I've had a few, but still nothing will put me off flying!
The first one I remember was a major wind-sheer due to a small dust devil right before the threshold of BCN
's runway. From being on a normal approach with the A320 we were very suddenly dropped almost down onto the road and made a very, very hard landing before the piano keys. Somebody even caught a picture of it!
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Photo © Marlo Plate - Iberian Spotters
Then several years later I had a close call at PEK
when flying back to the UK; I was a bit disappointed as the aircraft was the same A343 which I had flown out on from LHR
and had delayed us by about 6 hours due to a lightening strike! About 25-30 seconds into the take-off roll one of the engines conked out, which is not great at the best of times, but even worse when you are on an A343 during a hot and humid Chinese summer. It was a long rotation, finally nudging into the air at the very end of the 3800m runway and barely climbing out, flying low to pick up airspeed. Regardless, we carried onto Heathrow, and the engine was restarted so I presume the issue was not major.
Back to Iberia for the next one, whilst still climbing out from BCN
one spring, heading towards the Pyrenees on an A320 bound for LHR
, the spoilers were raised very suddenly, power cut and the nose of the plane dropped quickly. About 15 seconds later an MD87 shot across the sky above us from the left, there was at least 1000ft separation, but it would have been a heck of a lot closer if we had continued to climb which was a little unnerving!
About the most apprehensive I have ever felt about a flight, and I have mentioned it on here before, was one winter flying from BCN
. Iberia, Spanair and Air Europa had cancelled ALL
of their (jet operated) flights because of bad weather in Mahon, so I was amazed and worried slightly that Air Nostrum decided they would be flying me there, in a Dash 8. It's still the worst approach I have ever had; one minute you could see flashes shooting through the dark night sky, the next a black mass of sea beneath. All the time the aircraft was tossed around, eventually coming in so sideways to counter the crosswind (according to the captain, crosswind and headwind were both gusting to 100mph - surely he must have meant kmph though!) that I had a perfect view of the runway from Seat 3A until a few moments before we flared and touched the wheels expertly down.
Earlier this year I had a stupidly hard landing in Damascus on a Yak 40 of Syrian Arab Airways. The pilot cut the power and put reverse thrust on some 20+ft above the ground, meaning we sank like a stone and after hitting the runway with enough force to bounce us back up, came down again heavily on the right main gear and almost veered off the runway. The first impact shook the cabin with a worrying crack; everything shook and you really felt it on the poorly padded seats. I had some quite bad chest pains after that and they only got worse, eventually landing me in hospital several times with suspected broken ribs, which was a pain to say the least. I had to cut my trip short as I could no longer walk and carry my backpack, and once I got home was told not to fly until all was healed! Well, I left it for four weeks, before flying became the easiest option, only my smooth 30 min flight PLH-BRS
turned into a roller-coaster through a thunderstorm, plenty of sheers and still the worst turbulence I've had in over 300 flights, not to mention exactly what you do not want when on strict orders to rest!
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...