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What Was The Worst Moment You Had In An Airplane?  
User currently offlineB752fanatic From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 918 posts, RR: 7
Posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 8653 times:

Mine was when I was like 8 years old and it was on a Dominicana de aviacion B727-100.

The aircraft went on a steep dive, and it seemed that the crew lost control of the a/c.

But everything went fine, because seconds later the aircraft continued normally, and the crew maintained the flight smoothly and then they started entertaining the passangers with gifts and giving us a second meal.  Smile

What was your story?

"Truth is more of a stranger than fiction." Mark Twain
46 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineA330Fan1 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 856 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 8630 times:

I've had several experiences where I thought I was not going to survive...one was on a BA flight from LHR-CDG, a short 1-hour hop on a 757, and the plane hit an air pocket; it felt like a roller coaster and I was so freaked out! A couple people were screaming. Another was on a domestic flight within India, between Delhi and Jaipur...it suddenly sounded as if the plane's engines went off and it felt like it was gliding...YIKES I was so scared! That's about all the major scary moments I've had...otherwise, I've had drinks spilled on me...about all...

User currently offlineDL_Mech From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 2290 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 8584 times:

Sept. 11,2001 .....DL39 AMS-ATL.

We were told by the crew that there was a situation in the US, and that we would be diverting to Halifax, NS. It was about eight hours later when we found out what truly happened.

This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
User currently offline747firstclass From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 8581 times:

About 15 years ago, I was on a TWA flight from STL-ABQ and we had rough going a great part of the way. Off in the distance there was major lightning and at times the plane would turn up on its side. Things started to fall from the overhead bins etc. etc. It got so bad that there was some concern that we might land in OKC in case any one got hurt. That did not happen and at last we arrived in ABQ. I must say I was nervous about flying after that for a few months, but I got over it.
To add insult to injury, I got pulled over by the cops in the rental car in ABQ.
They handcuffed me and took me to a mobile unti to measure my blood alcohol level. The test showed that I did not have alcohol in my blood. The roadside sobriety test caused the cop to think I was drunk.
I blame it all on the after effects of that ghastly flight that just really unnerved me no end. I was plain spooked out.

User currently offlineMarcopolo747 From Brazil, joined Mar 2001, 460 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 8539 times:

I had two very scaring experiences :

The first was in 1973 on a VASP Viscount 827 flying from Cuiaba to Sao Paulo with intermediate stops. When the plane landed in Campo Grande under a severe rainstorm it was unable to stop before the runways end (Viscounts had no thrust reverse) and we ended in soft ground after skidding and rotating several times until it finally came to a stop.

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The second was during a take-off from Dakar on a Sabena DC-10 in 1984. Engine n?? 1 decided to quit at V-2 speed and the 10 vibrated madly until the captain turned it off as we slowly gained altitude. We flew on 2 engines all the way to Brussels and arrived 2 hours beyond schedule. But landing was normal and we deplaned far from the terminal surrounded by ambulances and fire trucks.

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User currently offlineApurnicus From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 32 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 8467 times:

I was flying a BE-76 Duchess (light twin) at Byron Airport (small uncontrolled field east of the Altamont Pass in CA). It was turbulent in the pattern and I was practicing my landings with my instructor. Winds were favoring runway 23. About a mile from the departure ends begins the hills of the Altamont Pass.

After a touch-and-go, we climbed out and were flying through some moderately choppy air (I had my seat belt on uncomfortably tight). We were at 200 feet AGL when my instructor decided to fail an engine. I quickly performed the engine out procedure and maintained control of the aircraft.

Like most light-twins with an engine out, the aircraft was barely climbing. Add to it the moderate turbulence and I was lucky to get above the hills. I did my best to avoid the terrain and then we were hit by a chop so strong that my instructor (who weighs 200lbs) hit his head on the roof. He cringed in pain and wasn't paying attention to the aircraft.

Having enough, I restored the failed engine flew back to OAK, doing the ILS 27R through the morning overcast layer.

At the time I had maybe 4 or 5 hours in a twin, but those 15 seconds of simulated engine out is a lesson that will last a lifetime. My instructor always said to make an emergency plan, but hope you never have to use it. Had it been a real engine failure I know I would never been able to climb out of the chop and I had to prepared to make a controlled crash into the hills straight ahead.

That's my worst moment. When I fly, I am a pessimist. It keeps me safe.

User currently offlinePositive rate From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 2143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 8427 times:

My worst moment in an airplane was back in Feb 1999. Me and 2 friends of mine hired a Cessna 210 to fly to an airshow interstate for the weekend. It was an old model- early 70's i think. The flight up was totally uneventful and quite pleasant, we had to dodge a little weather here and there but no big deal. We spent 2 days at the airshow then climbed back in our 210 and set off for home. As we were on takeoff roll we had to abort takeoff around 50 kts because the ASI was reading 0 for some reason. We got out and checked the pitot tube- it was totally clear and no blockage. So we get back in and resume takoff once again, this time no problems. About 5 mins out as we were climbing through about 5,000 feet smoke starts to pour out from behind the instrument panel, indicating an electrical fire. We switched off all electrics and opened the hatch to clear the smoke, but the smoke kept coming. There was no time to fly back to the airport so we conducted an emergency flapless landing on a luckily empty freeway. We barely cleared some high trees on approach and almost stalled as we pulled up over them, followed by the aircraft landing extremely hard- bouncing about 3 times on the pavement. That was the scariest moment for me.

User currently offlineMidnightMike From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2892 posts, RR: 13
Reply 7, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 8362 times:

Let's see, I was sleeping in the back of a P-3 Orion, there were no bunks so I was sleeping on the floor when we hit an airpocket. The airplane must have dropped over 500 feet, when I woke up, my face was introduced to the floor.

On a different flight we had changed the #4 engine & then departed from Guam to Japan when we had an engine failure, I thought it was the same engine we worked on, luckily it was the #1 engine.

NO URLS in signature
User currently offlineAcidradio From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 1880 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 8330 times:

I was on a NW MSP-MDW run on a D9S and we had to go around thunderstorms in the Chicago area. Apparently the aircraft was overloaded with fuel and the pilot had to burn it off to get us on the ground. So we were in the air around Chicago for a while. That and the pilots would accelerate then slam the throttles down to near idle, at which point the engines sounded like and felt they were dying, as we took a sharp nose-down everytime along with the illusion that the engines were killing out. I saw the ground but it wasn't close enough. A simple cocktail or hard drink would have made it enjoyable however  Big grin

Ich haben zwei Platzspielen und ein Microphone
User currently offlineNoelG From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 8220 times:

We were to fly from Biggin Hill-Maastricht in a friend's Seneca. The weather was very thundery even at 9am, and we took off straight into a thundercloud. The plane was bouncing around as we flew right the middle of a CB at about 6000 ft, lightning flashing all around us, and ice preventing us from seeing out of the windows....

Coming back, we changed from IFR to VFR over the English Channel, and as we flew over Kent the weather changed for the worse. Cloud base was about 1000ft, and we were almost on the deck in extremely heavy rain and wind. At one point, Biggin Approach advised us we were nearing a TV mast, this passed alongside us - with the top of the mast above us!

That was pretty scary - put it this way I have never been so glad to be on the ground in London!!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy


User currently offlineKal744 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 8172 times:

I was flying on a Lufthansa B 737 from Dusseldorf to Hamburg airport on a very stormy winter day. The pilot had to try to land for 3 times before he finally could manage to land safely.

User currently offlineJacques60 From France, joined Jul 2003, 120 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 8123 times:

I experienced only one serious "incident" in so many years :
on a BKK/CDG flight in 1974, our good old 707A had a quite hard
hydraulic leak and still at climbing stage there was hardly any fluid left.
Of course it was decided to return to BKK. One trouble bringing another..
one of the fuel tank drainage was noop and they had to pump from one wing
to the other to dump enough fuel. Next they had to go down in the front belly to manually lock down the nose gear.....(I had never thought that an unlocked nose gear could make such a noise up to the first class cabin !!)
Finally the Captain announced our final approach and said "normal landing",
obviously he had been preparing for a belly one !
We landed with the whole fire brigade along the runway ...and finally they had to tow us out of runway as the nose wheel could not turn by itself !
Even almost 30 years after I still praise the crew of that flight for their efficient handling of the plane !

User currently offlineSkyhawk From United States of America, joined May 2001, 1066 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 8007 times:

Many years ago, flying for National(original) going from IAH-SAN. A 727-235, and very uneventful flight until we had just gotten to "final" approach level and were checking seatbelts. Myself and colleague in the back were thrown into the laps of pax as the plane first rolled very hard to the left and then immediately very hard to the right. Luckily we weren't hurt, so we got up checked on things, got seated and landed. Later we found out the reason. Two Marine fighter pilots were coming back in from their flights and were playing. Too bad for them, our captain was a retired Marine pilot(Colonel, I think) and friends with the C/O at Miramar where the guys were going to. The CO said the Captain practically came out of his seat without undoing the 5-point seatbelt they have, to get to the phone to give his friend a call.

User currently offlineBeltwaybandit From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 495 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7935 times:

Does an irritable bowel issue in an RJ qualify? Worst 20 minutes of my life, so far.

User currently offlineCoAir@IAH From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 271 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 7833 times:

Yes, Mr. Beltway, that would count.

User currently offlineBuckwilder From United States of America, joined Jun 2003, 31 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 7741 times:

For my mother, it was a 1964 TWA 727 flight from Chicago to D.C., when she went into labor with me. My love of aviation bloomed early!

User currently offlineClrd2go From United States of America, joined Feb 2003, 1000 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 7688 times:

I'll skip a near gastro-intestinal disaster, and go with this..

I was in Phoenix on business when a secretary in the building paged me..I
called her and she informed me that my wife had called and my then 6 month
old son was about to have emergency surgery for an intestinal malady and
could I catch the next plane home..the secretary had already arranged for
me to hop a Frontier (old) flight to DEN (Stapleton) leaving in an hour and a
half..I rushed to the hotel, got to Sky Harbor and boarded the MD-80..we
got off the ground and about 20 mins in flight the captain announced that
we had to return to PHX..a dog had been loaded into the wrong compartment.
We landed, I wanted to call my wife to see how my son was doing, but I
couldn't get off the plane..thankfully a Frontier employee took down a number of a neighbor who would contact my wife at the hospital and let her know I
was late..it was a long flight..thankfully my son was fine.

I'm fortunate that, other than turbulence related incidents, I've never had
anything more than that happen on a flight.


What a long strange trip it's been
User currently offlineHockey55dude From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 213 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 7656 times:

Well I was coming home from YYC-Lax on Canada 3000 3 years ago. When we took off our plane was going up, but than the pilot shuts off the engines. evey one was looking around. We were gliding down for about 4 seconds. Then the pilot put the engines back on and we start flying up again. I got really scared. But I got over it and we had a good flight home.

User currently offlineB752fanatic From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 918 posts, RR: 7
Reply 18, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 7605 times:

"When we took off our plane was going up, but than the pilot shuts off the engines. evey one was looking around"

But why did they turn off the engines?, they didn't give any reason?

"Truth is more of a stranger than fiction." Mark Twain
User currently offlineClrd2go From United States of America, joined Feb 2003, 1000 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 7600 times:

I wonder if they just throttled back and leveled due to some traffic..First time
that happened when I was on a flight it scared the bejeebers out of me.


What a long strange trip it's been
User currently offlineFlairport From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 7556 times:


i've had 2 bad expierences, both on L10-11s

1st: ATL-SJU, July 3, 2000
good flight, but it felt like instead of gliding down we just plopped down. it was a VERY hard landing. (L-1011)

2nd ATL-FLL July?,1999 or 2000
we had an overbooked flight and as you'll understand later i wish i had taken the other flight. you could have taken a 10:05 or 11:35 with a stop at MIA. This flight left at 8:35. so its 8:15 and no plane, they delay it until 9:35 and still no plane. they tell us that they had to replace the tail engine on the L-1011 and by this time most people were annoyed... we finally left at 10:35, but i was a little nervous the whole flight. obviously i made it in one piece!

User currently offlineDekX From Canada, joined Jul 2003, 31 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 7540 times:

Sitting in the rear-most seat of the Malaysia airlines 744 last year CDG-KUL, somewhere between the indian ocean and KUL oyu see nothing but early morning tropical thunders cells. Naturaly with that much lightning and (in the wee hrs of the morning) one would assume its going to get pretty ugly. Myself being the aerospace guru that I am I ASSUMED correct. Holy Chirst!!!! we hit turbulence and lightning strikes like a MOFO. A few overhead compartments flew open, naturally, anything that was not tied down was on the cieling or the floor, depending on how we rotated. I might sound a little overzellish but let me tell you, when your sitting at the back of a 744 and you see through the left window one wing flex way up, through the right windows (thanks to the lightning strikes) the right wing flex down and then litterally see the entire fuselage bend longitudinally it is somehting else. The amount of torsion that was on that plane was incredible, I could see all the way to the business cabin as you look along the fuselage wall, and see them disappear beyond a mid-section bend in the middle of the cabin. Kudos to the stress engineers on that one.. and thanks!!!

User currently offlineBlackJackLV From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 40 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 7504 times:

I was on an American Airlines flight earlier this year from DFW to LAS. Shortly after takeoff (1min) on a B757, the plane gave a very slight jolt...followed by 3 loud bangs. I was sitting in a window seat over the wing and I looked out the window to see flames shooting out the #2 engine. I new then that we blew an engine. I talked to the pilot afterwards and he said that he thought a bird flew into the engine. The pilot said in his 15 years of flying B757's that he never had to shut down an engine in mid-flight.

User currently offlineBeltwaybandit From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 495 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 7415 times:

Re: Engine Shut-Down.

Flying out of DCA, I've had several experiences where the pilot pulls back throttles. I think it may be a noise abatement thing. It always feels like you are falling out of the sky but I suspect that it is simply that you are not accelerating anymore.

User currently offlineNorthStarDC4M From Canada, joined Apr 2000, 3191 posts, RR: 34
Reply 24, posted (12 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 7373 times:

3+ hours taxiing with a throat infection followed by a 90 minute flight... in a Dash 8 at Toronto... ill gladly forget that very very long day... (it started in St Paul MN, though my throat wasnt bad as long as i kept drinking... i ran out of water after about 15 minutes in the Dash 8 (this was a hot and dry day as well, the A/C was on full blast) and the F/A couldnt (or wouldnt, she wasnt the most pleasant F/A ive ever had... though maybe she was a miffed as the pax over the taxi time...) serve drinks till after takeoff...)

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
25 Tan flyr : On an AA 757..worst turbulence I have ever encountered was over Quito on a LIM-MIA flight, December of 1990. Stuff and people flying all over the plac
26 Gocaps16 : If you are taxiing or stopped while the engine is running, the f/a's aren't allowed to serve drinks, but I was on an AA 727 flight from Miami to DCA c
27 Post contains images Airontario : On a trip to Orlando me and my mom flew throught Miami (don't ask long story). Well on the flight home we took our seats like usual but then a thunder
28 Airlinelover : July 9th, the early United Express flight DTW-IAD: On a CRJ (First time ever in one), we flew through the worst storm I've ever been in.. I was in sea
29 Cancidas : I was taking off in a 172 out of HWV and somehow flew lost 50-100 ft altitude in a second. Im guessing it was a downdraft. Anyway, im glad I was with
30 ANA777master : Did I mention my labor-intensive pebble-pooping episode while I look at myself, red-faced, in the mirror of the ANA 747 that was 10 minutes from touch
31 Redngold : Aside from the near crash I was in (a story I have posted ad nauseum)... I suppose the seizure-like intense shivering episode I had on a USAirways pla
32 CheshireCat : About two years ago I was returning home to Hawaii from Dallas Texas. Earlier that morning I wasn't feeling well, stuffy nose and such. As soon as the
33 Post contains images EmiratesA345 : Never had any accidents like those listed above, however my worst moment was when I had a migraine. I was flying, that's right, LOT Polish Airlines WA
34 Post contains images Vermeer : My story is of a shut down engine on a CO flight between EWR and BOS on a MD80. Actually everytime I tell the story people are having so much fun that
35 Hmmmm... : My worst moment in an airplane? Taking my seat on an AC L-1011 leaving Paris for Toronto. I just said goodbye to a short lived courtship with the swee
36 Post contains images AA717driver : ...Then there was the time I was about to score with a newhire flight attendant in the lower galley of a L1011(I believe it was N31035 ) and I heard t
37 PerthGloryFan : Well my experiences aren't that frightening compared to some posted here. One missed approach and one aborted take off were worrying events at the tim
38 Charliecossie : On 14th January 1991 I boarded a Royal Brunei 757 at Gatwick. We were going on an adventure. Dubai. Singapore. BSB. Everything was looking good. I was
39 LPL : In 1997 on a Delta flight between Manchester and Atlanta. Unfortunately there was a infant school on board. The shrieks of these 5 or 6 year olds were
40 TLHFLA : DL 606, June 1992, TPA-LGA, MD-88. Just a few days after I watched "A Thousand heroes," the made for TV movie about the 1989 crash of United 232 in Io
41 Cmckeithen : It was on a Continental Airlines flight from Houston to New Orleans back when COL was operating the Airbus. I believe it was an A319 or an A320. Any w
42 CPH-R : Cmckeithen, that would have been the A300B4 - I don't think they ever operated the new generation of Airbus aircrafts.
43 OverseasBHX : I have a religious fear of flying, so I think it would be difficult to quote 'the worst moment'. I guess every time some incident happens, at that mom
44 Caribb : DekX - wow, what a story... must have been scary.. Good to know planes can survive that sort of punishment. I wonder if afterwards they took the aircr
45 Fsuwxman : ...Having to get off the airplane...
46 Cmckeithen : This was more of an aggravating flight than a worst moment but I hope it fits under this subject. If not sorry. I was on a Southwest B737 flight from
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