First Officer Chris Dennis left a note on a parked Delta plane in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic in North America, intended as a time capsule to be discovered after the pandemic

By Glenn Garner
June 11, 2021 10:30 AM
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airplane parking lot
Airplanes parked in Victorville, California
| Credit: Wolficorn/Youtube

A Delta Airlines pilot's note was recently discovered on the flight deck of ship 3009, 435 days after he parked the A321 at a desert lot in Victorville, California.

"Hey pilots - It's March 23rd and we just arrived from MSP," wrote First Officer Chris Dennis in the note. "Very chilling to see so much of our fleet here in the desert. If you are here to pick it up then the light must be at the end of the tunnel. Amazing how fast it changed. Have a safe flight bringing it out of storage!"

Dennis intended the letter to serve as a "time capsule" for what he thought would be a 14-day quarantine, which he considered a long wait at the time. He originally posted a photo of the letter to Facebook, where it's been shared more than 4,000 times since March 23, 2020.

"Today was a day I will remember for the rest of my life," Dennis wrote in the post. "A trip opened up to bring a Delta A321 to Victorville, CA for storage. I had no idea what I would see or the emotions I would feel. Chilling, apocalyptic, surreal..all words that still don't fit what is happening in the world. Each one of these aircraft represents hundreds of jobs, if not more."

pilot note
Credit: Delta

The pilot compared the experience to an "optical illusion," seeing the rows of parked planes in Victorville, where many aircrafts were stored when airlines were forced to ground flights and furlough employees at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 2020, there were more than 400 planes being stored at Southern California Logistics Airport, where his ended up.

First Officer Nick Perez finally discovered Dennis's letter last week, as he prepared the same plane to return to the skies. "He had to have been thinking he was leaving his job," he said of Dennis's note. "Back in March, I was 100% certain I was going to lose my job."​

"I kept thinking about my mindset now compared to his when he left this note," added Perez, who's worked for Delta for nearly five years. "[Back then], we were getting good at landing empty airplanes, now we're going in the right direction. I'm in good spirits. I'm very optimistic. I feel like how I felt in 2017 again - ready to get going."

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