The Gimli Glider
from the Damn Interesting blog:
Inside the cockpit of the cruising airliner, Captain Bob Pearson was understandably alarmed at the out-of-the-ordinary beeps that were chiming from his flight computer. On the control panel, an amber low fuel pressure warning lamp lit up to punctuate the audio alarm.
First Officer Maurice Quintal, copilot of Air Canada Flight 143, checked the indicator light to determine the cause of the computer's complaints. "Something's wrong with the fuel pump," he reported.
The mustachioed Captain Pearson pulled out the trusty Boeing handbook, his fingers dashing through the pages to find the specifics of the warning. To his relief, the troubleshooting chart indicated that the situation was not as perilous as it might seem: the fuel pump in the left wing tank was signaling a problem, a minor issue considering that gravity would continue to feed the engines even if the pump failed.
"You know," he commented to Copilot Quintal, "I would not take this air…" He trailed off as the computer blurted out another four beeps, and the indicator panel lit up like a Christmas tree decorated with bad news. "Oh fuck," Pearson lamented, "we've got to go to Winnipeg."
click here to read the rest, and it's worth it!