I was on a flight with my wife, landing at Midway in Chicago. Apparently, it’s a windy city. When we were touching down, the wind was very strong: we bounced the left landing gear, then the right, then the wind blew the plane (something 727-ish) sideways completely off the runway. The pilot gunned the engines and I swear I sank back into my seat from the thrust. Anyway, the pilot announced that he’ll do a U-turn and try again. I kid you not, not a single person in the cabin was making noise, even the babies stopped crying. The relief and applause when we landed safely was incredible.
On another flight across the Pacific (again in something 727-ish) one of the three engines apparently caught on fire, and the loss of pressure (or something) brought another engine to 1/2 thrust. So the pilot took took the plane to the highest altitude he could in order to extinguish the fire, then we flew so close to the water you could count the scales on the sharks waiting for us below. (Kidding about the sharks - they don’t have visible scales.) Normally a 5-hour flight, it took us 8 1/2 hours to reach our destination. I was growing my first beard at the time, and by the time we landed I had nervously plucked all the hair from a spot on my jaw.
Lastly, I wanted to mention one that I was not involved in - the Gimli Glider event - where a 767 instrumentation failure left the plane at cruising altitude with no fuel. Not only did the crew bring the plane down safely, but they did so onto a crowded runway being used for car races. The plane was in sufficiently good condition that it was later flown from there to a proper airstrip.
In each case, I have nothing but admiration for the flight crews and the engineers who built the planes. If their professions weren’t held to such a high degree of precision and discipline, the outcomes would have likely been worse.
I’m afraid to fly, but I’ll get on a plane again because I am confident the air and ground crews know their business.