Did you hear the one about the jumbo jet that dumped 170,000 pounds of fuel on Central New Jersey? Yes, by now you have, but it's not a joke.
A Continental Airlines Boeing 777 bound for Tokyo experienced hydraulic issues shortly after taking off from Newark Airport on Sunday. Before the jet could return to Newark and make a safe landing, weight needed to be reduced by dumping its fuel.
I was out behind Woodfern School for Junior Raiders Track and Field, on the sidelines with dozens of other parents, when we spotted the plane flying low, with landing gear down, and ejecting fuel from both wings.
Here is a video shot by, presumably, a Hillsborough resident, of the jet over Hillsborough.
You have probably heard that this incident is no big deal, that the jet fuel is vaporized in the atmosphere - breaking down into its constituent atoms - and poses no risk. Then why have we never heard about a plane dumping fuel over New Jersey before? It seems to me that every previous story of this nature always includes a passage about the aircraft flying out over the ocean to dump fuel.
I am glad Leonard Lance is looking into this and looking for answers. Let's make sure the joke - and the jet fuel - isn't on us.