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ADDIS ABABA—Ethiopian Airlines is dispatching its first-ever flight operated by an all-female crew. The flight was scheduled to depart for Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday night. The airline says it wants to promote women’s empowerment and encourage more African girls to pursue aviation careers.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said attracting more women to aviation jobs is one of the reasons for hosting the female flight, together with empowering women.

“It’s going to be very inspiring for all the women all over the world, aviation women and particularly the African woman. Because, as you know, here in the continent of Africa, we are lagging behind in women empowerment. So this is going to inspire all the school girls in Africa that they have a very bright future in the 21st century,” Gebremariam said.

The flight is being handled by women in every aspect – from planning, to aircraft maintenance, and from the pilots to air traffic controllers. Even upon arrival in Bangkok, all customs and immigration officers will be female.

Ethiopian Airlines says about one third of its employees are women. But the number is smaller when it comes to positions such as pilots and technicians.

Illusions in the Cosmic Clouds: Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon where people see recognizable shapes in clouds, rock formations, or otherwise unrelated objects or data. There are many examples of this phenomenon on Earth and in space.

When an image from NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory of PSR B1509-58 a spinning neutron star surrounded by a cloud of energetic particles was released in 2009, it quickly gained attention because many saw a hand-like structure in the X-ray emission.

In a new image of the system, X-rays from Chandra in gold are seen along with infrared data from NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer telescope in red, green and blue. Pareidolia may strike again as some people report seeing a shape of a face in WISEs infrared data. What do you see?

NASAs Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, also took a picture of the neutron star nebula in 2014, using higher-energy X-rays than Chandra.

PSR B1509-58 is about 17,000 light-years from Earth.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the WISE mission for NASA. NASAs Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandras science and flight operations.

Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Flying With Fuel From Plants: The Eco-friendly Way to Go

We eat them. We make medicines out of them. Now we’re learning how to use plants as airplane fuel that helps the environment.

Using biofuels to help power jet engines reduces particle emissions in their exhaust by as much as 50 to 70 percent, according to a new study that bodes well for airline economics and Earth’s atmosphere.

All of the aircraft, researchers and flight operations people who made ACCESS II happen. Credits: NASA/Tom Tschida

The findings are the result of a cooperative international research program led by NASA and involving agencies from Germany and Canada, and are detailed in a study published in the journal Nature.

The view from inside NASA’s HU-25C Guardian sampling aircraft from very close behind the DC-8. Credits: NASA/SSAI Edward Winstead

Our flight tests collected information about the effects of alternative fuels on engine performance, emissions and aircraft-generated contrails – essentially, human-made clouds - at altitudes flown by commercial airliners. 

The DC-8’s four engines burned either JP-8 jet fuel or a 50-50 blend of JP-8 and renewable alternative fuel of hydro processed esters and fatty acids produced from camelina plant oil. Credits: NASA/SSAI Edward Winstead

Contrails are produced by hot aircraft engine exhaust mixing with the cold air that is typical at cruise altitudes several miles above Earth’s surface, and are composed primarily of water in the form of ice crystals.

Matt Berry (left), a flight operations engineer at our Armstrong Flight Research Center, reviews the flight plan with Principal Investigator Bruce Anderson. Credits: NASA/Tom Tschida

Researchers are interested in contrails because they create clouds that would not normally form in the atmosphere, and are believed to influence Earth’s environment. 

The alternative fuels tested reduced those emissions. That’s important because contrails have a larger impact on Earth’s atmosphere than all the aviation-related carbon dioxide emissions since the first powered flight by the Wright Brothers.

This photo, taken May 14, 2014, is from the CT-133 aircraft of research partner National Research Council of Canada. It shows the NASA HU-25C Guardian aircraft flying 250 meters behind NASA’s DC-8 aircraft before it descends into the DC-8’s exhaust plumes to sample ice particles and engine emissions. Credit: National Research Council of Canada

Researchers plan on continuing these studies to understand the benefits of replacing current fuels in aircraft with biofuels. 

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So I want to talk about this scene:

Specifically, I want to talk about Finn’s motivation here, because I’ve been reading a lot of meta on the subject and it seems, according to fandom, he’s either a selfish coward who only needs Poe for his piloting skills, or he’s an altruistic hero who rescues Poe out of the goodness of his heart and then feigns selfishness so that Poe won't… I don’t know, think highly of him? Anyway, this bothers me, because either way it reduces a somewhat pivotal scene (in terms of character development, not to mention plot) to a simplistic black or white answer (no pun intended, though I am still side-eyeing huge swaths of this fandom) and that… just won’t do.

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This is an image of Ol’ Tomcat No. 3, with Grumman’s Chief Test Pilot, Chuck Sewell, at the controls. 

During aircraft testing, several test flights were flown with the right wing locked in the forward position of 20 degrees, and the left wing at 35, 50, 60 and 68 degrees of sweep in flight. 

Amazingly, it was discovered that in the event of an operational in-flight malfunction, the Tomcat would remain controllable enough for carrier landing in this configuration.

Space Missions Come Together in Colorado

Our leadership hit the road to visit our commercial partners Lockheed Martin, Sierra Nevada Corp. and Ball Aerospace in Colorado. They were able to check the status of flight hardware, mission operations and even test virtual reality simulations that help these companies build spacecraft parts.

Let’s take a look at all the cool technology they got to see…

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor building our Orion crew vehicle, the only spacecraft designed to take humans into deep space farther than they’ve ever gone before.

Acting NASA Deputy Administrator Lesa Roe and Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot are seen inside the CHIL…the Collaborative Human Immersive Laboratory at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton, Colo. Lockheed Martin’s CHIL enables collaboration between spacecraft design and manufacturing teams before physically producing hardware.

Cool shades! The ability to visualize engineering designs in virtual reality offers tremendous savings in time and money compared to using physical prototypes. Technicians can practice how to assemble and install components, the shop floor can validate tooling and work platform designs, and engineers can visualize performance characteristics like thermal, stress and aerodynamics, just like they are looking at the real thing.

This heat shield, which was used as a test article for the Mars Curiosity Rover, will now be used as the flight heat shield for the Mars 2020 rover mission.

Fun fact: Lockheed Martin has built every Mars heat shield and aeroshell for us since the Viking missions in 1976.

Here you can see Lockheed Martin’s Mission Support Area. Engineers in this room support six of our robotic planetary spacecraft: Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, MAVEN, Juno, OSIRIS-REx and Spitzer, which recently revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star, TRAPPIST-1. They work with NASA centers and the mission science teams to develop and send commands and monitor the health of the spacecraft.

See all the pictures from the Lockheed Martin visit HERE

Sierra Nevada Corporation

Next, Lightfoot and Roe went to Sierra Nevada Corporation in Louisville, Colo. to get an update about its Dream Chaser vehicle. This spacecraft will take cargo to and from the International Space Station as part of our commercial cargo program.

Here, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Vice President of Space Exploration Systems Steve Lindsey (who is also a former test pilot and astronaut!) speaks with Lightfoot and Roe about the Dream Chaser Space System simulator.

Lightfoot climbed inside the Dream Chaser simulator where he “flew” the crew version of the spacecraft to a safe landing. This mock-up facility enables approach-and-landing simulations as well as other real-life situations. 

See all the images from the Sierra Nevada visit HERE.

Ball Aerospace

Lightfoot and Roe went over to Ball Aerospace to tour its facility. Ball is another one of our commercial aerospace partners and helps builds instruments that are on NASA spacecraft throughout the universe, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the New Horizons mission to Pluto. Ball designed and built the advanced optical technology and lightweight mirror system that will enable the James Webb Space Telescope to look 13.5 billion years back in time. 

Looking into the clean room at Ball Aerospace’s facility in Boulder, Colo., the team can see the Ozone Mapping Profiler Suite. These sensors are used on spacecraft to track ozone measurements.

Here, the group stands in front of a thermal vacuum chamber used to test satellite optics. The Operation Land Imager-2 is being built for Landsat 9, a collaboration between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey that will continue the Landsat Program’s 40-year data record monitoring the Earth’s landscapes from space.

See all the pictures from the Ball Aerospace visit HERE

We recently marked a decade since a new era began in commercial spaceflight development for low-Earth orbit transportation. We inked agreements in 2006 to develop rockets and spacecraft capable of carrying cargo such as experiments and supplies to and from the International Space Station. Learn more about commercial space HERE.

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The World’s worst mid-air collisions

While you’d imagine that with an almost limitless sky, collisions between aircraft should be almost impossible, the reality is that nothing is shorter than a straight line, and as such the skies are filled with a sort of invisible highways, pre-established flight paths between airports that all aircraft have to follow to get from point A to B in the most efficient, quick manner, this is why the following accidents managed to take place:

Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision

On 12 November 1996 over the village of Charkhi Dadri, to the west of New Delhi, India, two commercial aircraft, Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 763, a
Boeing 747-100B, and Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907, a Ilyushin Il-76TD, collided in the approach path of Delhi’s airport, a narrow flight path used to both departures and arrivals, where a combination of pilot error on behalf of the Kazakh aircraft, lack of a modern radar in Delhi, and the airports extremely congested approach path lead to the loss of 349 people on board both planes, becoming the third deadliest aviation accident in history. 

Dniprodzerzhynsk mid-air collision

On 11 August 1979 over Ukraine, near the city formerly named Dniprodzerzhynsk, two Tupolev Tu-134A’s on scheduled domestic passenger flights, and both operated by Aeroflot, Aeroflot 65816 and Aeroflot 65735, collided while on cruise flight after an overworked and understaffed air traffic control made a series of communication and direction mistakes, ultimately culminating in a break down of communication and the subsequent crash, killing all 178 people on board both airliners.

Zagreb mid-air collision

On 10 September 1976, British Airways Flight 476, a Hawker Siddeley Trident, collided mid-air near Zagreb, Yugoslavia (now Croatia), with Inex-Adria Aviopromet Flight 550, a Douglas DC-9. The collision was the result of a procedural error on the part of Zagreb air traffic controllers, a combination of bad coordination and use of improper radio language, leading to the loss of all 176 people on board both planes. 

All Nippon Airways Flight 58


On 30 July 1971, a Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Mitsubishi F-86F Sabre fighter jet collided with an All Nippon Airways Boeing 727-200 airliner, causing both aircraft to crash. All 162 occupants of the airliner were killed, while the Sabre pilot, a trainee with the JASDF, ejected before the collision and survived. The crash occurred after the fighter pilot, Technical Sergeant Yoshimi Ichikawa , which was practicing air combat maneuvers with his instructor in another Sabre, failed to monitor the air traffic around him, until his instructor realized the impending collision and ordered him to break away from the airliner, an order that came too late. 

Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 1103

On 22 December 1992, a Libyan Arab Airlines Boeing 727-200 took off from Benina International Airport near Benghazi on a domestic flight to Tripoli International Airport. At an altitude of 3,500 ft (1,067 m) during the aircraft’s approach to Tripoli airport, the aircraft disintegrated after allegely colliding with a Libyan Air Force’s MiG-23, resulting in the death of all 157 passengers and crew on the airliner, while the 2-man crew of the MiG ejected. 

This one, while still being classified as a mid-air collision, but after the fall of Gaddafi, the military pilot involved claims the airliner was ordered shot down by Gaddafi himself, in an attempt to show the west the consequences of the embargo imposed on Libya after the bombing of Pan Am flight 103.

Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907

On 29 September 2006, a Gol Transportes Aeréos Boeing 737-800 collided in midair with an Embraer Legacy 600 business jet over the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. All 154 passengers and crew aboard the Boeing 737 died when the aircraft broke up in midair and crashed into an area of dense jungle, while the Embraer Legacy, despite sustaining serious damage to its left wing and tail, landed safely with its seven occupants uninjured. The accident was caused by errors committed both by air traffic controllers, further compounded by lack of radar coverage over the area of collision, and by the American pilots on the delivery flight of the Embraer Legacy, whom failed to turn on their anti-collision system or TCAS, being unfamiliar with their brand-new aircraft. 

Your fave is problematic: ESA
  • ESA (European space agency… or if you’re like, fancy, in French, fancy in French, French fanciness, Agence spatiale européenne) is an organization in which multiple countries are engaged in, dedicated to exploring space
  • these hennies do things like: human space flight, launching and operation unmanned missions, Earth observation, science and telecommunication and like, other stuff, ya kno
  • unlike NASA, ESA has 22 member countries, talk about collaboration yo
    • there’s even a treaty among the countries: ESA’s purpose shall be to provide for, and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems
    • I may or may not be tearing up a little
  • because they’re like, so nice, they let Canada play with them too, so Canada (CSA) is an associated member of the ESA
  • ESA has a couple of dope-ass launch vehicles
    • Ariane 5: (yes, that’s the most German name ever) this gurl has been in use for 20 years! she’s been super successful, after an initial failed launch, she’s been transporting satellites into space for 71 successful starts in a row!
    • Soyuz: now, I kno, when you hear Soyuz, you think Russia, but hear me out: Roscosmos and ESA have an agreement in which Russia builds parts for the Soyuz launch vehicle and it gets assembled in French Guiana. Russia gets access to a good launch site for their launches, and ESA gets access to the very safe Soyuz launcher in exchange. [insert handshaking stock photo meme here]
  • Notable ESA missions that will blast your balls off:
    • Planck spacecraft: a cosmology mission that mapped the cosmic microwave background and essentially delivered amazing evidence for the age of the universe and cosmic inflation
    • Rosetta: ESA successfully landed on a COMET for the first time ever, telling us about the composition of comets. the spacecraft traveled 9 years to get there and yet they managed to land and signals. fuckin amazing
    • Huygens: ESA successfully landed a probe on Saturns moon, Titan.  This was the first and only landing ever accomplished in the outer Solar System! 
  • summary: neutral good organization, doesn’t know how to celebrate really but that’s how Europeans are, 12/10, would launch my satellite with them 

Sailors conduct flight operations aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in the western Pacific. The U.S. Navy has patrolled the Indo-Asia-Pacific routinely for more than 70 years promoting regional peace and security. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Rebecca Sunderland/Released)

An E-2C Hawkeye assigned to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 124 lands aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) during flight operations. George H.W. Bush is conducting training in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Michael Smevog/Released)

Observatories Combine to Crack Open the Crab Nebula

Astronomers have produced a highly detailed image of the Crab Nebula, by combining data from telescopes spanning nearly the entire breadth of the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves seen by the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to the powerful X-ray glow as seen by the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory. And, in between that range of wavelengths, the Hubble Space Telescope’s crisp visible-light view, and the infrared perspective of the Spitzer Space Telescope.

The Crab Nebula, the result of a bright supernova explosion seen by Chinese and other astronomers in the year 1054, is 6,500 light-years from Earth. At its center is a super-dense neutron star, rotating once every 33 milliseconds, shooting out rotating lighthouse-like beams of radio waves and light – a pulsar (the bright dot at image center). The nebula’s intricate shape is caused by a complex interplay of the pulsar, a fast-moving wind of particles coming from the pulsar, and material originally ejected by the supernova explosion and by the star itself before the explosion.

This image combines data from five different telescopes: the VLA (radio) in red; Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared) in yellow; Hubble Space Telescope (visible) in green; XMM-Newton (ultraviolet) in blue; and Chandra X-ray Observatory (X-ray) in purple.

The new VLA, Hubble, and Chandra observations all were made at nearly the same time in November of 2012. A team of scientists led by Gloria Dubner of the Institute of Astronomy and Physics (IAFE), the National Council of Scientific Research (CONICET), and the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina then made a thorough analysis of the newly revealed details in a quest to gain new insights into the complex physics of the object. They are reporting their findings in the Astrophysical Journal.

“Comparing these new images, made at different wavelengths, is providing us with a wealth of new detail about the Crab Nebula. Though the Crab has been studied extensively for years, we still have much to learn about it,” Dubner said.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra’s science and flight operations.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

IMAGE….In the summer of the year 1054 AD, Chinese astronomers saw a new “guest star,” that appeared six times brighter than Venus. So bright in fact, it could be seen during the daytime for several months.

This “guest star” was forgotten about until 700 years later with the advent of telescopes. Astronomers saw a tentacle-like nebula in the place of the vanished star and called it the Crab Nebula. Today we know it as the expanding gaseous remnant from a star that self-detonated as a supernova, briefly shining as brightly as 400 million suns. The explosion took place 6,500 light-years away. If the blast had instead happened 50 light-years away it would have irradiated Earth, wiping out most life forms.

In the late 1960s astronomers discovered the crushed heart of the doomed star, an ultra-dense neutron star that is a dynamo of intense magnetic field and radiation energizing the nebula. Astronomers therefore need to study the Crab Nebula across a broad range of electromagnetic radiation, from X-rays to radio waves.

This image combines data from five different telescopes: the VLA (radio) in red; Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared) in yellow; Hubble Space Telescope (visible) in green; XMM-Newton (ultraviolet) in blue; and Chandra X-ray Observatory (X-ray) in purple.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington, D.C.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra’s science and flight operations.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena, California. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

Four B-1B Lancers assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, arrive Feb. 6, 2017, at Andersen AFB, Guam. The 9th EBS is taking over U.S. Pacific Command’s continuous bomber presence operations from the 34th EBS, assigned to Ellsworth AFB, S.D. The B-1B’s speed and superior handling characteristics allow it to seamlessly integrate in mixed force packages. While deployed at Guam the B-1Bs will continue conducting flight operations where international law permit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Richard P. Ebensberger)

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“Be near me when my light is low,
When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick
And tingle; and the heart is sick,
And all the wheels of Being slow.

Be near me when the sensuous frame
Is rack’d with pangs that conquer trust;
And Time, a maniac scattering dust,
And Life, a fury slinging flame.

Be near me when my faith is dry,
And men the flies of latter spring,
That lay their eggs, and sting and sing
And weave their petty cells and die.

Be near me when I fade away,
To point the term of human strife,
And on the low dark verge of life
The twilight of eternal day.” 
― Alfred TennysonIn Memoriam

[1] Aviation Electrician’s Mate Airman Seth Orourke, a plane captain assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 81, gives thumbs up to the pilot of an F/A-18E Super Hornet after completing start-up of the aircraft on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. (Photo by Petty Officer Second Class James Evans, 21 DEC 2011).

[2,3] Members of the flight deck crew direct a F/A-18C Hornet from the Mighty Shrikes of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 94 to a catapult on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. (U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class George M. Bell, 10 JUN 2013.)

[4] An F/A-18F Super Hornet waits to launch from the waist catapults on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson. (Photo by Petty Officer Second Class James Evans, 17 DEC 2011).

 [5] An F/A-18 Hornet launches from the flight deck during night operations aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. (Photo by Petty Officer Second Class James Evans, 11 JAN 2012.)

Lucky Strike

Poe Dameron x Reader Modern Setting!AU

Summary: Your excitement to meet the company’s most requested pilot was nearly zero. Little did you know you were going to swallow your words.
Genre: Romance/fluff
Rating: T
Warnings: Swearings
7,279 words

Notes: Here it goes the AU I’ve been talking about! FINALLY. Risking a Poe fic request on the way! Hope you guys enjoy out favorite posterboy being the pilot of an airline company. I ALSO HOPE I MADE HIM JUSTICE. Tell me if I’m torturing y’all with my bad Star Wars writing.Happy reading! <3


You had never met Poe Dameron and yet, he was the most debated topic between the flight attendants at the operational dispatch room. It even surprised you that with two years of working at Millennium airlines, that would be your first time in hosting one of Commander Dameron’s flights, given he was one of the most active and requested pilot for long flights – exactly the ones you preferred working on. 

But you always heard the chitchat between a few coworkers, pretty much gushing about his looks and how flirty but yet polite he was. You’d be honestly lying if it didn’t perk your curiosity for a little bit though you’d never truly admit it. 

And now you were about to meet the said man but your excitement wasn’t even one percent near to the other girls (and a few boys) giddiness. 

“So, I take it you were a part of Commander Dameron’s crew before…” You low key questioned Hanna, one of the few flight attendants that you’d previously worked before as you entered the conference room, clutching your shoulder bag to your side as she nodded in response. “You’re friends or something?”

She snorted quietly and glanced at you as if you’d just said the most absurd thing ever, her eyes rolling playfully as you finally sat around the huge table. 

“I wish! It was just a two hour flight.” Hanna sighed exaggeratedly as you chuckled quietly at her dreamy expression. “Never saw him again after that. Tough luck.”

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