They say that going on an airplane is safer than travelling in a car, but what happens when you have trouble at 30,000 feet in the air? You can’t just “pull over” to the side of the sky, park your plane on a cloud and hope that someone will come to your rescue. When disaster strikes at six miles above sea level, seconds count when it comes to the decisions of the pilot. Sometimes they have enough time to reach a proper landing strip, but most often than not, there is no airport within miles of the airplane that is in trouble. When that happens, the operator must find a way to land the plane with as little damage as possible, and hope that everyone on board can be safely rescued.
5) Plane Loses A Propeller And Lands On A Racetrack
79 year-old airplane pilot, Jack Barnett, doesn’t know what exactly what caused his propeller to come off of his small aircraft, but when it did, he knew exactly what to do. Not being close to an airport, the first thought was the highway, but he did not want to have to worry about cars or injuring people. The next thought that entered his mind was the racetrack that was in close proximity, so that is where he headed after the plane lost power and there was little time to decide what other options he might have had. The racetrack looked flat from above (according to Jack), but upon landing in a large ditch, he realized that it was bumpier than he had first realized. Jack came out unharmed, but when his wife had asked about the damage to his plane, he replied, “Well, I got a broken main gear, broken nose gear and of course no prop.”
4) Landing On A Highway In India
A pilot in Madhya Pradesh was flying his four-seater private airplane for a normal flight, when strong winds caused him to seek an immediate spot for landing. NRI Sam Verma, the pilot of the Piper PA-30, originally asked permission to land his small plane at a nearby dam, but due to security issues, was repudiated. Verma then decided to land his aircraft onto the highway below, stopping all traffic and closing down the entire freeway. Not a single person, tree, building or animal was harmed; yet, officials are trying to determine exactly why this pilot’s airplane was unable to be flown any further and as to why he landed it on the highway, and he is currently under investigation. Sam Verma also happened to be the first man in India to fly an airplane operating simply on bio-fuel, back in 2003.
3) Right Plane, Wrong Airport
“As soon as we touched down, the pilot applied the brake very hard and very forcibly,” stated Scott Schieffer, a Dallas attorney that was aboard a Southwest Airlines flight to Branson Airport, but ended up landing at Taney County Airport. Taney County Airport was much smaller than Branson, with the landing strip only being 3700 feet. It is intended for small aircrafts, not the Boeing 737 that landed on the wrong runway. The pilot had to apply extreme pressure towards the brakes on the airplane, for it was about half the distance needed to sufficiently land the jet. There was between 100-300 feet between where the airplane had stopped and the end of the runway when it landed, and there was a large drop-off that would have been catastrophic had the plane went any further. None of the 124 passengers were injured, but were inconvenienced since they had to wait to go to the intended destination, which was seven miles away. They also had to call in workers to the airport where they had landed, since most of the employees had gone home and were not expecting a giant jetliner to land on their small airfield. This was not an actual emergency landing, just a positively huge mistake.
2) Plane Lands On Beach At Cedar Point Amusement Park
Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, lies on an island on the tip of northern Ohio. It has won awards for what has been called some of the “greatest roller coasters in the world.” Millions of people flock there every year to ride the Millenium Force, or (appear) to take flight on the Top Thrill Dragster, and expect a few delays or even a mere random odd occurrence on occasion. But nothing had prepared the thrill seekers (or the workers in the park) for the event that happened during the second week in June, 2014. On June 6, a water main break near the main entrance caused the park to be shut down for almost two days, a rarity that had not happened in eleven years. Then sixteen employees (who were all young adults) got into a fight during the closing, causing the arrest of all who were involved. And that wasn’t even the biggest news of the week. After Cedar Point had opened back up to the public, a few riders may have witnessed an airplane land on the beach that was directly next to it. Apparently, a small plane was flying overhead when a duck smashed into the windshield and the pilot had to make an emergency landing. The choice was either the small strip of beach that was located next to the roller coaster, Magnum; or into Lake Erie. The pilot made a quick decision and nobody was harmed during the rather unusual landing.
1) Miracle On The Hudson
Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger thought it was going to be just another flight when he boarded US Airways Flight 1549, at LaGuardia Airport in New York City. It was headed to North Carolina when shortly after takeoff, a large flock of Canada Geese had invaded their airspace and the Airbus ended up losing thrust to both engines. With over 15,000 flight hours under his belt, and previously being a pilot in the USAir Force, Captain Sullenberger did not panic. He and his crew went through the proper procedures in what to do in such cases, and then realized he would not be able to make it to the closest airport. He attempted to make it to a runway, but could not gain enough altitude due to no thrust in either engine. The only alternative was to take the plane down in the Hudson River, and that is exactly what the Captain did on January 15, 2009.
After only being in the air for six minutes, Flight 1549 landed in the middle of the Hudson River. Captain Sully (as he was nicknamed) knew to land it near boats so that there would be more of a possibility of a quick rescue. It was quick thinking to land in the middle of the Hudson, and as soon as the plane was “ditched,” the crew immediately gave orders to evacuate; including using the inflatable slides as rafts. Some of the passengers were able to get in the life boats, while others were instructed to get on the wing of the plane so as not to get hypothermia by jumping (or falling) into the 20 degree river. Even though the majority of passengers were able to get to safety, there was one who had jumped into the freezing waters because of the overcrowding of the life boats. Boats and ferries that were nearby came to help aid the rescue, along with the city’s emergency rescue teams. Due to the fast thinking of the Captain, the crew on-board, and the fast response of the rescue teams, every single person on that airplane survived, including one passenger who was in a wheelchair.
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