Boeing 777 landing in 60 MPH winds

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I’ve learned that finding out more information about things often reduces my anxiety about them. That has not been the case with flying. My lizardbrain responds far more enthusiastically to the harrowing videos and terrifying details of actual or near-miss air disasters than it does to the much more comforting statistical evidence about how safe flying actually is.

So, in conclusion, D-: D-: D-:


Ballistic takeoffs aren’t camera tricks, just a matter of enough airspeed before pulling back and letting the afterburners rip - much more likely to be done with no weapons or fuel tanks to slow the plane down. They’re fun to watch and loud as the bejeesus.


I’m with McSnee on this

Videos of high-crosswind landings are amazing, and the demonstration of the pilots’ skill is undeniable.

But after each such video, I have to ask myself:


Holy aerobatics with 300 passengers aboard, Batman!

What could EVER make that sort of hijinks a sane choice?

@beschizza, you forgot the linky to the Polish MiG!

A friend was crewing a KC-135 out to the Azores some years ago, and landing in heavy crosswinds they dragged one, if not two, engine nacelles along the ground before setting the aircraft down in one piece. Aircraft, big or small, operating in high winds can be a touch-and-go affair.

Agreed. In the past I worked at a base doing depot-level maintenance on F-15 fighters, and almost every day the check pilots would do that same takeoff. I never, ever, got tired of watching it happen!


I hear the quotes about how it’s more likely to die in a car than a plane, but they don’t comfort me because I’m an excellent driver (no accidents ever, and we’re talking decades) so MY chances of dying in a car wreck are much less than those of the average person… but when they compare car death stats to plane death stats, they take the median of the car death stats as the comparison point, which doesn’t represent me.

nope nope nope.

back to kitten videos for me.

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I dunno. Maybe they just had to, you know, land.


Takeoff is optional.
Landing is mandatory.


They probably already held him in a longer than usual pattern circling the airport hoping the winds would let up and purposefully burning as much fuel as possible. At some point though, they’re going to have to just go for it.


The MiG 29 has a 1 to 1.09 weight to thrust ratio at full fuel and a load of 4 AA missiles. So yeah, they are fully capable of a vertical climb.

The 777 pilot earned his pay that day.


We all know the first part “A good landing is one you can walk away from”.

Did you know the second part?
“A great landing is one where you can use the airplane again.”

This was a great landing.


I was an airforce brat growing up in Australia. MD came over to try to sell us the Eagle (to replace our aging Dassault Mirages). Impressive flying displays, including take-offs just like that. The Tomcats were equally impressive. We ended up with Hornets, which are OK I guess, but somehow lack the drama of the big boys.

I saw the F-22 at an airshow a few months back. Cool as hell. The thing was basically drawing rectangles and squares and prismatic polygons in the sky, all underscored by a deep bass shredding rumble like the land being torn apart. Part Alien Interceptor, part Sky Dancer, part God of Thunder. We didn’t get to see any runway action though because he flew down from Virginia, did his show, then turned back to Virginia without touching down. Walk on cameo, mic drop, and good bye.


I was on a flight earlier this year where a mother allowed her toddler to stand on the seat looking out the window through the entire approach and landing (kid whined, then unbuckled and stood up as soon as the flight attendants had completed the checks). I was sort-of hoping for just enough turbulence to teach both mother and kid a lesson.

The Eagles are nice but man do I love the F-16. Used to watch them do vertical take offs all the time at Sheppard AFB. There’s a good reason we still use them as our primary air superiority fighter at home. The multi-roll tactical planes get all the press and combat time, but the F-16 is a special beauty IMO.

“In flying I have learned that carelessness and overconfidence are usually far more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks.”

— Wilbur Wright in a letter to his father, September 1900.


Heck, that runway isn’t even moving. And it’s daytime.

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Grew up with F-16s overhead near Hill Air Force Base in Utah. Can confirm, those suckers get off the deck and then go in pretty much any direction they please.

And…seeing an F-117a overhead is a different kind of neat thing. Not quite the agility of the F16, but the damn thing is silent. Just a quiet black triangle zipping around in the sky.


Two things:

  1. Dunning-Krueger effect. Studies have shown that a majority of US drivers tested overestimate their driving skills (Scandinavians underestimate…)
  2. Most of the times I have been afraid in a car it has been someone else. No matter how good you are, if you are in a single track (two lane, one each way) road between banks and a car comes toward you overtaking another car, there is nothing you can do. Other scenarios are less fatal than that but still give limited room for avoidance or mitigation. Given that more than half of drivers are idiots, you can only reduce the risks by a limited amount. (In India, the vehicle coming the other way may be an elephant. I’ve had that happen.)