Grammy-nominated metal legends Dokken have in their repertoire a 1984 hit, "Just Got Lucky," and that title was particularly apt this weekend. The band, along with fellow '80s hitmakers Ratt, were taking a short flight on Saturday afternoon from Moline, Illinois to their next tour stop in the Chicago area when their chartered jet's cockpit caught fire, necessitating an emergency landing.
As we said, though, lucky: Nobody was hurt, just a little shaken up. "Unreal," noted Dokken bassist Sean McNabb."Aborted landing, we had some sort of smoke on the plane. We were just doing our normal thing, sitting there telling stories, and we saw the cockpit open, and it was full of smoke. The pilots had their oxygen masks on. We saw a pilot jump up really fast with a worried look on his face, so then we got worried."
"The smoke never got really bad where we were, but we definitely smelled something electrical," he added. "We turned around and went back to Moline, and there was a fire crew waiting there for us on the ground. They're thinking it was an electrical fire."
McNabb said the whole thing was over before anyone had time to panic. "Not everybody realized the full effect of what was happening until we were on the ground."
Since Moline is only a short distance from the big city, they opted to take a different mode of transportation. "We ended up getting three SUVs and driving up," McNabb explained, but says the incident didn't make him scared to fly again. In fact, he plans to be on another jet Sunday night, flying from Michigan to his home in Southern California.
He marveled that it was his first emergency landing, and joked, "Awesome," but quickly added, "We're alive, thank God."
Dokken and Ratt were flying the high skies as part of a tour package with Lita Ford and Sebastian Bach, but only the two bands were on the plane.