- As storms buffet the UK, footage has emerged of a pilot pulling off a particularly challenging landing — but not before the plane appeared to nearly topple over and scrape its tail on the runway.
- It landed for the second time 16 minutes later.
- “While it looked like the left-wing was close to clipping the runway, it was only after seeing the video that we saw the tail had actually struck the runway,” Thomson said.
As storms rage across the UK, video has emerged of a pilot performing a particularly difficult landing — but not before the plane nearly topples over and scrapes its tail on the runway as reported by CNN.
Pilots abort landing
British Airways flight 1307 travelled from Aberdeen to London on Monday — but the 80-minute flight had a bumpy ride at the end.
Coming into land at Heathrow, the plane — an Airbus A321neo — was visibly buffeted by winds, before touching down on one wheel, bouncing up and down again, tipping precariously over to the left, and then appearing to knock the runway with the tail as the pilots aborted the landing and performed a go-around, taking off again in order to land safely.
Jerry Dyer, who filmed the dramatic landing, told CNN that the event “just goes to show how skilled pilots are.”
A regular at Heathrow, where he films planes landing and taking off for his YouTube channel Big Jet TV, he had arrived only minutes earlier.
Although the UK has been battered by the 90 mph winds of Storm Corrie, which have claimed two people’s lives and left many without power, Dyer said the wind at Heathrow wasn’t actually too bad — he estimates around 20 mph — but it was a gust funnelling between two buildings and hitting the runway that nearly toppled the plane.
Struggles with gusts
Flight trackers show the plane reaching the ground level at 140 mph just before midday, before steeply climbing to an altitude of 1,173 meters (3,850 feet) in four minutes.
It landed for the second time 16 minutes later.
It has not been confirmed whether the tail did actually strike the ground, or just seemed to.
Dyer stayed three hours filming and saw one other plane do a go-around, as well as plenty struggling with the gusts.
Go-arounds — where the descending plane goes up again, to make another attempt — and “baulked landings,” where the pilot makes a go-around just as they’re touching down, are perfectly safe.
Although that doesn’t make them comfortable for those on board.
Two of the passengers were members of the UK Parliament, travelling from their constituencies to the House of Commons, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson would later see his premiership take an equally visible buffeting.
At first, everything seemed normal, he said.
“While there was a harder than usual touchdown at first, it was when the plane came down for a second time that it appeared to be caught by a strong gust of wind.”
“It was clear that the pilot had to decide quickly whether to try and steady the plane to make the landing or to abort.”
“Clearly we all noticed that we hadn’t managed to land and felt the wind, but the skill of the pilot probably meant that it was only really those with a view on the left of the plane who were really able to tell how close to clipping the ground the wing was.”
Dyer– who rushes straight to Heathrow every time there’s bad weather, often going viral with his videos — told CNN he’d give the pilot “10 out of 10” for their “split-second decision.”
He stayed for a further three hours but didn’t see anything as dramatic as the Aberdeen landing.
A spokesperson for British Airways told CNN: “Our pilots are highly trained to manage a range of scenarios, including extreme weather conditions, and our flight crew landed the aircraft safely.
Our customers and crew all disembarked as normal.”
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