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Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 7:25 am

My first scary experience was on a Korean Air 744 DFW-ICN, Flight 036. The man next to me on the plane had a heart attack as we were flying between Japan and South Korea. We landed at ICN and he was taken off the plane by ambulance.

My second strange experience was FRA-DFW on an AA 772 Flight 71. I was up in business class when flight attendants started asking if there was a doctor on board. Someone in the back of economy thougt she was having a heart attack. The woman's story became strange when she refused to be hooked up to a heart monitor. The pilot went to the back and checked her out and made the decision to circle over the Atlantic for 45 min to dump fuel and return to GLA. As we were sitting on the ground at GLA, the woman was off-loaded as we stood at a remote stand. Then, GLA security officials became suspicious of the woman, and a huge security sweep was underway. We sat on the ground at GLA for over 4 hours before we headed on our way back to DFW.

My third scary experience was on a flight from OKC-DEN on a UA 737. We were at cruising altitude when the engines suddenly got quiet. I figured we were slowing to make our descent into the DEN area. All of a sudden, channel 9, which was on for the entire flight, went quiet. As if someone turned it off. We stayed at flight level, and the captain or first officer came out of the cockpit, went to the exit row over the wing, and stared out the window on the left side. He seemed to be checking out something on the wing. Then, he returned to the cockpit, and at cruising altitude, albiet at a slower speed, the crew extended the flaps a few degrees, then retracted them. I became a little nervous as I didn't know what was going on. All the flight attendants had gathered in the back of the aircraft and were all looking at some sort of manual. We landed at DEN with no problems, but something seemed out of order on that flight. No explanation from the crew at all.

The strangest/scariest flight I have been on was actually a series of flights on UA from OKC-HKG. I checked in at OKC for the flight to Denver. At the time, UA pilots were on strike, and the VERY rude lady at the counter informed me that I would not be making it to HKG today because my flight to LAX from Denver had been cancelled. I was upset as the flight from LAX-HKG would be my first flight on a 747. She told me that I could go through YVR on Air Canada to HKG, on the A340. I declined as my other alternative was to get to LAX that night, spend the night, and make the next morning's flight to HKG. I wanted to ride on the 744 so badly. Well, I get to LAX, and NO luggage. The airline had no idea where my luggage had gone. So, in the same clothes I had worn the entire day before, and without toiletries, I headed off to HKG the next morning. I get a call from UA at my hotel in HKG, 3 days after the luggage was lost, and my luggage accidentally was sent to FRA. Apparently, the people who checked in before me at OKC were headed to FRA and my luggage got tagged there. They couldn't explain how it happened, but they said my luggage would arrive in HKG the next day, I think via Lufthansa, I maybe wrong though. (How funny, I've always wanted to do the "Around the World" flight, and my luggage did it before me.)

Well, everything on the return flight was going smoothly. After a LONG take off role at HKG, our UA 744 Flight 001 was headed to LAX. Everything was fine until we hit the east coast of Japan. BAM! That huge 744 took a dive to the left, as people screamed. All of you know how flexible the 744's wings are, and lemme tell you, those wings were flapping like a bird's wings. I've never seen wing flex like that. The captain came over the loudspeaker and said, SEATBELTS! We went through 3 HUGE dives like that, then the rest was all smooth to LAX.

Got on a 763 of UA headed to Denver, no problem but the usual bumpy ride into DEN. However, while sitting at DEN, I could see storms building in the east as the evening wore on. I was thinking, GREAT another bumpy ride. Well, I got onto the 727 and was seated next to a VERY religious couple. I don't mind religion and I'm a Christian myself, but I hate it when people try to witness to me. DRIVES MEA Middle East Airlines (Lebanon)">ME NUTS! Anyway, smooth flight until that 727 started to shimmy and shake. We aren't talking little bumps either. We ended up between two storms over OKC in a holding pattern, waiting for the weather and wind to clear up over Will Rogers World Airport. It was bumpy as hell. The religious couple kept praying the entire time, holding hands. I was scared as hell. We finally were on our descent and approached the runway in what seemed to be a strong cross wind. We touched down further down the runway than expected, and I swear the left wing was only 1 foot away from the runway as we fought the cross wind. Finally were on the ground and stopped. The captain then made a complete U-turn in the middle of the runway and we taxied back to the terminal. Apparently we used a lot of the runway up on landing. We weren't allowed in the jetway because of the lightening and stayed an hour on the plane.

My final scary experience, well, not that scary, but mentionable, was on AA Flight 947 BOS-DFW, on a 762. As we were taxiing, I started looking at the right engine. I noticed that every time we throttled up, liquid was splashing out of the nacelle. I notified the flight attendant, and she notified the captain, who brought us back to the terminal. The flight was cancelled, and we were all transferred to an MD-80 flight to DFW or the 757 flight to DFW. On the return flight, flight 948, the 762 we were on went tech and we waited to have it fixed. After 2 hours, we were offloaded into the terminal. Later on, we were loaded back onto the plane, and taxied to the runway, we powered up and were rolling. Shortly after power up, the captain powered down and returned to the taxiway. Back to the terminal, we were offloaded again, and waited. We got back on the aircraft, but the problem wasn't fixed, so off again! Finally, they cancelled that flight, and we were put on a 757 to Boston. Same crew as the 767 pilot is also certified on the 757. About a month after this incident, I recieved a letter from AA saying that they apologized for the chaotic delay, and they credited my AAdvantage account 10,000 miles!

"Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy. Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy.....Okay, fine, we'll just turn 190 and Visual Our Way
Matt D
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 7:33 am

Pretty much the only scary experiences I've had were turbulence related. My butt cheeks swallowed the seat cushion on a Reno Air MD-80 going over the Sierra's, an America West A320 on takeoff from LAS, an America West 737-200 on approach to LAS from ONT, and a Continental 757 inflight over the Rockies.

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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 7:42 am

I had two scary experiences, both on the same flight..... TOL->PIT on a Fokker F100.

The frirst was the fact that cabin pressure dropped 6 times on the flight. It dropped enough that people became dizzy (some passing out), though the oxygen masks never dropped.

The second was the same flight when after we were at druising altitude and one engine powered down. I was in the rear of the plane, and on those types of older planes with the fuselage mounted engines, they are loud. Well, it was completely silent on one side and you could hear something going on with it... then silence as we completed the rest of the flight on one engine.
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 7:45 am


No offence, but I hope I am never on a flight with you!  Big grin

I'd say you were a little unlucky. I've been on several hundred flights and nothing "unusual" has ever happened to me - thank goodness.

Take care

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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 8:17 am

On a flight from BDL-DFW, I saw an elderly woman get up to use the lav, there was a pretty long line for coach, so she made her way up into first, this was in 1997 (I think) so curtains were still used, she didn't come back. A little while later, one of the flight attendants came over the PA asking if there was a doctor on board, luckily there was. After landing and parking in DFW, when the curtains were drawn you could see that medics had rushed on to the plane to attend to the woman, as she had collapsed in the aisle. Watching her being taken off on a stretcher you could see she was very fazed, but concious. Luckily the rest of the pax on board were courteous and remained seated until the situation calmed down.
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 8:32 am

in 2000 i was scheduled on a SN flight DUS-BOS via brusseles. because ramp workers or ATC was on strike in belgium, we were re-scheduled to take a BA flight via LHR.

this did not only cause a long delay, but also the fact that we were scheduled on a 777. hence, me and my girlfriend were placed on two of the 3 seats of each of the 777 triple seats.

we came to sit besides a belgian or french doctor, wo was chatting to his colleague (on the other side of the aisle) all the time. the scary thing was his breath. he had the worst breath i ever experienced in my life. even when he was talking to his colleague, the gas came over to us. while he was eating, he still pulluted the air. actually, while eating i was afraid to throw up.

besides this fact, we had a nice flight into BOS.
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 8:38 am


No offence, but I hope I am never on a flight with you!

That makes two of us.  Laugh out loud
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
Matt D
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 8:39 am

Here's three.
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 8:56 am

Nothing scary here. But I'm not exactly what you'd call a frequent flyer, and it takes a bit to scare me. Bumpy ride? Bring it on! Only thing I don't like about turbulences is when they make other people feel bad, everyone should be able to enjoy a fun ride. Big grin
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 9:59 am

1. An uncontained engine failure on EZE-MEX, 747

2. Aborted takeoff at or near V1 and then evacuated in the middle of the runway on MTY-CUN, 727-200
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 10:05 am

UAL 747. I've been on more flights than I can count, and can only recall one scary experience. I was flying into Madras (now Chennai) in South India on and Air India A310-300, in what I can best describe as heavy monsoon rain. About 12 minutes from touch down there was an almighty bang and I saw the right wing bend to a terrifying angle. The plane felt like someone was trying to roll it over and the passengers could feel the heavy rudder input the pilots were applying. We continued to what was a slightly bumpy landing, although after that experience almost anything can be classed as slightly bumpy!
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 10:11 am

Back in 1990 my mom and I were flying from MSY to CVG on a DL 727 and while we were at cruising altitude (must have been rather low) the plane suddenly dropped around 1000ft.
Of course people started screaming and so on.
After a minute or so the Captain told us that he had to get out of the way of a private aircraft that was on our flight path.
Could have gottten messy...

My mom also likes to tell the story who we had a power outage in the cabin on an LH flight from BOS to FRA some time during the 80's, with oxygen masks falling down and all.

And of course the usual go around that scare people, but what aviation enthusiast doesn't like those for kicks once in a while...
Where have all the tri-jets gone...
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 10:16 am

Here's four. The only scary thing, though I know it was perfectly normal and we were never in danger was on a CO morning flight. EWR-LGW. We were delayed for an hour due to a thnderstorm and finally took off, the plane was struggeling to gain altitude and finally when the clouds were getting lighter, bam! a bolt of lightening hit the wing of our DC-10. Plane shuddered and beyond the noise it was fine, turned out to be a nice flight and great clear approach into London. Other then that, just having bags sent to HPN instead of GRB and a well placed $50 getting me up front once or twice...-Matt in KITH
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 10:22 am

my only times were.. 1) landing at Sioux City (IA) a week after the United DC-10 accident a few years back ( seeing the charred runway gave me the creeps) & 2) landing at JFK coming back from Germany - we were about to touch on the runway when all the sudden the plane jerks almost straight up (pilot says "we came too close to the plane in front of us).
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 10:51 am

Never had any really scary for me and hope not to ever even though If I plan on being a pilot I sure I will have a few engine fires and stuff. I can just think of some turbulance and once on a chalks plane and the landing gear landing gear horn went off but no big deal there. Hope to keep it that way.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 12:47 pm

Lightening strike after takeoff from TUN on AZ headed to FCO.

APU unit acting up before takeoff on TWA MD80 flight from STL to BOS. Strong odor of fumes in the cabin. Returned to the gate and change of AC.

Aborted takeoff on TWA 727 from STL-PHX. Another AC on runway.

AA LAX-BOS 762 just prior to landing we hit some heavy chop due to TS activty in July. Never had turbulence as bad as that.
Someday the sun will shine down on me in some faraway place - Mahalia Jackson
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 1:36 pm

UA flight 847 (757) March 22nd, 2003, LGA-IAD. (Orange Alert, first days of the Iraq War)

The plane is sitting at the gate for an unusually long time. After about 10 minutes of just sitting there (ramp workers had all but vacated), we look out the window, all of a sudden several Port Authority police cars speed around the terminal and approach the plane, full lights and sirens. We look out the window, and see the cargo doors opening, as several men in suits get into the cargo bay. A few minutes later, some baggage is taken off and dogs start sniffing it over. At this time, 3 men in black suits get on the aircraft, walk back a few rows behind me, and tap a man on the shoulder. "Sir, we're gonna have to ask you to step off this aircraft." He gives a dirty look to them but complies. Then the captain comes over the PA (in a very obviously distressed and nervous tone):

"Ladies and gentleman, this is your captain. I am sure you have seen some commotion going on in the Cabin, and a passenger being removed from the flight. This passenger was obviously intoxicated, and during check in he had made several threats against our aircraft, as well as passing out literature. We felt it has been a prudent move in thinking of our passengers safety, to go ahead and call the Port Authority and have this passenger removed from the flight. We are taking all the necessary steps to ensure safety, and this flight will continue as soon as we feel everything has been checked out."

About a minute later, the captain and some guys in suits come down and pat down the area this guy was in, making sure he left nothing behind. A few minutes later, he comes on again and says:

"Ok we now feel like the flight is safe to depart, the area has been searched. The flight will depart about ten minutes late, and we expect to make up for lost time in flight. Again we thank you for flying United Airlines, and we hope you enjoy your flight."

I have to say, I had always been a little bit nervous about flying, but on this trip I completely cured it. Between a takeoff in a blizzard and an excellently handled security situation, I am now completely at ease.

And all at once the crowd begins to sing: Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 1:43 pm

It's not really scary, but I haven't flown enough A-320s to get used to the weird noises they make. Each time I'm in one I think something is broken and we'll return to the gate.
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 2:12 pm

Well, my "scary experience", well, it's more funny rather than scary was during takeoff on a BHM-HOU flight on the WN triple crown aircraft about a little over a year ago. This was during a thunderstorm, and before the plane came to the gate for the previous passengers to deplane and let us get on, the plane had to sit out for a while due to lightning strikes. When the plane pulled up, I was pretty glad to ride home on a special WN bird, and when we boarded, I got to sit next to this nice looking girl around my age while my parents sat one row ahead and across from me. So, here I am, trying to keep my cool, while we taxi out to the runway, thunder booming and everything, and we start our takeoff roll, and we start our climb. While climbing, the plane is rocking side to side, and we dropped a little. You hear a few people throughout the cabin go "woah!", as for me, I kinda sorta grabbed the seat in front of me, and then, quickly let go, and regained my cool, as if nothing happened. My mom turned around, and laughed at me. So, I hope some of you got a nice little laugh outta this story. Nothing scary has really happened on any flight I've been on. My travels have been pretty good.
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 2:26 pm

I sat next to my mother in law on a seven hour flight to Italy........

Now that was strange and scary  Big grin
I don't care if the sun don't shine, I do my drinkin in the evening time when I'm in Rhode Island
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 3:52 pm

KBOS: Hilarious

MasseyBrown: I know what you are talking about! They sure make some strange noises.

I have had two "scary" flights. One was SAN>LHR on a BA 777. Flying over Kansas in the dark there were some serious thunderstorms below us. All of a sudden the pilot came on in a very serious manner and stated that planes in front of us are reporting very serious turbulence and that everyone, including flight attendants are to belt themselves in. Within 10 minutes all hell broke loose. Bins were coming down, people were screaming. The plane was getting bounced all over the place. We kept climbing and climbing trying to find smoother air (got to 42,000 feet). Eventually we cleared it but there was a mess from all the bins that opened. My buddy and I were in the last row and we were pretty snickered from drinking gin/tonics since the plane took off so we spent the time planing cards and pretending we were on a roller coaster, but there were some nervous people on that plane. The girl across the aisle from us was on her first flight and she was really crying. She honestly thought she was going to die.

Second "scary" story was when I flew LAX>LHR on a BA 744 right when Heathrow was having all the terrorist warnings and the tanks were all over the place. We took off the day after the group of "Arab" men were arrested around Heathrow for suspicous behavior. I was suppose to be traveling with one friend and my other friend and his wife. The friend & wife bowed out because they were scared of flying into Heathrow. I said sc*ew it if I die I die and went ahead and flew. I won't say I was scared but I definately was the most nervous I have ever been on a landing. I was just waiting to see a flash of flight and trail from somewhere in the woods around Heathrow...

That's my two stories!

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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 4:18 pm

The only really scary moment I've had was actually last Monday, flying SEA-NRT. We were past Alaska out over the North Pacific when we smelled smoke. It turned out to be something an F/A had put in an oven (we were sitting right next to the galley) and it burned, but for a moment, man, I was thinking "this is a bad place to be...we might end up in one of those 'water landings'."

Did make me rethink the whole LROPS issue, that's for sure.

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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 4:57 pm

I've had two scary experiences that I remember - maybe some others that I've forgotten too but one of the two scary ones pretty much crowds everything else out. (The other was not really a big deal and I'm surprised I remember it.)

Shortly after the AA DC-10 crash in Chicago (flight 191), after which all DC-10's were grounded and then recertified, I was flying from EWR-SFO (or maybe OAK) on a DC-10, alone, at 8 years old. This was December 1980. I already had a healthy fear of DC-10's, being that I was 8 and didn't know any better and was just going along with the general public's feeling at the time. So, shortly after takeoff, I hear screams from the opposite side of the plane - the right side. I look over there and while I can't see much, I can definitely see an alternating orange/blue glow. The airplane immediately levels out and power is reduced. Naturally, I immediately think of AA 191 and assume we're about to crash.

The captain comes over the PA and says something very close to the effect of "I'm sure some of you on the right side saw a little flash, and we've had a little engine fire out there so we're going to turn around, dump some fuel and land back at Newark. We should be on the ground in about 20 minutes." Of course, I don't believe him, and by this time I'm bawling my eyes out. I couldn't shake the idea that I was going to die alone, and just a kid. The rest of the passengers were in various states... some were calm, some others were crying, some were loudly moaning or otherwise showing audible discomfort. I think that obviously AA 191 and its aftermath was still on everybody's minds; engine fires are not really that uncommon but this was a DC-10 and it was just after takeoff and it was 1980.

Anyway, so eventually we start descending and naturally I assume we're in the process of crashing. You have no idea how amazing it was to see the lights of the airport suddenly come up out the window - I mean approaching EWR is just flying over houses and stuff, and it was at night, so for all I knew we were flying over downtown Trenton at that point and about to wake up an apartment building full of people. We had the full emergency procession chase after us down the runway, Airport '75 style (must have been about 20 fire engines and other vehicles), but otherwise the landing was pretty normal. Obviously a lot of applause afterwards, though.

Afterwards, United treated me and the one other child travelling alone on that flight like royalty. I sometimes wonder what they'd do in that case today. My mom (who'd dropped me off at the airport) had already gone home and gone to sleep and they couldn't reach her, but they managed to reach my dad (where I was going) who said to just put me on another flight if I didn't mind. After I got off the plane I felt fine so I said ok. Anyway, they had a guy who took us out for dinner and bought us big ice cream sundaes, then they put us in first class on the redeye flight. It was also a DC-10 but I figured, how likely is it that my second flight would crash after my first flight almost crashed? So I was ok on the second flight and enjoyed having all of first class to myself along with this little girl who was also travelling alone. We became quick friends on that flight and then never saw each other again - I sometimes wonder what ever happened to her (I don't even remember her name). I remember the stewardesses (as they were still called back then!) just went nuts on us, they gave us anything we wanted and even more... I was stuffed when I got off that plane! And I must have had about 12 cans of soda.

Second incident was very short but also involved a DC-10 a few years later - was just a hard landing that was bad enough that we had to be towed off the runway. I don't even know what happened - I never found out. I don't know if it was the brakes, or a tire that popped (seems likely) or what, but I know that we landed real hard with no flare that I could detect and then all the power went out. No air fans, no lights (except emergency lights), no nothing. It was weird; touchdown, then mostly darkness and total silence except for the engines, followed by a long sit at the end of the runway (or maybe on a turnoff). It was not really scary, just annoying because it was hot and it took a really long time to get us off the plane.

One quick comment, not sure why I found this particular story interesting but I think I'd have been pretty rattled by this too:

My third scary experience was on a flight from OKC-DEN on a UA 737. [snip stuff about the flaps being extended at cruise altitude] We landed at DEN with no problems, but something seemed out of order on that flight.

There probably was something out of order but it probably was no big deal. I would bet either a warning indicator went off in the cockpit or the flap indicators were obviously not working correctly and the pilots had to just visually check the operation of the flaps. They probably made preparations for either a no-flaps landing or a partial-flaps landing (e.g. no inboard, or no outboard), but sounds like they were able to land normally by your description, so it was most likely something simple like a blown fuse in the cockpit or a faulty indicator light.
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 5:13 pm

When I was in my early teens, my family lived abroad and I attended boarding school in UK, flying (unaccompanied!) home for the school holidays. I remember a scary experience on a PIA 707 flying LHR to Rome that encountered severe turbulence over the Alps. The plane was shaking badly and the flight commander made an announcement to reassure the passengers that they were not in any danger. This reassured a few passengers until some members of the cabin crew got on their knees in the aisle and started to bow, praying to their Gods!

Another scary experience was on a Laker DC10, flying back from JFK shortly after the grounding of the DC10 had been lifted. The flight was progressing smoothly and all my worries about the DC10 had disappeared until suddenly the flight attendant announced, "Ladies and Gentlemen I am afraid we have an emergency!" What was it? was racing in my thoughts - faulty cargo door, faulty engine pylon or another problem that affected the DC10. My fear turned to anger when the flight attendant continued her announcement, "….I am afraid that we left the coffee behind at New York!"

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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 5:21 pm

I sat next to my mother in law on a seven hour flight to Italy........

You poor thing! Did you require therapy after that? I'm sure I would!
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 5:37 pm

well its not scarry, but i was actually nervous about flying for the first time in my whole life a couple of years ago before and on a super early morning domestic aeromexico flight on one of their MD-87's from mexico city to culiacan. I can honestly say this was the first time ive prayed constantly before and on a flight. Reasons why, there was one of those famous mexican storms in progress and the whole street beside Aeropuerto Plaza was flooded about twelve inches(thanks to mexico's uncanny lack of storm drains) and i remembered some of the horror stories from my friends about central and south american aviation, and it didnt help that the interior was very worn down. From taxi to take off i was grasping the ends of the armrests. I felt better when the sunlight came and they started serving breakfast an actual hot breakfast.

....But the funny thing is, i wasnt nervous at all on the DC-9 flight back one week later, must have been that new 717 style interior....
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 7:00 pm

Final Approach into Wellington/WLG was quite eye opening to say the least.
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 9:16 pm

had a go-around on a LH 320 at HAM, due to crosswinds - I loved it as it seemd exciting, but many people were very frightened.

Once on a BA 767 from Venice to LHR, we were approchign behind Concorde and got caught in the wash, so bounced about like mad and people's books and papers were hitting the roof - lots of pax screaming!
cabin crew: doors to automatic and cross-check...
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 10:06 pm

Had some very very bad turbulence coming back to LTN on Monarch a couple years ago. Not so scary for me, but a lot of people on board were screaming and crying with one woman reassuringly screaming "We're going to die!!".

Was actually quite fun for a while until I started feeling sick. One FA said it was the worst turbulence she'd ever experienced.

Another pretty nerve wracking situation was on a UA flight last year. A woman had taken her son of about 2 or 3 to the toilet. As she flushed the boys foot had found its way down into the toilet. The loud ''whooooosh'' the toilets make when flushing made her think her son would be sucked down!! (despite the hole being about 3 inches diametre) She quickly pulled her son out and the sharp metal edge of the hole sliced a large part off the top of his foot.
Obviously the boy was in a lot of pain and luckily (how cliche) there was a doctor onboard sitting just behind who helped attend the boy.

Wasn't really scary or strange, just memorable.

i'm so excited i wish i could wet my pants!
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 11:15 pm

Well... last year I was arriving in MEx from CDG with AF (B744), when the plane was landing & a few second after it touched down, it started to climb up so fast... a minute later, the captain said to all passengers "we had to do that because another plane was in the middle of our way"... it was a little bit scary.

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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Mon Sep 06, 2004 11:35 pm

1. Go-around due to crosswinds on a LH737 at ZRH. Loved it  Wink/being sarcastic

2. On a LH346, west of Shannon - "diving" from FL340 down to SNN in less than 30 minutes due to burning smell in the galley. Then using every single foot of SNN's runway to stop and wait for 12 hours for the plane to go again!
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:40 am

We were taxiing for take off from JNB on a BA 744. Something didn't even feel right on the TAXI!! It was like the wheels were flat! Anywayz we waited at the threshold and finally got clearance for takeoff. The engines revved up but stopped at, what felt like, the half way mark. We kinda taxied down the runway at like 90 mph and then FULL throttle was selected. We managed to finally get off this stinkin runway, got to about 1000 feet from the ground with a 15 degree climb, but we didn't seem to get any higher. I was already a bit freaked but then came the storm.
Oh man this scared the s**t out of me. We could see the lightning about a mile away. The turbulence was terrifying. I was even cluching my parents hands sobbing thinking "oh man BA054 is gonna be my last flight".
Finally we managed to get out of it and cruised at 27000ft for a while.
That wasn't it. We started descending !! This time to avoid another storm that was at 29000 Ft. We went to 22000 feet and cruised there. I asked the cabin crew what was going on and he said "oh, sometimes the air traffic control tells the pilot to do something sometimes" I was like yeah whatever!  Wink/being sarcastic

Well that's my little story.I have hated turbulence ever since! I used to enjoy it!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:57 am

Well, I never found an answer to my strange and very scary experience- maybe someone of you might know a reason...

I was sitting on a GERMANIA F100, in not the best state, flying crusing altitude. Now something strange happened, I am working as a flight crew and know many strange things, but this was certainley new for me...

It is difficult to explain for me, but will do my best. I was sitting right next the overwing exit, suddenly I heard a loud whistling noise. Like someone was not closing the window right on the motorway. my seat started to shake, and the row started to vibrate, you could have seen waves on the coffee. This noise was soo loud, it was impossible to start conversation. the crew was helpless, so I required the pilot to look after it! well, he came around and tould me, that all functions were normal. probably the window seal was frozen and couldn't regulate the pressure.

we continued the flight, but I was (the first time) really happy, to get out of he plane!! BTW. This sound stopped, as soon as we finished our descent- I would like to know the real cause, any idea???
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Tue Sep 07, 2004 2:17 am

1) on a MH B744 KUL - LHR. 15 minutes before scheduled landing time, got diverted to LGW due to fog at LHR. Fog was really bad at LGW too and had one hell of a heavy landing followed by 2 hours on the apron as they'd no facilities to de-plane us there. Taxied to the runway and took off for LHR. About 10 mins after take off, a AMM 757 flew over us from right to left, so close above us my mate nearly passed out when he saw it - would love to know if that was logged as a near miss. Finally, had to go-around at LHR as the fog had dropped again before finally lading in one piece. We were real glad to be off that flight for sure.

2) go-around on MON B733 at SKG when ATC cleared us to land before a light a/c had even commenced its take off roll.

3) on an LZ TU154 flying from VAR - SOF having been diverted to VAR the night before due to fog (again!). Shortly after t/o, the pilot came down and was leaning to look out the window near me. The undercarriage on our side was still down, but on the other it had retracted! It was the first time I'd really noticed that the u/c on a 154 faces direction of travel. I can tell you I was clinging onto my seat when we approached SOF for fear the faulty u/c might collapse on landing, thankfully it did not.

4) flying thro a T-storm on a UA B772 on approach to IAD and turbulence like I've never known.

All these pre-1996. Touch wood, nothing to speak of on over 200 flights since.

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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Tue Sep 07, 2004 2:31 am

These are things that I have seen as a pilot:

1) During a spin that my instructor was flying and I had my eyes closed until he was to say "Recover" in a Cap-10, the engine quit. I opened my eyes and looked up after the silence to see the prop straight up and down! The engine did start after four tries.

2) Not as scary as it just made me think...the motorglider that I saw at our altitude as I looked behind us. A split second earlier my instructor pulled himself up by the glareshield to look down at it. It was climbing through the altitude we were descending through by the time I turned around, so it must have been very close.

3) Picking up ice for the first time, which was also the first time I was on an IFR flight alone. Extremely frustrating to request a lower altitude from the center controller only to have him not acknowledge and give vectors and frequences to a dozen airlines before calling me back and telling me to expect lower from the next controller.

Nothing on airliners, except maybe yesterday, for the first time seeing a person vomit on an airplane (737). The thing I realized from this was just how accustomed to maneuvering in IMC your system can become. Initially I would have to force myself to not move my head in clouds, turns, etc. Yesterday, it was dark and we were in clouds and I thought nothing of it as I talked to my friends and moved my head all around.

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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Tue Sep 07, 2004 2:35 am

While not all that scary (to me, that is), my experiences have been mostly with turbulence. I was on a UA 727-200 from DEN-CMH back in 1994, cruising along at FL330 somewhere over Iowa, when the aircraft simply rose up like a high-speed elevator, and then STOPPED. More than anything, it was funny. Whoever had anything on their trays basically didn't anymore. I remember more than one person getting splashed with coffee, pop, beer -- you name it. No injuries, but I was sitting next to a woman who was only on her 2nd or 3rd flight ever. Didn't do her a whole lot of good.

The only "doctor on board" experience I've had so far came in 1982, enroute from SFO-JFK on an AA DC10. It was a red-eye flight, and, at about mid-point in the flight, a woman jumped up and proclaimed quite loudly, "Get me off this flight NOW!!!" Fortunately, there was more than one doctor, and they had to tranquilize her. I don't know if she had claustrophobia, or what.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Tue Sep 07, 2004 3:25 am

On a LH Airbus 340 from FRA - PHX the business class restroom door hinge broke. So I fixed it... earned myself a nice botle of red wine from the purser...

Otherwise no scary incidents at all after flying for almost 35 years...
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Tue Sep 07, 2004 4:28 am

My scariest was on a Lufthansa A340-313X going from FRA to ORD. It was clear outside, and we were over the Atlantic, probably 3-4 hours into the flight. I was staring out the window aimlessly at Greenland, when all of a sudden there was a huge BOOM! The lights in the cabin cut out. It feels like we dropped a bit. I knew we hit some wind shear or something, but I was still a little shaken. The rest of the flight went perfect though!
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Tue Sep 07, 2004 6:25 am

I remember a flight with Cathey Pacific from LHR - HKG.
We had maybe 2-3 hours left to HKG then it suddenly started to pour water from overhead. And it was not little water coming down. Some people had to change seat not to get showered.The flight attendants was running around with things to contain the water.

They said it was from the aircon systems and they had showed sample of the water to the captain and he said it was nothing serious. Luckily it was just the 2-3 last hours

I was never afraid then it happened. But afterwards I was thinking it could get worse if the water was short circuit systems.

Then we started to descend a FA said now it is time for business class to get a shower  Smile and 1 could hear the sound of the water flowing overhead.
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Wed Sep 08, 2004 3:46 am

Scariest flight I’ve taken (..and I’ve taken nearly a thousand), was a Lufthansa B747 from Frankfurt to New Delhi. Two hours before landing the weather became turbulent with some shaking going on but nothing to cause undue alarm. 15 minutes later its becomes worse, drinks are sliding off the tray-tables, but still I has seen worse so was just mildly amused, I was in J class so belt up and got comfortable. It continues to get worse and Commander makes an announcement for crew to abandon beverage service and get seated asap. The next 1 hour was the worst. The Commander dimmed the cabin lights so it became quite dark (it was night outside). The aircraft lurched non-stop up-and-down and from left to right, shuddering violently and shaking, wings flapping like mad. Some folks would yelp at each lurch, others were praying, a young teenage girl on the aisle was crying. I got quite alarmed as I’ve seen turbulence but the 747 generally manages to buffer and pull through but this was amazing, it was like being tossed about like a dinghy in the open ocean. The engines kept going from ordinary cruising power to full-scream ahead as the Commander tried to rapidly climb after losing what seemed like a few hundred feet in less than a second. People started throwing up, overhead luggage bins opened and things fellout and bottles and cutlery were being tossed around in the galley as I could hear them breaking. It seemed to go on forever and even one of the F/A’s looked alarmed when I turned around and looked back at her. When it appeared that things had steadied it would start all over again. Finally when we were landing at Delhi, there was a torrential monsoon, this added to the mess, when we touched down rocking and rolling all the way it felt like we were shot down as it was a very hard landing. Commander came on the PA and apologized saying that we were overflying Afghanistan and Afghani flight controllers could not give them permission to change flight lanes and move to other altitudes to escape from the turbulence because several of the available air lanes were closed and there was too much traffic all around us. That was definitely the scariest flight, about 1.5 hours of being rolled around in a 747 like that was not fun. The aircraft looked like a mess as things were all over the place. When we got to the gate they did not let anyone off and LH ground crew had medical personnel ready incase someone needed help first to get off, LH was very good about it though, but it was no-ones fault really.
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Wed Sep 08, 2004 5:05 am

Speaking of turbulence has there ever been a documented case of a modern-day jet airliner crashing because of structural failure caused by turbulence?

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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Wed Sep 08, 2004 5:37 am

hey Mark, i remember at riddle we studied a lot of windsheer crashes. I don't know if you're talking about high altitude turbulence causing crashes, but i remember a Pan Am 727 i think back in the 70-80s that took off RIGHT into the microburst from a CB cell and then crashed shortly after. Actually now im thinking about this stuff, there was a Delta Tristar that went down because of microburst im not sure of the city, Dallas i think, oh heck someone will correct me right ? It was on aproach, hit the burst, couldn't recover from it and crashed short of the field and smashed into some water towers i believe, lots of dead from burns... terrible....

I will think of some more. I remember reading about a Dc-9 jet that flew threw a heavy hail storm and had a double flame out. Thank god for continuous ignition  Big grin


The only time there is too much fuel onboard, is when you're on fire!
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Wed Sep 08, 2004 5:41 am

Thanks Pilotaydin! I knew about those but I am referring to entering heavy turbulence at high altitude having it so bad that the aircraft structure literally failed. I have never heard of that... But maybe someone has?

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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Wed Sep 08, 2004 2:22 pm

Speaking of turbulence has there ever been a documented case of a modern-day jet airliner crashing because of structural failure caused by turbulence?

It depends on how you define "modern-day". The last crash I know of due to turbulence was this one:

However, there have been more recent structural failures attributed at least in part to turbulence, though there's always an extra factor or two involved. For example, a China Airlines 747 went out of control at altitude in severe turbulence and lost large pieces of its vertical stabilizer in the process, along with a whole lot of other parts, but landed safely. The actual cause, though, was a loss of situational awareness by the pilot, who inadvertantly allowed the airplane to enter a spin and dive before regaining control.

Another example is the Evergeen 747 that had an engine and much of the control surfaces on its left wing torn off in extreme turbulence (actually I think the pilots described it to ATC as something like "extreme, extreme, extreme, just the worst turbulence I've ever seen"). Again, though, there was another factor, which was a pre-existing flaw in the engine pylon. So while this incident wouldn't have happened without the turbulence, it still shouldn't have happened even with turbulence. This plane did come very close to crashing - they could not hold altitude with the increased drag on the left wing. All of the pilots say right on the CVR tape after landing how scared they were.

Airplanes are very strong and normally they should be ok in turbulence. But humans make mistakes and turbulence can magnify those mistakes. In severe turbulence the auto-pilot is generally turned off so human factors play more of a role. And of course any maintenance or other pre-existing structural issues can also play more of a role in turbulence.
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Wed Sep 08, 2004 2:35 pm

On final to HNL while in bed in the dome of a Philippines airlines 747-200 "skybed" (18 very nice bunk beds) we hit a drop that would have crushed us into the roof if not strapped in. Also has an engine blow on NWA #1 on 1-1-81! from lax to mnl. we had to go back to the gate, and 36 deportees who had been taken to the plane and loaded by immigration, who quickly drove off as soon as the plane pushed back, were no place in sight, so the wetbacks from the philippines ran like hell back into the jungle of L.A.!
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:43 pm

I had a good friend who was on that Detla 767(?) that took off from LAX many years back and almost plummeted into the sea during climb, until at the very last moment the captain realized he had accidently hit a switch to cut the throttles, and everything was ok... Meanwhile, my grandfather TWICE (due to traffic) missed flights that crashed, killing everyone on board.

As for me, it's really more in the strange than scary category:
The last time I took a 727, several years back, it was an overnight flight, and I (foolishly) asked for an exit row, thinking, you know, more legroom...

HA HA, on this plane the emergency slide was not contained inside the door, but was actually in an extra plastic compartment that blocked all of the space where my legs and feet should go. So I basically had to keep my legs pulled up on the seat.

To make SURE I got no rest, the guy next to me spoke incessantly throughout the flight, and pretty much ALL he said, over and over, was this: "We're going to crash, I know it! This plane is doomed, I can tell! Why can't I have a f**king cigarette, we're going to crash" (he kept pulling out cigarettes and sucking on them without lighting them too)...he also tried to hit on the f/a by telling her how he'd gotten thrown out of the army or something. Needless to say, I was pretty bleary-eyed in the morning
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Thu Sep 09, 2004 4:56 pm

Back when I was 12 or 13 while on short approach to DFW on AA Eagle Saab 340 I was looking out the window when all of the sudden the engine quit. I remember thinking that it was odd but it didn't phase me at all. We landed with out any problem and taxied to the gate on one engine without any explanation from the flight crew. If something similar happened to me today I would probably sh*t my pants. It kind of funny how my perspective on these things have changed as I've gotten older.

[Edited 2004-09-09 10:00:39]
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Thu Sep 09, 2004 5:09 pm

I had a good friend who was on that Detla 767(?) that took off from LAX many years back and almost plummeted into the sea during climb, until at the very last moment the captain realized he had accidently hit a switch to cut the throttles, and everything was ok...

You know, I probably wouldn't even believe this could have possibly ever actually happened if I hadn't read about it in an NTSB accident report. It was a report about another accident but they mentioned this incident as part of a pattern of pilot errors at the airline at that time.

It's amazing that any pilot could inadvertantly shut off the engines just after takeoff. Just amazing. If I was your friend, I would have been scared out of my mind. I wonder if many other passengers realized what kind of danger they were in.

Yes, it was a 767.
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Thu Sep 09, 2004 6:44 pm

i fly 120'000-150'000 miles a year, most of them on CX, and mostly nothing happens.

last year there was one TPE-AND OLD: Hong Kong - Kai Tak International (HKG / VHHH) (closed), China - Hong Kong">HKG flight that just wouldn't stop shaking. turbulence was so strong we had to decend from FL3X0 to 290 then to 210 and finally were plowing ahead at 19000 feet for the rest of the 1 1/2 hour flight - which took almost 2 hours. The most amazing thing about the flight was the old Chinese lady next to me who finished her dinner while everyone else was just holding on to their seats. She kept smiling and finally, over Penghu when the worst turbulence started and we decended to 19'000, she fell asleep and kept smiling in her sleep.  Smile

In April 2003 my boy-friend and I were on the CX flight from NRT to TPE. After take off, the front gear wouldn't retract, we cruised at 5'000 feet for 1/2 hour before they 'pulled it up manually' (thats what the captain annouced, I never know what he really ment). We climbed to cruising altitude and after we passed the Fuji-san, we hit strong turbulence and strong side winds. All service was suspended. 10 minutes later commotion in the back of the plane started, F/A kept running back and forth, and finally the captain announced that there was a passenger aboard with fever, constantly coughing and SUSPECTED to MAYBE have the SARS virus. Most of the passengers were Chinese/Taiwanese, so nobody much reacted to the English annoucement. A linguistically challenge F/A then translated and announced in Chinese (wrongly) WE HAVE A SARS PATIENT ON BOARD AND SHE REFUSES TO PUT ON HER MASK. Well all hell broke loose!. This totally irresponsible girl - obviously scared to death herself - basically told everyone they were going to die right there and then. People tried to move away from the back of the plane, actual skirmishes broke out as passengers from the back of Y moved up to J, some barricading the stairs to the upper deck of the 747.
The plane was quarantined at TPE for 2 hours. The woman just got excited because of the inflight turbulence, she never had a fever, and certainly not SARS.
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RE: Strange/Scary Experiences While Flying

Thu Sep 09, 2004 8:27 pm

not two weeks ago, i returned from SIN to FRA (LH 744) and while we were cruising north of the Caspian Sea (at night, obviously) the landing lights (located in the wings) went on. i could see it since someone next to the window hadn´t pulled down the window shade (???) and so i could easily see that the landing lights were illuminated and shone brightly.

i really enjoy flying, but on the other hand side, i´m someone who wants to be in control and that is the one thing you are not when being a passenger on a plane. this is probably why i usually don´t sleep that much on planes since i always like to have the feeling of knowing what is going on.
anyway, since i´m rather familiar with navigational and operational aspects of aircraft and airlines, i was trying to come up with an explanation.
so i immediately thought that there might be some traffic very close to us so that the pilots turned on the lights in order to make it easy for other aircraft to localize our 744 in the night sky. i even thought, there could have been a TCAS (traffic collision and avoidance system) warning and i was waiting for some evasive procedures by the flight crew, but nothing happened.

later on the ground, while talking to another LH captain, i asked him about this strang occurence and he thought that i was talking about the landing lights being turned on at flight level 100 during descent which is a standard thing. so when i told him it was at cruising altitude still hours before descent, he was quite startled as well. although he could not provide a definite explanation, he supposed that in some areas, such as in South Russia close to the Caspian Sea, ATC coverage is obviously not that good and sophisticated so that the landing lights might be switched on to enable other planes to see the aircraft. apparently, that is the same thing that i thought of in the first place, however, it seems to be a common thing and it is nowhere as "dramatic" as i first thought.

probably happens often, but i never noticed it!
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