Watch it all.
Kendall, I saw this on the weekend and could hardly believe how dangerous it was. The answer to your question (“How did he ever land the plane?”) was on CNN’s site on Monday: a passenger on the plane said that ten minutes after this aborted landing, the pilot came on the PA system and said that he had convinced air traffic controllers to switch to an alternate runway where he could land into the wind, rather than cross-wind. Seems to me the ATCs have a lot to answer for here.
there is extensive discussion here:
apparently planes were landing both before and after this one on the runway in the video, however. you can see there is a strong gust right as they are about to touch down (water flies off the runway) and the plan banks hard left, nearly crashing.
Wouldn’t want to clean the cabin after this.
As a retired Air Force member, I can assure you that crosswind landings are often necessary; been there and done that…..and usually are safe. But when winds reach high speeds such as those encountered during that landing, they are a no-no, and those air traffic controllers should’ve known better than to permit it. They placed a lot of lives in jeopardy, and they should answer for what they did.
Hmmm. This elf has been offline most of the day. Just now catching up and tried to click on the video. It seems to be gone for the time being? If anyone has a working link, let us know.
[i] Here ya go, Girlfriend.[/i]
[i]wow! that was fast! You rock elf lady. Thanks![/i]
I’m not a pilot, but it’s my understanding from comments on aviation sites that have been discussing this video, that air traffic controllers very rarely deny a pilot permission to land – that it’s the pilot’s call, presumably after getting stats about conditions on the ground, as to whether he requests permission to land, and after that the ATC’s job is simply to line him up in the queue. I’m fascinated by this kind of protocol – does anyone else have other info about it? Does it change significantly between private and commercial, or from country to country?
The short answer: No.
I showed the video to my husband, a 757 instructor pilot, and he kept saying “Go around” as the plane started to land. The crew was lucky the plane didn’t cartwheel. And he’s convinced the German speakers in the background were conjecturing on how many passengers soiled their pants!
I didn’t see anything wrong.
That’s how I always land 747s with NO WIND in my flight simulator! 😉
While I am not a pilot, let alone an instructor pilot, my dad was one for the Air Force, teaching students how to fly and refuel in KC and RC 135’s. I would guess that dad would own a rather large piece of the anatomy of any student that tried to land a plane in that type of cross-wind.
All I can say is thanks be to God that noone was hurt in this incident. My heart skipped a few beats when I saw the tape both on CNN and BBC America.
I landed at Midway in a cross-wind the other night, and I sure FELT like that…
Seriously, the private pilot sitting next to me said something about dipping the wing slightly into the wind. I saw this on the news the next morning and it was just scary.
A downdraft of any strength could’ve ended that flight with some tragic consequences. I have seen what happens in a situation like that…..and it wasn’t pretty! If that plane had been any lower……..
This was shown on our New Zealand national news a couple of nights ago. It was particularly topical in the city I live in (Wellington) because we are known for our extreme winds, and our runway (which has sea at either end) doesn’t have a cross-runway. I have seen planes land in cross winds many times at Wellington (and been on them) but I have never seen one move like this one does BEFORE it gets down to land. It is not even able to keep on a straight trajectory then, well before the wing hit.
In Wellington we are used to our airport being closed because of the winds, and I was just amazed that this one wasn’t closed, and can only presume that it was because the wind came up suddenly.
My most scary experience on a plane was being on a small (about 20 seater) landing at Wellington. All the flight the captain kept saying we were going to be diverted to another airport — but at the last moment the airport opened for us to land. It felt like this landing — though the wing didn’t touch. At the end of the landing the captain came over the radio and said in an amazingly calm voice “Well folks, they opened the airport, they watched us land, and now they’ve shut the airport” Everyone clapped!!
If you don’t understand what I mean have a look at the way the plane flies when at the beginning when you are looking through the fence and then compare it with this video which is of “bad” landings at Wellington and note that despite the fact the planes going into Wellington are rocking from side to side, they are still maintaining their body straight on course for the runway, not the kind of angle that the other plane got on.
Note the water under the planes as they land (the runway is built out into the sea and is the minimum length set under regulation) and the high hills all around. Pilots landing at Wellington must, I think, develop nerves of steel.
Margaret, your comment #14 brought back memories of landing at the old airport on Kowloon in HongKong in 1986 just ahead of a pretty big typhoon. We were the last flight that landed for 2 days. It was pretty terrifying. The old Kowloon airport sounds a lot like Wellington, mountains on one side, the sea on the other, and a massive apartment complex too right alongside on the edge of the mountain at the side of the runway… It certainly made for VIVID memories!
Margaret, I flew into Fort Lauderdale Airport on an 8 seater under similar circumstances – I’m 14 years old and sitting in the co pilots seat as we come in with these big black clouds on the horizon. The ex military pilot is hardly fazed as we hit these 100 foot pockets, throwing us up or down. As we are taxiing to the gate, the voice on the radio says: “Fort Lauderdale Airport is now closed to all traffic.”
Chris and the Elves
I must admit the memories of my that trip were vivid — we flew from Gisborne to Napier first (c. 1/2 hours flight). The stewardess never got out of her seat it was so rough, and we ended up landing on the cross runway which was grass. I had never landed on grass before. It was “interesting”. We then took off again and flew over a mountain range called the Tararua’s heading most of the time for the alternate airport at Palmerston North. The stewardess didn’t even pretend she might think of getting out of her seat, and had a look that said “concerned but trying hard not to show it”. (The flight was full so she was in a kind of jumpseat facing us all). The captain kept coming on the air saying we were being diverted and the plane could handle this level of turbulence, and the wings wouldn’t come off. I think that was meant to be soothing — but it really wasn’t. Everyone could see the way they were flexing! Then came the landing! It was two hours of vivid flying that I have never forgotten.
My brother-in-law from England refuses to land at Wellington. He flies into Auckland and drives for 8 hours instead. The irony is the only commercial plane to crash at an airport New Zealand was at Auckland. I think Wellington concentrates the pilots mind and you are probably safer than ever!
Ever fly into O’Hare during a violent summer thunderstorm with an ex-Navy fighter jock for a pilot? Interesting……and downright nerve-wracking
I was once in New Zealand, and am grateful that my flights there were benign (just some mild turbulence landing in Queenstown). The bumpiest flights I have taken have been the Phoenix to Tucson runs in mid summer, and Tucson to Yuma at the same time of the year in a 4 seater.