A surreptitious look; a hurried glance. "Take a gander, Swat, ain't that law (a policeman) piking us off (watching us)?"

- american underworld dictionary - 1950
A small town located in Newfoundland, Canada became home to what may one day be an avaition legend. This place became the stopping point for over 38 big jets on Septermber 11, 2001.

The town of Gander is home to a large airfield that once was a refueling spot for planes on transatlantic flights in the early history of aviation (40's and 50's). Every now and then some big jet makes a landing in this small, sleepy town, but nothing like this.

There were over 38 planes in the area on September 11, 2001 that needed to land as US airspace was shutdown for the first time in its history. It is interesting to see that all of these planes landed within a half hour, seeing they have never serviced that many big planes in one day.

One of the problems facing this town, population of 10,000 was where to house and keep the 6,500 passengers when they were allowed to disembark after custom inspections and other security mesasures had been done. Most of the passengers where kept aboard for up to 30 hours.

Meanwhile, the town was runing around trying to gather food and other needed suplies. The town's hotels could hold only 500 people as it is not a main tourist attraction. In fact, most of the passengers had to stay at homes, schools, and churches.

Once the airspace was opened and flights could resume, Gander slowly returned to it sleeply way of life. However, it and the vistors would never be the same. Many websites have sprung up all over the web relating stories and pictures of what happened in this small little town.

Most of the information for this node was from an ABC News 20/20.

Further to Nero's post, Gander, Newfoundland is also famous as being probably the eastern-most major airport in North America - back in the bad old days of Transatlantic flights, planes crossing over to Europe would land there to refuel before either continuing across the ocean or their journey into the North American continent.

The airport is still used for these purposes today (especially in the late 80's and early 90's when some budget carriers operated older widebodies that didn't quite have the range to do a non-stop transatlantic flight), I have landed there at least once, I was quite young and aboard a Air Transat Lockheed Tristar and we landed there, and then Mirabel, before finally getting home to Toronto. It was a very hot day in Newfie-land that day, and people clustered around the open doors of the plane looking out at the desolation surrounding us, waiting for... whatever we were waiting for, might have been connecting passengers or fuel or something. The joys of charter airlines.

The airport is surprisingly large given its surroundings, although the number of passengers that alight or board here must be very limited. The airport in its old capacity could be seen in a film, whose title escapes me, about a man convinced the plane he is travelling on will suffer a structural fault and break apart mid-air.

Those of you with Microsoft Flight Simulator are welcome to try flying Transatlantic in the Cessna Caravan from Gander, if you've got a good 10-odd hours to waste.

Gan"der (?), n. [AS. gandra, ganra, akin to Prov. G. gander, ganter, and E. goose, gannet. See Goose.]

The male of any species of goose.


© Webster 1913.

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