My 9/11 In April of 2001 I was let go from my job at a local engineering firm and spent the next five months looking for employment. I finally got a job with a company that did contract work for the US Postal Service. The facility was located very close to Indianapolis International airport and being the technical geek that I am, I kept a scanner with the airport frequencies with me. I could hear both ground and aircraft transmissions and most times I was listening to departure and approach. Only radios with headphones were allowed to be used at work so as not to disturb each other. That Morning September 11, 2001 started as a routine day for me. I arrived at work at 7:30 and the wife took our daughter to school. I was busy doing something and had not turned on my scanner. As I was doing my job someone loudly yelled out Quick, listen to WIBC! Just seconds later someone stated that the local radio station was reporting that a small airplane had run into one of the World Trade Center towers and that it was on fire. My first thoughts were that some private pilot was confused and accidentally hit the tower. A few minutes later someone announced that it was not a small airplane but a jetliner and the tower was heavily damaged and on fire. I was still thinking that this must had been an accident and the aircraft made an error while on approach or departure. It was with the announcement that the second aircraft hit the other tower that I figured that this was no accident. It was at this point I decided to start listening to the airport communications. Incoming Aircraft Listening to the approach frequency I could hear the controller tell all aircraft to start their approach by the most direct route possible. As aircraft started calling the controller gave instructions to safely guide them directly to the runway. As the aircraft that were already on approach to Indianapolis started to land, other aircraft that were ordered to land at the nearest suitable airport started calling for instructions. Some of the aircraft asking for approach and landing instructions were not familiar to the controller and several times she had to ask about their capabilities and requirements. Small aircraft were directed to some of the small regional airports. It was truly amazing listening to the controllers work with so many aircraft in such a short amount of time without one mishap. Although you could hear the stress in their voice, the controllers maintained a cool and professional demeanor throughout the two hours of grounding all aircraft. One thought that would come back shortly to haunt me was that with all the aircraft hurrying to land, surly there was going to be an accident. Where Do I Go? With so many aircraft landing and none taking off the next problem faced by the controllers was where to park them. As the tarmacs and ramps filled up the only other option was to park them on the unused runways. Many people were now stranded and with the air traffic now shutdown and no way to get to their destinations. Also there was concern about having adequate and proper concessions for the aircraft once they were released. The Pentagon Has Been Hit There has been a crash. At the news of The Pentagon being hit I became very concerned. It was at this point that I realized we did not know how many more attacks may happen. I felt comforted by the knowledge that the place I was working at was not marked as a federal facility and in fact was purposely kept out of the public view. As with any event this size, news disseminated through radio or television contains errors and rumors. One such rumor was that sever aircraft were still missing and may be heading for more targets. It is very sobering to think that we have no control or foreknowledge of what may happen next. As for my fear that there surly would be an accident, the news of the aircraft crash in Pennsylvania seemed to confirm it. It was only later that we learned this was not an accident but the thwarted effort of more terrorists. Watching It Unfold, Live That afternoon when I arrived home I started watching live feeds from the news satellites. This was just the time that WTC 7 collapsed and I watched it live. As the events of the day unfolded, there were many memorable news feeds. I continued to receive satellite feeds for quite sometime into the recovery and have hours of tape made from these. Four Aircraft and then Quite Skies One interesting tidbit, when I arrived home my wife mentioned that on her way home she noticed four aircraft flying at high altitude. It appeared to be three smaller and one large aircraft. Air Force one? As one who has an interest in aircraft, I guess I am more in tune to airplanes as they fly over. I still will look up when I hear aircraft pass overhead, even though I have seen hundreds of commercial flights. For the period that the flights were grounded I noticed a strange absence aircraft in flight. The familiar contrails and sight of the sun glinting off of a jetliner were missed. Although I dont live in close proximity to an airport, I did notice the extreme quite of the night.