ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Holidays and Celebrations»
  • Unofficial Holidays

An April Fools Day Prank

Updated on January 27, 2012

Space Shuttle Landing


April 1, 1998

It was another workday and as I began the daily wresting match with the snooze bar I stopped. Still half awake listening to my former high school classmate, Phil, on WKRQ who announced the Space Shuttle was going to make an emergency landing in Cincinnati. After he provided a few details Tom Brokaw was on the air providing further news about the immediate need for a shuttle landing. Phil was a prankster back in school but now that Tom Brokaw was involved, one of America's news icons, I was suddenly wide-awake. Tom explained there was a problem with the shuttle that didn't provide enough time to wait for entry and landing at Kennedy, Edwards, or White Sands. After Tom detailed the troubles a message was transmitted from the Space Shuttle. Through the static and beeps the astronauts further explained their need to land in Cincinnati at 9:30 that morning.

It was almost 8 and this was something I didn't want to miss. I turned up the radio and headed for the shower. While I quickly threw on some clothes and put my hair in a ponytail I listened to the callers and their questions. "Why isn't the Shuttle going to land at the Greater Cincinnati International Airport?" I thought that was a good question. Phil said the Shuttle would be landing at Lunken Airport which seemed rather small. Lunken is an airport where traffic helicopters and Cessnas are parked but it was perfect because it didn't have a lot of traffic. Since there wasn't enough time to re-route the traffic at the Cincinnati airport this would have to do. Phil was at the airport surrounded by news anchormen and their cameras. At the end of the runway there were several firetrucks and ambulances waiting for the landing.

I was so excited to share this historic event with my friend and co-worker Jennifer. Luckily the office was only 3 miles away and most days I could catch all green lights on my way in to work. Naturally when you're in a hurry that is not the case. It was just before 9 and if it hadn't been for the security guard in the parking lot I would have ran to the building. I was only 22 and I didn't want the guard to think I was a weirdo excited for work that day. After I passed the security desk I pushed the elevator button and thought about the stairs as an alternative. If we weren't on the 7th floor I think I could have beaten what seemed to be the slowest elevator in the world. I made it! I ran to our office and burst through the door with my news of the Space Shuttle landing. She quickly called her husband and left a very excited voice mail message that she was off to see the landing.

It was just after 9 and we made it to my car as quickly as we could. The radio station was still tuned in and we listened as we kept looking out the car windows into the sky. While I went in to get Jennifer more news vans and on lookers had gathered around the airport. Fighting our way through city traffic and stoplights we were quickly running out of time. I suddenly remembered Alms Park. It was close to Lunken airport and had an overlook where we could see the entire airport. Just before 9:30 we kept our heads to the sky as we walked over to the overlook.

The airport was quiet. There weren't any firetrucks, ambulances, or news media. We didn't see a crowd of people waiting to watch the Shuttle Landing. Looking over the edge we knew we had been fooled but it lifted our spirits when a lady at the park asked if we were there to see the landing too.

When we returned to the office Jennifer's phone was flashing indicating she had voice mail. It was her husband Brian who was an engineer who had previously worked as an intern for NASA. It was too bad he didn't answer when she initially called him. He ended up leaving 3 very useful messages.

First Message: "Jennifer, the Space Shuttle is only allowed to land in California and Florida."

Second message, "Jennifer, the Space Shuttle needs 3 miles of runway in order to land."

Third message, "Jennifer, the Space Shuttle isn't even in space right now."

Lunken Airport

Space Shuttle Landing Facts

Researching Space Shuttle landings I learned that Kennedy Space Center in Florida was the preferred landing site since it is also the launch site. Edwards Air Force Base in California and White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico round out the top three. Depending on the level of an emergency there were 37 other places the Shuttle could land.1 Turkey, South Africa, Guam, and Sweden all made the list but Cincinnati did not.

The landing runway at Kennedy is 15,000 feet long with a 1,000 foot over hang at each end which totals just over 3 miles in length. The Shuttle didn't need 3 miles of runway in order to land but since it was gliding without power on re-entry the extra length allowed a greater margin of safety.2 Since the Shuttle was powerless there was only one opportunity to land the craft. The pilot couldn't power up and try the landing again.

Three runways make up Lunken Airport and the longest is 6101 feet. It is also only 150 feet wide, half the width of the Kennedy air strip. Although the Orbiter's wingspan is 78 feet the length of the runway is well below the 7,500 foot minimum required by NASA.3

Looking up the flight status for Columbia, Discovery, and Endeavour for April 1, 1998 none of the aircraft were in orbit.

Kennedy Space Center Landing Site


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Sailor101 6 years ago

      DJ Dave Rickards from San Diego's KGB 101 did this way back in 1993.

    • profile image

      onlooker 6 years ago

      What a way to get punk'd! lol, this is funny and informative too. The best April fool's I've come of with was telling my then bf now husband that I was pregnant! hahaha..come to think of it that was stupid but fun too. Thank you.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Living in Florida I know that the shuttle only lands in CA or FL which had me baffled about the unexpected landing. That was a GOOD PRANK!! Well told too!!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      I always fall for them and i'm highly intelligent... don't feel bad :-)

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 6 years ago from Idaho

      PDXKaraokeGuy I felt like such an idiot for falling for this. Part of it was the early morning foggy brain and the other was the very convincing news broadcast. I knew it was April Fool's day when I woke up but I was still convinced by the radio.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      i always fall for pranks on april fools day. it makes me so mad! grrrrrr

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 6 years ago from Idaho

      Hoteltravel- Thank you. I'm happy you enjoyed the story. It took me several years to tell this story to anyone. I felt like such a fool. Now, I'm happy to let others laugh at my expense. Thank you for voting : )

    • hoteltravel profile image

      hoteltravel 6 years ago from Thailand

      Too good a story! Well-written in an exciting pace. Never mind the disappointment, it gave you reason for a wonderful hub. Voting up!

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 6 years ago from Idaho

      Pinkchic18 - I was very excited and equally disappointed that I had been fooled.

      Audrey - Thank you for the compliment. I simply added maps of the areas.

      aslaught - I'm glad you enjoyed the story. It seems when you're writing a funny story you go over it so many times you begin to wonder if it is even funny. Thank you for your kind words.

    • aslaught profile image

      aslaught 6 years ago from Alabama

      Interesting, funny, and well written story!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 6 years ago from California

      What gorgeous shots you included with this! Great story!

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 6 years ago from Minnesota

      lol oh boy, I would have been excited too like you! I would have been so disappointed!!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)