2811: Free Fallin'
Title text: Their crash investigation team had some particularly harsh words for Dave Matthews.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issues reports on incidents involving various types of vehicles, including airplanes. In this comic, Randall suggests that due to an obscure law, the NTSB has to do a report if a song is downloaded to a flight data recorder. In this instance, the song used is the 1989 ballad "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty. Interpreting the song's lyrics as a description of an incident, the NTSB's report describes a flight over northern Los Angeles County, California. The pilot apparently takes off from his home in Reseda, gliding over Mulholland Drive, skywriting the name of his loved one, and then presumably either skydiving from the craft or turning off its power to achieve free fall. Assuming Tom Petty is the [amateur] solo pilot, either action would be a dangerous maneuver risking not only his vehicle but the lives of the civilians below, and quite possibly his own.
The title text refers to the 1996 song "Crash Into Me", off the Dave Matthews Band's second album, Crash. The investigation team likely would not enjoy a song which reminds them of their job, even if it was referring to love instead of planes. They may also have some particularly harsh words for Dave Matthews if the song Crash Into Me was downloaded to a flight data recorder, which would, by the suggested obscure law, create a record of a crash that did not actually occur, making crash investigation difficult.
Munroe is a "90s kid," and both of these songs were in heavy rotation on the radio when he was a teenager —- an age when many people make especially emotional connections to the popular music of their era.
|Corresponding Free Fallin' lyric
|Tom Petty home
|And it's a long day livin' in Reseda
| And all the vampires walkin' through the valley
Move west down Ventura Boulevard
|And all the bad boys are standin' in the shadows
|girls (good) (sad)
|And the good girls are home with broken hearts
|I wanna glide down over Mulholland
|I wanna write her name in the sky
| I'm gonna free fall out into nothin'
Gonna leave this world for a while
I'm free fallin'
Other item labels on the map, unrelated to the lyrics of the song, include Granada Hills, San Fernando, Sunland, Van Nuys, Burbank, and Hollywood.
|This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
- [There is a map of San Fernando Valley, California, with a dotted line labeled “flight path” and several other features marked on and around the line. It must be assumed up is north, since there is no compass to indicate otherwise.]
- [The emblem and name of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are in the in top left.]
- [The dotted line labeled "Flight path" moves as such:]
- Circled X labeled Tom Petty home near the center of Reseda, moving down below Ventura Boulevard.
- The words "Flight path" are drawn, with an arrow pointing towards the line.
- As the line moves below Mulholland Drive, it starts moving right.
- The words "Glide phase" point to the path as it goes up, crossing Mulholland and Ventura once more.
- Three loops are in the path. The first is labelled "Skywriting incident". It starts moving right here.
- The flight path abruptly ends as an arrow pointing towards a question mark.
- [There are some other features not directly correlated to the flight path.]
- Boys (Bad)
- There are 4 arrows coming out of this text. They all end up curving to go southwest.
- Girls (Good) (Sad)
- This is to the upper right of where the flight path starts. There are 7 arrows coming out of this text, heading straight.
- This is above Ventura Boulevard, in between the two times the flight path crosses Ventura. There are 3 "X"es in sequence on the road, and there is a single straight arrow above these, pointing along Ventura to the left.
- [Caption below the panel:]
- Due to an obscure law, if you download a song onto a flight data recorder and send it to the NTSB, they have to do a report on it.
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