John Candy, Rest In Peace...
Following the sad pig-transport roll-over a few days ago, last Friday night we had an airplane on the 407.
An apparent fuel problem meant that a single-engine Piper private aircraft was not going to make it to Buttonville Airport. The obviously skillful pilot managed to land it on the westbound lanes of the 407, dodging hydro lines, overpasses, and, according to The Star's news report, a GO transit bus and one passenger car.
That's also a clever way of dodging the toll.
At least two countries I have driven in make their major highways part of their aircraft infrastructure.
Sweden, which as far as I know hasn't been at war with anybody for three hundred years, nonetheless has an air force, and a home-grown military aircraft industry (which is more than Canada can say).
SAAB, the automobile company, began life building airplanes - the letters in its name stand for "Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget" (Swedish Airplane Company Limited). It designs and manufactures some of the most sophisticated jet fighters in the world, as well as a range of commercial aircraft.
While I doubt a Swedish pilot has ever fired a shot in anger, you can't say they aren't prepared: there are a couple of spots on major highways in Sweden where signs warn you that aircraft have the right of way - in case of emergency, they use the highways to deploy their jet fighters.
I mean, you never know - those pesky Finns might just try to sneak across the border.
South Korea is a different matter - that country was founded in war, remains officially at war with the North, and faces the very real prospect of a military strike from that, um, 'unstable' dictatorship just across the 38th parallel.
On a visit there some years ago (the first time we were ever allowed to actually drive on public Korean roads) we were told to be on the look-out for a place where the two-lane highway turned into about a twelve-lane highway - in each direction.
All of a sudden, asphalt everywhere.
The idea again is to provide the South Korean Air Force with an alternative landing site should the North bomb the air fields.
Korean drivers aren't exactly shy at the best of times. Faced with this option, they figured, "Who's going to be running radar here? At least for cars?"
So foot-to-the-floor it was, not that that meant a whole lot when most of them were driving Ponys.
I forget what car we were test-driving - maybe the Hyundai Scoupe? - but it didn't take us long to figure, "When in Seoul..."
So, a twelve-lane-wide drag race.
It obviously was an semi-active runway, because you could see the tire marks from where the planes touched down.
The cars probably should have had mirrors pointing at the sky as well as to the rear.
Where it got interesting was when the runway ended. No signage, no merge lanes, no twelve-into-eleven-into-ten - just all of a sudden, twelve lanes became one lane again, everybody was aiming for that single 'hole' in the landscape through which to put their car, and nobody wanted to be the first to yield.
Those tire marks weren't all from airplanes.