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Worst Take-Off or Landing

Just wondered where people had experienced their worst Take-Off or Landing. 

I had a pretty horrible landing going into Copenhagen a few times due to cross winds, which are well known there according to a pilot friend (easyJet Captain). 

The worst and most terrifying was a year ago going into Goa airport on a night flight. Having flown from Gatwick we hit a heavy storm coming in to land. The rain and fog were so severe that the pilot was unable to navigate to the runway. Having got lower, and lower AND LOWER we suddenly saw houses below us, AT VERY CLOSE PROXIMITY at which point the pilot pulled up at very VERY last minute with no runway in sight. The pilot circled twice more and after the third late abort, much to our relief, he announced that we would be flying to another airport an hour away,  also adding that we didn't have sufficient fuel to mess around for much longer and still make it to an alternative airport. Not really want we were wanting to hear. We did get down at another airport that was completely closed in the middle of the night and after sitting on the tarmac for around 2 hours, our plane was refueled and we went back to Goa. The weather wasn't a whole lot better and to say the pilot threw the plane onto the tarmac is an understatement. 

My wife and I have flown 100 times + and so are fairly confident, but to say we were shitting ourselves is downplaying it. Without saying a word to each other we held hands, never having done so on any previous flight. 

Any other stories?
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Comments

  • I've flown more times than I care to remember and I've been lucky - always uneventful, no aborted take-offs or TOGAs. That said, Dublin is always 'fun' - never known it not to be windy. The first time I flew in there it was particularly blowy, so much so that nobody in the cabin was talking as we got closer to landing. As we got lower, looked out of the left window - only water to be seen. Looked out of the right, expected to see land. Nope, still water. The lower we got, the windier it seemed to get, no sign of land and the cabin was rocking. I was feeling decidedly squeaky at that point. Thankfully the airport eventually was visible but boy, we were coming in fast. Landed with a serious bump, so much so that a couple of overhead lockers bounced open. I was a bit shaken up as we got off the plane and in no mood for jokes, but I had to laugh when the fella in front of me said to the stewardess as he got to the door 'Blimey. Did we land or were we shot down?'  
  • Two words - Kai Tak 
  • Coming back from Baltimore the go-around at Heathrow was fun (SA 747 slow to get off runway in front of us...).

    Take off from Denver was ok, but straight into very heavy storm meant first 90 minutes were VERY bumpy.

    Watched some crazy windy wing-almost-touching-ground take offs at Wellington.

    Was on the NY-Boston shuttle during heavy snow storm and the next shuttle plane an hour behind ended up in the Hudson having failed to leave the ground due to ice on wings.

    Had quite a lot of landings where you hit the ground hard and overhead lockers bang open and drop stuff on passengers.

    As one pilot told us, you just drive it onto the runway...it's that easy.
  • Flying into Miami during a thunderstorm the pilot aborted the landing at what seemed the last minute when lightning struck close by and sharply pulled the plane up to go around again. That was a tad uncomfortable experience. 

    Taking off from Tampa once, years later, in a DC10  and sitting in the jump seat behind the pilot (pre-9/11), on a very cloudy day and wearing headphones plugged into the chatter outside was a little uncomfortable as well. Knowing there was a lot of planes around us which I couldn’t see and just seeing dense clouds outside the windows made for a slightly nervous few minutes.


  • Worst take off:
    an ageing China Airways 747SP on in internal flight from Beijing to Shanghai. Belting along the runway at take off speed when, with a bang, all the oxygen masks dropped from overhead. The pilot carried on and when the lights went off the stewardesses came around and pushed all the masks back up. Our tour guide went around to check first to see if anyone needed the masks before allowing the stewardesses to put them away!

    Worst landing:
    Delta Airlines coming in to land at Chicago at night in a thunderstorm. There was was absolutely nothing visible out of the windows as the plane sank lower and lower until it popped out of the cloud base and just a couple of hundred feet above the ground at which point the captain pushed the throttles forward and shot back into the clouds and flew around. He came on the tannoy to apologise and tell us that the plane in front of us hadn’t cleared the runway and we were coming down right on top of it!
  • We done this 10 years ago

    https://forum.charltonlife.com/discussion/33990/drama-in-the-air-flying-fears

    What I typed then...

    "Absolutely loved flying on planes up until I was about 14, when on the way to Florida our plane had to make an emergency landing somewhere in North America, in a USAF base. Had a 2 hour wait sitting in an aircraft hanger whilst the Engineers done their stuff. So off we went again, pilot aborted the take off twice, the second time when it felt like we was already in the air. At that point, I realised I wasnt indestructable and just wanted to go home. Third time lucky finally got up in the air and then we had an aborted landing at Florida a few hours later due to a lightning storm. I thought I'd met my maker.

    Had a few lads holidays with AFKA and co mid 90s and coped just about but then didnt get on a plane again until 2005 with the ex-wife, really didnt enjoy the 4 hour flight to Lanzarote. 2007 had my stag do in Barcalona, AFKA will tell you I didnt feel too great on the plane. He was a damn sight braver than me lol.

    However, nothing will ever compare to how I felt on my way to see Spurs play PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA cup a few years back. Got to Gatwick for my 7am Easyjet flight. Flight delayed by 2 hours, no one knowing the reason why. Finally got a gate number. Walked down to the gate then we were told that the flight had been delayed because there was a force 8/9 gale going on at Amsterdam Airport and we wouldnt be able to land. So we had to wait at the gate until the satellite forecast said it was safe. After an hour wait, we were rushed onto the plane in super quick time and was in the air within 5 minutes. Never boarded and taken off so quickly before.

    Take off was fine and the journey was ok til about halfway across the North See. OMG it was like a roller coaster for the last 20-30 mins of the flight. Never known turbulence like it. Dozens of people screaming OMG we're gonna die etc etc, I literally shat myself, I grabbed the indian guy sitting next to me about 3 times and didnt even know him. It was awful. Finally landed at 'Dam. Never felt so relieved to get off that plane but that cured me of my fear of flying. Knowing I got through that ok, I knew flying was ok again. Have been on a plane half a dozen times since and I've been absolutely fine.'

    Since I met my wife, we've holidayed abroad at least 3-4 times a year up until covid struck so I dont even worry about flying now.  Funny how it plays on your mind!
  • Had another flight whilst not a horrendous as the one above, it did make the national news, we were flying from Edinburgh to Stanstead and were over the borders when we got hit by lightening, pilot lost all the controls and had to land by hand, again we were chased by the fire brigade and ambulances. To be fair to the pilot it was an excellent landing and we didn’t know about the lack of controls until the news came on.
  • JohnBoyUK said:
     AFKA will tell you I didnt feel too great on the plane. He was a damn sight braver than me lol.


    Jeez, you must've been a real mess if AFKA was braver than you on a flight
  • Can people (who have these stories) let me know where your going on Holiday each year please?

    Because wherever you lot are going... I'm going in the opposite direction!!
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  • edited January 10
    Failed landing three times in a storm coming back from Berlin. Tried landing at Stanstead even though was meant to go to Gatwick. Women next to me was crying her eyes out as she was so scared.

    End up at East Midlands airport at 3AM, 7 hours after original landing time. Had to be at Gatwick for 1PM to flight to Dublin that day.
  • Worst flight was an internal flight in russia from Moscow to St Petersberg during the world Cup. 

    I can only describe this plane as a transit van with wings, just really creeking and making all sorts of noises. 
  • I have flown hundreds of times, but it is safe to say if I had an experience anything like the posts above I'd do a Bergkamp.

  • I was taking off as the passenger in a Piper Cub, across an ice covered Lake Erie, almost at the end of the runway the engine cut out. The pilot had forgotten to turn the fuel on. A few more seconds......
  • Flight back from Florida about 10 years ago. Sitting with my son, Mrs and daughter sat a few rows away. Heard cabin staff (sitting behind me) talking about how something had been found from our plane on the runway back in Florida (we were a little way into the flight). Seatbelt lights were still on so trying to get the message to the Mrs with my eyes was interesting! Didn’t work.

    So I had to sit there with this knowledge - kept to myself -  for a few minutes - until pilot announced we were ditching fuel over the sea and returning to Florida. The landing was uneventful until we could see the lights of the fire engines following us after we touched down. Not a fun experience.
  • Aberdeen airport, internal flight, 20 odd years ago, small plane all over the place, wind was awful, how the tips of the wings never scraped the ground is still, a thankful, mystery. 
  • Worst take off, From Linate Milan one Friday night . Raging storm set in. Said goodbye to a German colleague 4 times only for us to meet in departure again. Finally took off at 11.30pm. It was awful .Thunder,  lightening wind . The flight was terrible  too.

    Worst landing, Bodrum on holiday late evening.  Three times the landing was aborted.  We came in only to suddenly hear the engines roar and go off again.  We thought it was the landing gear. It wasn't.  It was a problem  with the runway  landing lights. When we did land it was ok. It was the sheer terror of keep on going round and the engines roaring just as we thought  we were on the right approach. 
  • Worst take-off - internal flight Nairobi to Mombassa. The runway resembled a ploughed field and everything in the plane was rattling as it struggled to lift-off.

    Worst landing, a couple. Ariving in Funchal the approach heads straight towards a mountain and the plane veers to the right at the last minute. Standard practice apparently!
    Landing in Gibraltar - plane touches down, pilot realises that he's touched down too far down and will run out of room (into the sea at the end!), full throttle applied and off into the air again.

  • edited January 11
    The second most frightening experience, flying from Miami to Lima on an American Airlines flight in 2009. The flight is about 5 1/2 hours long. We had been flying for about 4 hours, when the pilot came on the intercom and said we were going to be making an emergency landing at Montego Bay. One of the engines had developed a fault and that for the last 2 hours, unbeknown to us, we had been flying in a large circle as he dumped fuel while trying to find somewhere to land!!
    I was in a seat by the emergency exits and where the cabin crew sit during take-off and landing, as we were making the final approach the stewardess's sitting opposite me, started 'crossing themselves', which put the fear of god in me!!! I was thinking we're in serious trouble here, and broke out in a clammy sweat!!
    As we hit the runway, there were loads of fire trucks lining the runway and as we moved along they started following us with all lights flashing!!! We finally came to a halt on the outskirts of the airport. Thinking we would now disembark I got ready to move, when the bloody pilot came on the intercom again and said because we were an unscheduled landing we didn't have permission to disembark and now that the plane was safe we had to stay where we were while the ground crew looked to fix the bloody problem with the engine!! Now that was a scary experience that's for sure!
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  • Never had that bad a landing or take off despite having flown 100+ times, once circled heathrow as a problem with the landing gear but they resolved that.

    Although in 1985 we were delayed coming home by about 12 hours, and we flew back on a British Caledonian Jet yet had flown out by BA, turned out the plane that was due to fly us home was the one that caught fire on the runway at Manchester and killed 50+ people.
  • Coming back from a game at Newcastle, think the Rommedahl 1-1 game. Flew back from Newcastle with a load of Charlton supporters to Stansted where there seemed to be a hurricane blowing, the decent was horrifically bouncy, and the plane seemed to land sideways. We were the last plane allowed to land that evening as the weather got worse. Never seen so many people turn so green or find god. 
  • edited January 11
    Flew to Lisbon with two friends about two years ago and thought we'd avoided the worst as it had snowed and settled the day before our flight from Gatwick but thankfully it hadn't snowed any more overnight so we got there without any trouble despite fearing possible heavy snow on the journey.

    The problem instead was at Lisbon though as we had an aborted landing, first I'd ever experienced after being on loads of flights over the years. It was aborted because it was so windy, turns out Lisbon is the windiest airport in the world with high abort rates. It was so windy only the back wheels of the plane managed to touch down and the tailwind so strong the plane just couldn't slow down and get the front wheels down that it kept going and took off again. I was also amazed the wings didn't hit the ground first either.

    The pilot informed us it would be impossible to land so we'd have to detour to Faro 170-odd miles and a good 3 hours drive away, of which Faro airport was meant to have been closed too. Thankfully we were provided with coach transportation back to Lisbon airport and got there late evening instead of mid-afternoon so had to write off a whole afternoon of what was only a long weekend but we made the best of it, squeezed in everything we wanted to do in the end that weekend but really were just pleased to eventually get to the hotel.
  • bobmunro said:
    Worst take-off - internal flight Nairobi to Mombassa. The runway resembled a ploughed field and everything in the plane was rattling as it struggled to lift-off.

    Worst landing, a couple. Ariving in Funchal the approach heads straight towards a mountain and the plane veers to the right at the last minute. Standard practice apparently!
    Landing in Gibraltar - plane touches down, pilot realises that he's touched down too far down and will run out of room (into the sea at the end!), full throttle applied and off into the air again.

    Funchal and Gibratar are two of the most challenging approaches in Europe, and only certified and specifically trained pilots are allowed to use them. Funchal because of wind shear and what was once a very short runway (but which has now been extended on stilts) and Gibraltar also because of wind shear (air swirls off the rock),  and the nature of the runway (sea at both ends and a public road going across the middle of it). 
  • Without doubt the worst landing (or not) took place for me in 2018. With all of my working overseas during 2016 and early 2019 (until travel was cancelled), this one was the most frightening!!
    I was on an Emirates A380 plane flying from Beijing to Dubai, a journey I've done quite a few times. As we were coming in to land at Dubai airport and being able to watch, as I always do, the landing on the TV screen in front of me, we were on the final approach and were lined up to the runway, we had descended and were about 1 minute or less from touching down, when another plane pulled onto the runway. The pilot of the A380 aborted the landing, and put the plane into a vertical climb, everyone got thrown backwards in their seats, as the plane went virtually straight up and started banking to the left at the same time!! 
    We then flew on for about another 10/15 minutes as the plane levelled out, and then started to turn again. We then started our decent again, as the pilot came on the intercom to explain if we had continued to make the first landing we may not have missed the other plane so he made the last second decision to abort and pulled vertically upwards!!
    Now A380's are one of the biggest planes in the sky, but I can confirm that they can go straight upwards, like a rocket trajectory in times of emergency!! The second landing was as normal as ever, but I have to say I was a tad worried during the first one!! 
    I've also "gone around" at Dubai on an A380. Quite an experience...
  • bobmunro said:
    Worst take-off - internal flight Nairobi to Mombassa. The runway resembled a ploughed field and everything in the plane was rattling as it struggled to lift-off.

    Worst landing, a couple. Ariving in Funchal the approach heads straight towards a mountain and the plane veers to the right at the last minute. Standard practice apparently!
    Landing in Gibraltar - plane touches down, pilot realises that he's touched down too far down and will run out of room (into the sea at the end!), full throttle applied and off into the air again.

    Funchal and Gibratar are two of the most challenging approaches in Europe, and only certified and specifically trained pilots are allowed to use them. Funchal because of wind shear and what was once a very short runway (but which has now been extended on stilts) and Gibraltar also because of wind shear (air swirls off the rock),  and the nature of the runway (sea at both ends and a public road going across the middle of it). 
    Yes, I’ve had flights to Gibraltar diverted to Malaga due to a replacement pilot not being qualified to land at Gib.
  • Flying home from Cuba a few years back being pushed along by a storm heading northwards. Had about 4 hours of the plane going up down left right, shaky as hell. As it was dropping you were waiting for it to rise again. It was a bit like a roller coaster. Quite a few passengers were crying but I have to admit, I quite enjoyed it for a couple of hours. |4 was a bit much.

    You hear quite a few people say they don't understand what keeps a plain in the sky. My advice to them is to find out and the more you know, the safer you will feel.
  • edited January 11
    bobmunro said:
    bobmunro said:
    Worst take-off - internal flight Nairobi to Mombassa. The runway resembled a ploughed field and everything in the plane was rattling as it struggled to lift-off.

    Worst landing, a couple. Ariving in Funchal the approach heads straight towards a mountain and the plane veers to the right at the last minute. Standard practice apparently!
    Landing in Gibraltar - plane touches down, pilot realises that he's touched down too far down and will run out of room (into the sea at the end!), full throttle applied and off into the air again.

    Funchal and Gibratar are two of the most challenging approaches in Europe, and only certified and specifically trained pilots are allowed to use them. Funchal because of wind shear and what was once a very short runway (but which has now been extended on stilts) and Gibraltar also because of wind shear (air swirls off the rock),  and the nature of the runway (sea at both ends and a public road going across the middle of it). 
    Yes, I’ve had flights to Gibraltar diverted to Malaga due to a replacement pilot not being qualified to land at Gib.
    I'd imagine many days in Gib for you...worse places to go to for work.
  • Not quite had the near death experiences of some on here but did take off in a storm from Hong Kong to Bali on honeymoon and the first 45 minutes of that flight were pretty jumpy, compared to usual bad turbulence we have all seen

    The two worst landings I've had were in Dublin where its always windy.

    First and worst was in a little 50 seater turbo prop from Southend that circled for ages, pilot on the intercom saying he only had one shot at landing or would be going to Belfast, he got it down, sideways I think, I was just necking my can of Heineken and praying.   Met my mates in the bar at the airport, we had all flown in from different London airports and looked pretty green (one and only time I have drank brandy).  The only one that wasn't there (and had the tickets for the game we were going to) was on a Ryanair from Stansted and had 3 failed landings before going back to Liverpool.   Never fly Ryanair unless you have to.

    Also had a goaround at Dublin, on a normal sized BA plane due to wind again I think.

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