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Worst Landings . . .

Sat Aug 21, 1999 5:56 pm

Can you remember your worst landings - the real "did we land or were we shot down ones, that make you check your molars?
I remember, not so long ago, BA started flying A320s to Jersey, here in the Channel Islands. The A320 was new to Jersey, which has quite a short runway. The crew were obviously quite anxious to get it down early and a stiff wind didn't help. The landing was one of the heaviest I can remember - I'm sure I heard something falling down in the back galley - but it was safe one.

RE: Thai Nightmare

Sat Aug 21, 1999 7:12 pm

Oh yes, I know just what you mean. We were flying back to Colombo (CMB) from Bangkok last Xmas (25th). The aircraft was a Thai A300-600, and we were making our approach at around 10.50pm local (pretty much on schedule, for a 11pm arrival).

I was already a little on edge from the onset of our approach; the skies were clear, but as is most often the case in Tropical areas, there were very strong convection currents rising from the ground, even at that time, and they were giving us one hell of a ride; the wingtips were swinging up and down wildly, whilst the ground got closer and closer; now I'm no pilot, but as we came in for finals, my instincts were telling me that we were flying in far too fast, and the same went for the descent rate; we screamed past the threshold (wings still swinging wildly-yes, now I was bracing myself for something!), and I was thinking "Oh S***".
We slammed onto the runway (my father woke up for the first time since we took-off from BKK) on our left side first, then the rest of the right side of the aircraft came crashing down to earth (literally). We stepped off "Chiang Rai", all a bit shaken really, although I remember smiling to myself, as I stepped aboard the transit bus, at the irony of it all.
After all, this was Thai, smooth as silk!

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RE: Worst Landings

Sat Aug 21, 1999 9:09 pm

It was in 1995 when I flew from San Fransisco to Washington Dulles. After a few hours in that B747-12X United Airlines we started our descent to Dulles. We got into very bad weather and heavy turbolences. I've flown already many times in 747's, but I've never been in one that got shaken that much by winds and weather! I know that samller aircrafts easely get shaken by turbolences, but a Jumbo?! Because of that thunder storm beyond us (the pilot told us) we had to fly in a circle. So we were circeling for more than two hours I think. And it still was very bumpy and shaking. The the pilot spoke to us again. They closed Dulles because of that thunderstorm and the fuel reserve is getting critical. So we had to land at Baltimore. We stopped at the end of the runway, where we had to wait again for a few hours while it was raining outside, non-stop. While standing at the end of the runway our 747 got refueled. I took a picture of a fuel-truck behind our left wing, while we got refueled. Finaly we could take off again for our 15 minutes flight to Dulles, which was open again. And then my absolutely worst experience of a landing happened. It was still very windy and raining, but the plane wasn't shaking anymore. I remember very well how concerned I was about the descent rate. I already saw the runway beyond us, and the concret was approaching very fast. I've heared that pilots sometimes do "hard landings" on purpose when the runway is wet or if it's windy. Is that right?
Well, the landing really was hard..very very hard. I coulnd't believe it. Bang, many overhead-lockers fell open, and even some oxygen-masks fell off their box and were hanging in front of our faces. There was also a noise from the middle-galley, something must have sprung open there as well. What a landing!!! But only when I stood up after we reached the gate, I felt my back hurting a bit.

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RE: Worst Landings . . .

Sun Aug 22, 1999 12:21 am

The worst landing that I had was coming home flying into PHL on a US Airways 737-300 in May of '98. We were coming home on the red-eye from LAS. I woke up around 6:30 A.M. local time, about 30 minutes before we were supposed to land. We were making our approach to 27R. There were clear skies, and the approach looked good, right untill we had to make a short left turn to line up. The pilot had alittle trouble with it (maybe he just woke up too!) and hit the left wheel first on the runway really hard. We were up on one wheel for what seemed and unusual long period of time. The right wheel then slammed on the ground. Soon after he came on the PA and apoligized for the rough landing.

Philadelphia, PA
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Sun Aug 22, 1999 5:02 am

I was on my way home to YVR from YYZ in a B757 (airline to be unnamed) a little while back. We began our descent into Vancouver and the captain's voice pops up over the PA:
"Ladies and Gentlemen......... yadda yadda yadda...... we'll be landing on runway 24 here in Vancouver. The weather looks to be...... yadda yadda yadda."
I am a student pilot myself, and happen to know that there is NO RUNWAY 24 IN VANCOUVER! There's 26L/6, 08L/R and 12/30.
This made me quite nervous  

I watched out the window, as I always do. I notice the speed brakes come up. We're at about 2500 feet, around 1/2 a nm from the
runway. Noticably high. I continue to watch as we begin to PLUMET (the only word that can describe it) towards the ground. I happen to know that if you land with the spdbrks deployed, you strike the tail. I watched as we came closer to the runway. 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 (then RETARD if you're an airbus lover   but this was a Boeing). The speed breaks drop as we are JUST ABOUT on the runway. As we impact (YES... it certainly WASN'T a landing) the ground, there is a loud bang and a shudder before the thurst reversers come out.

To make a long story short, I made my way home via the chiropracter.

Now to be totally fair, I am a student pilot, like I said. So I have had my share of HORRIBLE landings  

But this is a B757 pilot.  

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TMA - Stands For Tarmac Maligned (on) Arrival

Sun Aug 22, 1999 5:40 am

Trans Meditteranean Airlines of Lebanon have a fleet of green 707 freighters (taking a leaf out of Braniff's book with the livery). Over the years I have often heard from planespotters (which is not something I can really claim to be myself) that TMA always make the most shocking landings. Now, they flew their schedules right through fifteen years of war, and were the first airline to fly a round-the-world cargo service, and the first to operate a 747 freighter outside the US. They have been going for 50 years. So, you'd think they know what they're doing by now, which is why I've always dismissed these persistent reports. But I saw a documentary about something political the other night and they had a shot of Beirut airport. A TMA 707 was landing and absolutely pounded that concrete. I was surprised that the gear didn't come up through the top of the wing. Then, a night or two later, I was reading an encyclopedia of airline incidents and accidents, and TMA have had, like, THREE 707s written off because of gear failure. One in Tokyo, one in Amsterdam just a year or two ago, at least one in Beirut, and maybe others. Anyone seen a TMA 707 do one of these trademark slam-dunk touchdowns?

RE: Worst Landings . . .

Sun Aug 22, 1999 7:45 am

Enjoying your stories, everyone!

I'd like to share one...

I was aboard an American Airlines MD-80 into Richmond (RIC) on a beautifully clear, smooth night. It was one of those gently quiet approaches during which everyone aboard is all serene and feeling inner-harmony. All of the sudden, I see the taxiway lights off to the side and WHAM! We hit so hard, I thought that hot dog would snap in two!

While taxiing toward the gate, the pilot says over the intercom in his fake Texas drawl, "Folks, we'd like to apoligize for that hard landing, but we'd also like to point out it was not the fault of the pilot or the airplane--it was the ground's fault!"

Nobody laughed.
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RE: Worst Landings . . .

Sun Aug 22, 1999 8:28 am

Well, I have a bad landings and landing that scared me half o death.
The landing that scared me
Lax-PSP in a little emb. Well we came in over the mountains dodging storms (it was relay bad weather) Well what we had to do is a go around I was OK with that. But the pilot banked way to much (more then 30 d.) and we were rocking all around up and down then we leveled out and glided and pulled straight up with the engines at full.......then a few seconds later we glided over the runway and WHAM touchdown!

It was ord-jfk in a 767-300
Well from the outer point I knew this one was going to be a "funky" landing... We banked to the right hard then rolled to the left and did it a few more times. then we went up at least 400 ft in a matter of secs. Then we held straight and the captian came over said we need to circle for a while due to trafic..and he said when we do go in for land pls. have ur seatbelts on scullery for the weather at jfk was bad. So we waited for a few minutes then we did almost 180* then (I think) the engines reverd up to full power and we climbed (or the opposite we climbed then reved) but we climbed waited and slammed into the ground so hard almost all the overhead bins opened and a galley cart went zooming down the isle. then capite said it was hell-bent for me! He also said windsheer was the culprit for the rough landing
well what do u all think
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RE: Worst Landings (Well Take Off In This Case)

Sun Aug 22, 1999 11:16 am

I have not had any real bad experiences when it comes to landings. Takeoffs however are a different story. You would think that a take off would be a rather straightforward procedure: raise the nose about 8-10 degrees and wait for the plane to leap into the air. Well twice I have had some unforgetable TO's.

1) Mid-late 1980's in a BA 747-200 on my way to POS. The weather was a bit foggy. The pilot must have been practising to be an astronaut because I swear we took off and hit a 90 degree angle. The air hostess who was in the rear facing seat in front of me was gripping her seat handles for dear life.

2) In transit at Grantley Adams International (BDG - Barbados) the flight was the BDG-POS (Port of Spain Trinidad) portion of the flight (YYZ-BDG-POS) [YYZ-BDG Air Canada L1011 - worst flight I have ever had: BDG-POS BWIA L1011-500]. We were running about 50 minutes late. The pilot was apparently in a hurry because he put on full thrust before we had finished turning and lining up with the runway. Now imagine a Tristar 500 rotating at about 2000 ft down the runway - impossible? - someone should have told the pilot. Due to the rather early rotation we had a tailstrike (well the very loud bang made me assume it was a tail strike) and shot up at a very steep angle indeed. To top it off he started banking to the right almost immediately. And a drinks cart decided to take a walk down the aisle.

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Joined: Mon Aug 23, 1999 5:28 pm

RE: Worst Landings . . .

Mon Aug 23, 1999 7:41 pm

Well, I've been very lucky, for the most part... BUT

I flew into Las Vegas one summer on a Southwest 737-300. Everything was fine until a few minutes before landing. The plane felt like it was being used as a punching bag, and there were "booming" noises from outside. I would've thought it was thunder except it was a clear day. The we landed (very roughly) and bounced 2 or 3 times before settling in.

Turns out that the super-heated air rising off the desert floor creates some tremendous turbulence when it meets the cool air above it.
Posts: 510
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 1999 8:53 pm

RE: Worst Landings . . .

Mon Aug 23, 1999 8:19 pm

Try flying to Lanzarote and you will know what a bad landing is. This Island has one of worst runways in the world. Even a smooth landing hurts.
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RE: 24291 & Carbondale

Tue Aug 24, 1999 9:05 am

In response to your hard MD-80 landing, the pilot got the joke all wrong. My mom is a United flight attendant and one of their pilots said it once. It goes: "It wasn't the crews fault, it was the asphalt."

My hard landing occurred early this year. It wasn't a real flight actually. Each year, United flies 100 high school students down to Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale to tour the aviaton facilities. We were in a 737-322, excellent shape. The airport was Carbondale-Murphysboro. Their longest runway (the one we landed on) was #18 and was 5800 feet long. On landing (remember, this is a short runway) we floated a little and then the pilot put the spoilers on and we hit and then slammed on the brakes to slow down. When taking back off, the pilot held the brakes & revved the engines up, then let go, we hurtled down, and he hauled up HARD.

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RE: 24291 & Carbondale

Tue Aug 24, 1999 2:43 pm

Well, landing into Larnaca, Cyprus,from Beirut the approach speed was too fast, the pilot reversed the thrust IN THE AIR, we hadnt even landed yet- and we tottaly SLAMMED down onto the runway,the front gear slammed down too... i swear that the front of the plane almost lost the gear. we careened down the RWY with full Reverse thrust and came to a stop at the very end of the RWY.
the flight attendant even said to herslef " Wow that was a rough one" the plane was an MEA A320.
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Joined: Mon Aug 09, 1999 8:25 pm

RE: Worst Landings (AA777). . .

Tue Aug 24, 1999 7:08 pm

If it happened like you said AA777 then the most obvious reason that you came down very hard is because the airplane stalled and basically dropped (fell - like a brick) onto the runway. Depending on the height (you didn't say how high just that you hadn't landed yet) it is possible that it had been in a shallow dive and landed nosewheel first. I bet he HAD to ask maintenance to do a heavy landing check.

Now that is VERY SCARY as if he was high enough (even though close to the ground) it could have resulted in possible hull loss (and god forbid fatalities).
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Joined: Wed Aug 25, 1999 12:36 am

RE: Worst Landings . . .

Wed Aug 25, 1999 7:17 am

My worst landing occured in july this year. I was flying to PIT to visit my granmother on a Delta MD-88. Well it all started in ATL.
It was storming and our flight was very late (1 hr 30 mins..) When we finally puilled out of the gate about fifty airplanes were infront of us on our taxiway and another 20 on the one next to us. I was sitting in f/c and the pilots had not yet shut the cockpit door(which they didnt do until after our take off- why? i dont know). When we finally got near the runway, the engines went to full power before we turned onto it. I looked out the cockpit window and there was another plane infront of us taking off (not yet off the ground) and an ASA emb-120 that had just pulled up. I was so nervous! Well we hauled a** up off the ground and started banking and shaking. apparently we hit wake from the plane infront of us. You could hear the pilots struggling and i clearly remember one saying "keep that stick, dont let this baby go or well lose her." well we were uncontrollable or seemed like we were for about a minute but the pilot decided to go on to pit. he never pulled the engines down from full power and we booked it on over to pit. While landing i noticed that we were high and fast. I watched the runway underneath us for about 20 seconds and we hit like all h*** had broken loose. The pilots immediately tried to get the nose down but we had become airborne again. We then hit nose first, and then the back half slammed back down to earth. We rocked and then the brakes were put on and everything shifted forward. Infact a luggage compartment opened up and some oxygen masks came down. Well thrust reverse was as high as i had ever heard it before and we still were moving fast. we then veered off the runway at a high speed and stopped on a taxiway in the middle of nowhere. It took us ten long minutes to get to the terminal. Guess who was the first person off that plane. The captain.
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A Few Good Men...

Thu Aug 26, 1999 5:21 am

The United States Marine Corps provided my most unpleasant landing.

In March 1996 several colleagues and I travelled to Camp Pendleton, California to observe the USMC "Hunter Warrior" exercises. Part of our visit involved a 45-minute flight from Munn Field (NFG) at Camp Pendleton to Twentypalms Marine Corps Expeditionary Airfield (NXP) in the California desert. Our aircraft that day was a C-130, which was outfitted with both palletized airline-type seats as well as the canvas seats mounted along the interior wall of the aircraft (used most often for paratroop deployments). I took one of the wall seats directly across the cabin from a colleague of mine who flew S-3s off carriers for twenty years. My particular seat was positioned slightly aft of the wheel well (recall that the C-130 is a high-wing aircraft, so the gear retracts into fairings alongside the fuselage). Since the C-130 had minimal sound insulation, the loadmaster handed out clam-shell-type ear protection to all aboard.

Our departure from NFG and flight was uneventful until our approach. The weather that day was beautiful: clear skies, no precipitation, good visibility. Given the noise and our ear protection, I couldn't speak to my colleagues, so we simply sat there as the C-130 approached the expeditionary airfield. Of course, there are few windows in the C-130, and only the loadmaster could move around to look outside. I therefore had only one visual clue as to the status of our approach to the airport: my colleague the pilot who was sitting across from me. He slept most of the flight, undoubtedly a tedious experience for a veteran military aviator. As we approached landing, however, he woke and was quite alert. I noticed his eyes widen and... BANG! We landed hard on the aluminum mats that the Marine Corps expeditionary forces use as landing strips. With my seat just aft of the main landing gear, I felt that touchdown in my teeth.

Suddenly we were airborne again. The pilot elected to go around for whatever reason, presumably he hadn't enough of the 8,000-foot strip with which to stop--not that a C-130 requires much terrain on which to stop. I raised an eyebrow toward my colleague, who shrugged as if to say he didn't know what was going on earlier.

We circled for another approach and landed safely. After disembarking I asked my colleague what happened. He told me he wasn't sure, but that he found the touch-and-go particularly harrowing since the interior wall of a C-130, just aft of the wing, contains a device that indicates the position of the aileron. This indicator was located slightly above my head, hence explaining my colleague's chagrined expressions. He told me that the pilot was applying excessive aileron inputs throughout the approach--so much so that this veteran of carrier landings was concerned!

By the way, our return flight to Munn Field was considerably more luxurious--we flew on the military version of a Gulfstream IV--but resulted in another missed approach! Though not as harrowing as our touch-and-go, this missed approached included a surprisingly close view of the coastal mountains in that part of California.

The military pilots are top-rate (I've flown military several other times), and I don't intend to denigrate them. I guess they're not used to worrying about the comfort of civilians like me.

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