Scary airplane stories.

What’s the most scared you’ve ever been while flying above the earth?

I have a couple… hitting an air pocket before landing in Seoul, the plane literally just dropped for several seconds. Then stablized and did it again!

Once the pilot landed too fast and had to make a quick right at the end of the runway, and it felt like we were doing it on two wheels. (You know what I mean. :slight_smile: )

Bad turbulence, of course. Funny thing, most people think that when a plane is doing something that possibly signifies impending doom that there’s lots of screaming but usually it’s just deathly still…too scared to scream.

I guess when it’s bad, they scream. When it’s REALLY bad, everybody’s quiet. That’s been my experience.

A girl

Basically same story as this, the circumstances were a bit different though. I was on a two prop plane with about 30 people on it. We were going from Chicago to Toronto and the weather was crap, I think it’s that Great Lakes influence or something. Everyone started drinking on the plane. We were all shitfaced when the plane started jumping around. I decided, for the first time in my life, to actually use the airplane restrooms…I had to go… So, there I am sitting and wondering if we were going to make it when…WHOOSH! The plane drops, I feel like I’m gonna float off the seat. I have visions of them finding me with my pants around my ankles… Not a good thing.

“So, for once in my life, let me get what I want.
Lord knows, it would be the first time.”

The scariest flight I can remember was back in 1981 when my sister and I were flying back from California after visiting our dad. The flight itself went just fine, but just as the plane started its descent towards the airport, the pilot announced over the intercom that there was a storm going on below us and it might be a little bumpy. Well, he certainly was not kidding! The plane drops below the clouds and it’s pouring and lightning is flashing all around us and the whole plane is shaking really badly. It was only maybe ten minutes from the time we dropped below the clouds until we landed on the runway, but that was one of the longest ten minutes I have ever experienced. We landed okay, but I was convinced that lightning was going to strike the plane and it was going to blow up or something. We found out later on that a couple of tornadoes formed from that storm just about 15-20 miles to the south of the airport. I still can’t believe that the pilot chose to land in those conditions. The only reason I could think of was maybe there wasn’t enough fuel to divert the flight to another airport. But who knows.


“The dead have risen, and they’re voting Republican!” - Bart Simpson

Boy, going to the bathroom on a plane is the worst!! haah! Not only the bounciness, but I can’t help thinking, Great! If this thing crashes right now, I’m in the bathroom of all places!
Not that it would matter, really. :slight_smile:
A girl

August ‘89, taking off from New Delhi in a tropical storm on an Airbus. Seated towards the rear of the plane I could see the whole cabin shudder in front of me during our ascent out of weather. Seemingly not so bad, except, the alarming (but probably well within safety tolerances) vibrations caused a number of overhead bins to snap open, pouring out the contents onto the passengers’ heads below. No one really got hurt because the carry-on baggage allowance was small. But the site of luggage flying all over the place has scared me for life.

100000 frequent flier miles later, I’m still petrified of flying, especially so with even the slightest turbulence.

There are far too many Baldwins. The only Baldwin I care for is a piano …

Back in the '70s while I was playing for a rugby team down in Uruguay, I was on a flight over to the Andies in route to Lima, Peru. We’d just left the airport in Montevideo when the flight attendant announced that they had forgoten to restock the bar before departure. The idea of a four hour flight in a small plane with no booze was absolutely terrifying. We insisted that the plane turn around and return to the airport. We never made it to the match we had scheduled in Peru…neither did the other team from Uruguay. Don’t know what their excuse was.

In the Navy on a P-3 sub chaser. Take off from Subic Bay in the PI. About 2 minutes after take off the plane yawed right and dropped. I looked out and saw number three spewing oil, smoke and, what I presumed to be bird bits. We were over the golf course and I thought how ignoble to go down here. The pilots handled the whole affair w/ aplomb and we returned easily. They later said that a P-3 can take off w/ just two engines if light enough; I believe it.

Once I sat next to a really hot trombonist on a red eye flight from San Francisco. After some drinks and conversation about jazz music, we ended up “getting busy”. Boy, was I scared the flight attendant would catch us.

“All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.” Stephen Wright

A couple of years ago I flew to London. The landing at Heathrow was terrifying. We bounced of the runway three or four times, and after the wheels were firmly on the ground you could feel the plane sliding back and forth as the pilot re-gained control. I’m not sure how far off the main runway we wound up (we were still on asphalt), but we were definitely farther than we were supposed to be. Everybody that I talked to on the plane, even the flight attendents, said that it was by far the roughest landing they’d ever experienced. Nobody ever did explain what happened. The weather wasn’t bad or anything. Very scary.

Back in the early 80’s I took a flight from Minneapolis to JFK. It stopped at Detroit en route. We hit the runway so hard that some of the oxygen masks fell down. At first I thought we had crashed. A couple of people yelled. We bounced back up into the air then came back down and hammered the runway again. Only my seat belt kept me off the ceiling. Whew!

We taxied to the gate and let some people off, and some got on. We got our push back from the gate, and the captain came on and said we had to go back into the gate area because they ground crew had detected some leakage in the landing gear. (No wonder…I think he must’ve left a couple of craters at the end of the runway when we landed.) They eventually OK’d us, and we pushed back again, taxied around, and took off.

Boy, let me tell ya, everyone was paying attention when he landed at JFK. He greased it in as smooth as glass…and received a round of applause.

Once, I was having a VERY good time washing my hair in an airplane bathroom, and accidentally hit an intercom button…

I was in a window seat idlely watching the ground rush up to meet us as we decended in to St. Louis. We were over the runway, maybe 100 feet off the ground, when the pilot went to full power and a 45 degree left bank. From my window I could see another plane speeding the opposite direction down our runway! He was taking off as we were landing. The pilot did, to his credit, truthfully explain why he had to make that maneuver, which leads me to believe it was an air traffic control error. I mean please, if your going to put two aircraft on one runway, at least make sure they’re heading the same direction!

Sig! Sig a Sog! Sig it loud! Sig it Strog! – Karen Carpenter with a head cold

Once, when I was flying back home, the airline attendant was passing out little chocolate bars (this is the swiss airline Swissair), and when she got to my row, she handed one to the person sitting next to me but didn’t have any for me!

Fortunately she was able to go back to the galley and came back with more, and I got my chocolate.

Whew! That IS scary!

While taking off on a flight for Paris from Dallas, TX, we hit a flock of birds. We flew for about 10 minutes and then turned around and landed again. The birds had taken one of the engines out and we had to change aircraft. As we were landing I looked out the window and saw every emergency vehicle possible.

I didn’t mind being delayed too much, though (about 2 or 3 hours). I was flying first class, and they really took care of us. Dinner & drinks in our own provate area, while the coach class scum got their little lunch baggies. Too bad I don’t work for the same company anymore, and now I’m one of the peasants of coach class. It was fun while it lasted.

New and Improved

“There’s a man on the wing of this plane!”

One of the trickiest landings in the world is Cape Town, South Africa. This is mainly due to the fact that the landing takes place in a very windy valley, heading towards the Atlantic Ocean. So besides the already very annoying mountain influences (on the winds), there’s usually a ver strong yet volatile wind blowing in from the ocean.

I landed there in 1998. SA Airlines has a strict policy about this airport: only pilots with a military history are allowed to land there. There is even a scripted procedure for it: here’s how it goes.

Instead of putting the plane down nice and easy, it is common practise to stabilise it at about 5 to 10 meters above the runway, and then when it is stable, to just drop the motherfer*.
The reasoning behind this, is that it is safer than trying to put it down smoothly all the way, since a last minute wind can actually screw up the landing even more - which, apparently, presents a greater danger than a 10 meter drop.

But when you’re not informed beforehand, a 10 meter drop ‘n’ bang landing in a Boeing 747 doing some 350 kilometers an hour is quite a surprise…

Voted Poster Most Likely To Post Drunk

"You know how complex women are"

  • Neil Peart, Rush (1993)

Flying Tame Air from Quito to the Galapagos in a 737(? or maybe DC-10, hell I don’t know airplanes), we stopped in Gauyaquil during a rianstorm. The whole approach one could see all the flooded fields below. The first time was a little off, so we circled back around for another go. We came in rather smooth, but when the wheels hit the pavement, we hydroplaned down the runway, fishtailing a bit. That and the hairwashing thing that Drain Bead mentioned.

It’s not how you pick your nose, it’s where you put the boogers

Maybe more traumatic than scared:

My first solo

and for terror:

During a long solo cross country. Turning around due to rain/clouds and getting forced lower and lower, looking for fields to land in as the weather closed in, and making it back to the last airport just as the storm started.

A point in every direction is like no point at all

First of all I was flying Air India,
(I know, I know, pretty scary right?)
no, there’s more…
Day 1, plane doesn’t start
Day 2, plane gets a jumpstart from an identical plane on the runway, and we’re in the air…

I swear to God they really did jump start the plane, it was up where the air is thin too, they couldn’t always take off and land they had to have the visual or something. Once they got this thing into the thin air it had to bank hard left to avoid the Buddhist monastery perched on the nearest mountaintop. This is clearly far too complex a thing to trust to Air India, and yet, I lived to tell the tale.

“Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings.” Bob Dylan