at the handsomely dishevelled
“Sweet baby Jesus holy
mother of fuck” she breathes.
A chunk of cookie
dough drops off her wooden spoon and lands rather comically in her cleavage.
Clint gets up off the couch (snatching the popcorn bowl from
Darcy in one fell swoop without even looking) and shakes the hands of the
twins. This is the most time they seem to have spent inside the gaudy, somewhat
over the top Avengers tower, and both siblings appear to be a little
“Hey, kid,” Clint grins at Wanda and pinches the lapel of
her fringed red leather jacket. “Nice threads.”
“Thank you,” Wanda’s face softens a bit at his tone and an
elusive smile graces her features for a moment. Darcy has heard that she trusts
the archer the most out of all her new teammates, especially after the events
at Sovokia. I’m getting some serious
father/daughter vibes here, she thinks, Oh
Clint, what a goddamn sap.
“Pietro,” Clint greets him with super manly man’s side-hug/ cool
bro handshake combo.
“Old man,” The blonde twin replies with a good natured wink.
The archer sighs theatrically and throws his hands into the
air. He’s like 1000% done with today,
huh? Darcy chuckles to herself.
Wanda’s head whips round to Darcy who
appears to have only just realised how much of a hobo she looks and attempts to
hide her food-stained Captain America pyjamas (which are from the kids’ section
at Walmart and make Steve uncomfortable when he sees his own distorted face
stretched absurdly over Darcy’s ample chest, making him look like Sloth from
The Goonies…but a hot version, as Darcy had protested, much to Steve’s
further insistence that she must burn
“You guys know Thor, and this is Darcy. She’s always here
and we don’t know why.” Clint gestures to Darcy’s form, now half-huddled under
Wanda raises an expressive eyebrow at her brother.
“Šis viena būs jautri, ne?” she giggles darkly.
“Redzēsim, māsa.” He replies, throwing a smirk and a knowing look back at her.
What are they saying? Are they talking about me? Darcy is paranoid and immensely turned on. It’s quite a predicament. Accents are her weakness. Along with, y’know, god-like bone structure and biceps. Which Blondie definitely has.
Thor’s laugh booms across the room, he gets up to clap a large hand on Pietro’s shoulder with enthusiastic aplomb. “To what do we owe this momentous pleasure of your company this evening?” he asks.
“We are staying. Indefinitely. Stark’s orders.” Wanda says,
holding up a pair of keycards. On one, a red card key with a plastic keyring of
Elphaba from Wicked. The other, blue with Road Runner dangling from the end and
a speech bubble saying ‘Meep Meep!’. Darcy almost lets out a squeal. Tony, you hilarious bastard.
The twins have no idea why Clint and Darcy are sniggering.
They look to Thor hopefully for answers. He shrugs.
“So, like, which one of you is the evil twin?” Darcy blurts
out. Wanda scowls at the question but Pietro immediately points to her. She
punches him on the arm and he holds up his hands innocently.
“You see?” he says triumphantly folding his arms across his
chest. “Pure evil.”
The room erupts into childish sniggers once again.
The twins eventually feel comfortable enough to sit down.
Wanda slinks down onto the couch next to Darcy and both siblings stare at her
expectantly. If they weren’t both so sinfully pretty they’d almost definitely
make her nervous.
“Fine, fine. I can take a hint. I’ll move.” Darcy sighs, rolls her eyes and
shifts over towards another seat to make room for Pietro. “Lannister vibes…” she hisses at Clint before she gets up.
Her body brushes his
a little accidentally-but-totally-on-purpose as they exchange places so Pietro
can sit beside his sister. It’s like her brain starts streaming the world in slow motion when she ends up in close contact with him.
“Priekā, mīļotā” he husks lightly, and she feels the warmth of his breath in her ear for a slow, agonizing second before he flops down onto the couch and begins bickering loudly with his sister in what Darcy can only assume is Sovokian. Darcy thinks she may have just imagined that. Against her better judgement, she’s flustered. Hella flustered. Hot damn.
No-one notices her slink off, muttering about being tired and needing beauty sleep to stay looking this cute- and trying to hide the beet-red flush creeping up her neck.
When Darcy reaches her door, she feels in her pocket for her
keycard. Uh oh. This is the second time her personal belongings have evaporated before
She spends the night in the lab once again. When she wakes
up, her head is haphazardly smushed into the keyboard of her Macbook, and drool
is pooling inbetween the keys. The word document flashing in front of her sore
eyes now reads ‘In conclusion asdfghhkjlklddlfll’.
She closes the laptop with an audible groan and, to her complete
annoyance, her eyes settle on her keycard- and three Skittles.
Once the fog in her head clears and she realizes it, she
begins to laugh weakly. The only explanation that comes to mind is him. Of course, he’s messing with her.
“That sarcastic, speedy lil
Well, she thinks,
and her lips curve devilishly. Watch out,
Sonic, this means war.
I don't mean to be rude, but you do know that Marco is male in canon, right? I mean, having head canons is fine, as long as you don't force it on anyone as a fact. Thank you for reading, I hope your day had been good.
do you see me yelling at people for ‘misgendering’ marco, do you see me calling people inherently transphobic for not seeing marco as a trans girl (being an ass about it is a different story), do you see me doing much else besides cracking a few sarcastic jokes, being really enthusiastic about this interpretation, and pointing out that according to all known laws of aviation Marco does in fact qualify as A Girl in one (1) episode
They’d met when Cas had walked into the shop on accident.
Dean had looked up from the finishing touches he was putting on his last
client of the day to find a man he’d never seen before standing in the doorway. He was immediately intrigued. In a
small town like this, it wasn’t common for him to see many newcomers coming
into the shop unless they’d booked in ahead of time. It didn’t hurt that
the guy was hot. He had on pair of tight
black jeans that clung to muscular thighs and a dark blue button up with the sleeves
rolled up to the elbows, revealing unmarked skin – definitely not Dean’s usual
clientele. What caught Dean’s attention
even more was the fact that he had on a pair of aviators, despite the fact that
it had been dark outside for over an hour.
“Can I help you, man?” Dean called out as he turned back to his
The other man didn’t respond, and when he looked up a minute later, Dean saw
that his head was tilted, brow furrowed.
He stood there, seemingly just listening to the sounds of the shop
around him, for a moment before his shoulders slumped, and he heaved a sigh.
“I’m guessing this isn’t a bakery,” the guy finally said, in a
deep voice that was so not what Dean was expecting.
“Uhh, nope,” he said, focus back on the skin and ink in front of
him. “Tattoo shop.”
He was about to open his mouth again to give the guy a hard time about the
glaringly obvious signs advertising tattoos and piercings he had to have passed
on his way in, but luckily he looked back up long enough to register the long
white cane in the other man’s hand and saved himself from having to put his
foot in his mouth.
“Where were you aiming for?” he asked instead.
“Just Desserts Bakery,” came that gravelly voice. “I was told
it was the third shop from the end of this street.”
“Oh yeah, you’re looking for West 5th…this is East. It’s a pretty
common mistake around here.”
When he got nothing but silence from the front of the shop, he continued,
“Look, uh, I’m almost done here. I can show you where it is if you don’t
mind waiting a little bit.”
He heard a sigh of relief before the other man spoke, “That would be
appreciated, thank you.”
“No problem, man. There’s a sofa over to your left if you’d like
to sit or something. Just watch out for the jewelry case in front of you,
With that, Dean started in on his final bit of work for the night.
As a 20-year veteran of the A320 cockpit for a major U.S. airline, including the last 15 in the Captain’s seat, I have cringed at the utter misrepresentation of aviation facts often disseminated by news outlets and their self-proclaimed “aviation experts” endlessly paraded across the TV screen during coverage of the latest air disaster.
Coverage of the tragic crash of Germanwings 9525 has been no exception.
While today’s news suggests that the First Officer deliberately flew his A320 into the ground, until the CVR (cockpit voice recorder) was found and analyzed, worldwide news sources had faced a dearth of data to report on a major news story, and instead filled the gaps with both fantastic, and fantastically inaccurate, fluff.
By nature, as we all wait breathlessly for any morsel of breaking news regarding the fatal crash, our subconscious can’t help but race ahead, and fill the gaps between facts with speculation. In this hyperconnected age, this same speculative fill-in-the-blank occurs collectively, worldwide, via live, 24-hour news feeds such as CNN.
Worse, these very same reporters, who have zero experience with aviation, tend to let their own imaginations fly (excuse the pun.) Recent disasters saw such storied gems as CNN anchor Don Lemon’s “black hole theory” about MH370, promptly one-upped in absurdity by former DOT Inspector General Mary Shaivo’s reply that a “tiny black hole would swallow the entire universe.” Graphs depicting the plane du jour are a comic cavalcade of inaccuracies, such as a four-engine A320, or a double-decker Boeing 737. And let’s not forget such sage scrolling tidbits as, “Boeing 777 will struggle to maintain altitude once the fuel tanks are empty.”
At least, so far, no news source has come up with a Germanwings equivalent of Captain Sum Ting Wong and First Officer Wi Tu Lo.
Seriously, however—and with the deepest condolences and respects to the victims and families of the Germanwings 9525 tragedy—these endless speculations and haphazard reporting have become blackly comical at best, and wildly irresponsible at worst. Families and loved ones of those lost tend to hang on every word disseminated by the international media, and somewhere between Walter Williams and Brian Williams, we seem to have lost that sacred mantra of journalism: that the public journal is a public trust.
To be sure, some highly qualified individuals occasionally grace the TV screen with their pearls of wisdom—international A330 pilot Karlene Petitt, author of Flight to Success, comes to mind. But for every expert, there seems to be some Ya-hoo whose sole qualification is that he watched Airport ’77.
Covering all angles of a news story is one thing, but unhealthy obsession with a single aspect is another. For example, in the first 48 hours after the 9525 crash, news outlets were quick to question the design of the Airbus itself. Known for its high level of automation, this very same design philosophy has come under intense scrutiny. While somewhat justified in the aftermath of Air France 447, it is nevertheless human nature to fear the unknown and, like Stanley Kubrick’s HAL 9000 computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey, suspicion often falls first on that which is least understood.
When contacted for this piece, Karlene Petitt agreed: “Having flown the A330 around the world for six years, I will stand by the plane and fly it any time. The A330 is extremely stable, and the technology brilliant. It’s only those who don’t understand the technology, that have problems. It’s not the plane. I suppose we fear what we don’t know, but the Airbus should not be one of those fears.”
Yes, mechanical things fail. Yes, an airplane with over 1 million parts and dozens of computers will need regular maintenance. During my recent Skype interview with Qantas A380 Captain Richard De Crespigny, author of QF32 and the captain aboard Flight 32 during an inflight engine explosion, Captain De Crespigny said, “If you want to fly a high-tech airplane, there is a responsibility to understand the systems. Because when those systems fail—and they do fail—it’s up to the pilot to recover.”
Indeed, the Airbus is one of the most high-tech airliners ever built. While it was specifically designed to allow a less-experienced pilot to safely operate, it is incumbent upon every pilot to understand these systems in order to overcome any possible event. But, really, this philosophy applies to any pilot and their aircraft. Regardless of aircraft type, safety always boils down to basic stick and rudder.
OK, enough venting. Let’s set the record straight on this whole Airbus thing. While the latest evidence for Germanwings 9525 points toward pilot suicide, even if this accident did prove to be a design flaw of the Airbus itself, the safety record still ranks the A320 family (A318-A321) in the top five safest airline models of all time. Odds of dying in an A320: 1 in 792 million flights.
Lifetime odds of dying in any airplane: 1 in 11 million.
Lifetime odds of dying in a car: 1 in 77.
Ironically, during an exhaustive CNN panel discussion by aviation experts, Cockpit Confidential author Patrick Smith offered that news channels should avoid obsessive over-speculation about plane crashes. In doing so, Smith says, it exacerbates the misperception of an increasing danger in the skies. Retired American Airlines pilot Jim Tilmon agreed, going further to voice his concerns about discussing—at length and on worldwide feed—security measures in place aboard the world’s airlines.
Captain Tilmon was promptly shouted down by CNN’s “resident aviation expert” Richard Quest. While Quest won AIB’s 2014 “personality of the year,” I fail to see how this qualifies him as an aviation expert. Best I can tell, his expertise in aviation stems from his possession of a very loud and obnoxious English accent, and possession of a passenger seat on the last Concorde’s flight.
I wholeheartedly agree with Smith and Tilmon’s points, especially their concern over airline security. By their very nature, these issues are best left unearthed. By discussing these issues publicly, was airline security compromised? Perhaps not, but it seems we are treading a very hazardous line for the sole purpose of filling a few measly minutes of air time.
In this very column, in an Op Ed on MH370, airline captain Mark Berry, author of 13,760 Feet, said that speculation can be a good thing. I agree, to a point. But when speculation turns to over-speculation, when fill-in-the-speculative-blank becomes its own news story, the media—intentionally or no—begins to fill the public psyche with a false sense of insecurity. Suddenly, air travel is perceived as dangerous. Conceivably, a family planning their vacation might decide to drive instead of fly—and thus increase their risk exponentially.
And that flies square in the face of public trust.