Morocco – Part One: Fuel Dump

The best laid plans…

Some say the start will reflect the finish. I’m here to claim that isn’t always true. Our vacation to Morocco started out with ominous circumstances. How ominous you ask? Being usual air travelers (a common occurrence when hubby flies for an airline), a delay of an hour in Atlanta because of a maintenance problem didn’t have us flustered. Our greatest worry was making the connection in Paris for the flight to Casablanca. Eventually, the pilot declared everything fixed and we took off in the rain to head out over the ocean to Paris.

About an hour later, hubby has slipped into a snooze and I decided to be conscientious and get some writing done. Did I mention we were sitting just behind the wing?

A strange noise that attracted my attention came from outside. At the far end of the wing near the tip is a tube extruding next to the flap. Clear liquid sprayed from it. A lot of clear liquid. I had a good idea of the cause and knew what it meant. However, I required confirmation and that would come when I woke up the airline pilot next to me.

“Honey,” I touched his shoulder and when that had no effect, I poked him rather firmly in the side.

“What?” he jerked awake.

“Hear that?” I asked.

“Hear what?” he said, having his hearing slightly impaired after years of aircraft noises. Then he perked up, evidently picking up on the sound.

“Hmm,” he said and I duly pointed out the window.

“Fuel dump,” he confirmed. “We’re heading back.” As though to confirm his statement, the plane banked and began it turn for home.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” came over the speakers. “This is your captain. We’re having a slight problem. A little smell in the cockpit we can’t seem to get rid of. Nothing to be concerned about, but we’re headed back to Atlanta to check it out.”

“Something toasting in the cockpit?” I asked.

“Could be.”

“Think they’re on oxygen?”

Hubby smiled. “If they’re smart.”

“Dumping because we’re too heavy to land,” I asked.


“Think it could be related to the problem before takeoff?”


I knew exactly what to do. Yep, pull out the cellphone and get a photo. Hey, it was in airplane mode.

Check out the photo below and then I’ll explain how this was only the first emergency on this flight. More to the story will follow in subsequent posts.

Fuel dumping from the wing to lighten the aircraft for a return to the airport.

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