Wow, the last 36 hours have been interesting. My publicist asked me in a phone meeting if I wanted to write a piece tying Fireball to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. My first inclination was, of course I don’t. In no way do I want to exploit so obvious a tragedy, but some hours passed and she queried me again, prompting me with an article about unsolved air mysteries.
I banged out 500 words in 17 minutes and sent it off; in no time at all she told me Fox News had asked for an exclusive on my op-ed. And so was born my first national byline. Within minutes I was asked for radio interviews by Fox national radio and Voice of Russia, and then Relevant Radio in Minnesota. A national op-ed and three significant radio interviews resulted from the gut feeling of my publicist that my expertise connected with research into the 1942 crash of TWA Flight 3 in Nevada could be informative and maybe even important to this global story.
Sean Hannity saw the op-ed and asked me to appear with him on Fox TV today, but then the story shifted from air disaster to air what-the-hell? prior to my 6:30 P.M. interview slot at the studio in downtown Pittsburgh, and I was “pushed” to an indeterminate point in the future.
In the radio interviews of the past 24 hours, I have been asked interesting, thoughtful questions about air transportation in general because the current mystery is do deep, so engrossing, that humans struggle to grasp it. Sure there’s historical context related to TWA Flight 3: commercial air transportation still isn’t an exact science, and in a void of information, wild speculation fills that void, and pilots are highly trained and worthy of the benefit of the doubt, and most important, until we know otherwise, we keep hoping for a miracle.
Then I’m asked about Fireball, and I’m reminded how incredible this 1942 air mystery is, how enduring, and all of a sudden seasoned radio professionals are stunned, mesmerized, asking for more and more about something that’s 72 years old.
All I want to do is keep spreading the Fireball message: so many angles, so many people to honor—from those on the plane to first responders to investigators; so much relevance to the audience of 2014 for a story that originated before the middle of the last century.
No, we haven’t yet figured out air travel. Yes, fragile humans continue to strap themselves into tubes and wings and launch themselves into the upper atmosphere and rely on other humans to see them safely down again. I continue to watch with the rest of the world as this latest aviation mystery unfolds, and marvel at the ongoing mysteries of flight.