Looking closely at this picture you will see streaks of oil or some other black liquid emanating from the engine cowling.
The streaks grew as we made our way to Miami but not enough for me to worry too much. Once not too many years ago I was sitting over the wing and watched streaks of clear fluid leaving the wing at a fairly good clip.
I called the flight attendant and had her look at what I was looking at. She thanked me and then went and got the captain to come take a look, which he did.
He leaned over me, looked out the window, patted me on my shoulder and left. No words were exchanged. A few moments later we were making S turns to loose altitude. We spent most of the day in Scottsdale where the plane underwent repairs.
As I left the plane at my final destination the captain was standing there. He reached out to shake my hand; again no words were exchanged. Non-verbal communication at its best I think.
Had we not landed in Scottsdale would we have made our destination otherwise? Who knows.
My guess is that it was hydraulic fluid. I have no idea if there are redundant systems or if we would have lost the ability to control the plane.
The moral of the story, if you see something like this and have any doubts, it does not hurt to calmly call attention to it to the flight crew. I stress calmly, and you will notice that this whole transaction was basically non verbal. Upsetting passengers causing anxiety is unnecessary and could be more dangerous than the issue itself.
I am sure that there is some sort of protocol for such things like “not yelling fire” in a theater. No reason to spook the passengers..