Few moments put into perspective the insanity that is commercial flight like hitting turbulence. Every bump translates into thoughts of “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!” Though when it subsides, you realize you’re way more likely to die from eating peanuts — or touching your face after using the bathroom.
But the potential for crashing — that’s what puts the fear of God into people. And these close calls will remind you of that. You won’t find any actual death and disaster here — just real life near-misses that’ll shake you into thanking your lucky stars and garters.
Plane bites it on the beach
St. Bart’s, French Caribbean
The Gustaf III Airport in St. Bart’s is notoriously dangerous, with a teeny runway of about 2,100 feet that plunges directly towards St. Jean’s beach – a sunbathing favorite. Thankfully, no sunbathers were injured in the filming of this crash — but to say the pilot stuck the landing on this approach is understating the facts by a mile. He bit the sand… HARD.
If planes could talk (that sounds like a terrible Lifetime movie), you could imagine this Sky Team plane saying, “Doot doo doot doot doo…” as it crawls along the runway at a glacial pace. And then the descending plane would scream “WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU DOING ON THE RUNWAY?!?” right before it aborts its landing.
A hard bounce
Bouncing harder than Jay Z at the beginning of “Can I get A…” is not what most flyers are looking for, and this plane looks like the bus from Speed jumping off a freeway overpass. This guy should probably make sure he’s got a warranty on his shocks and struts.
The skies must’ve been alive with the sound of barf bags ripping from the seat back pockets into full use. Having your jetliner come in cockeyed from crosswinds is bad enough, but having it scrape the ground with a wing before it takes off again is probably enough to make you swear off flying for a long, long time.
Unstable in the air
This plane wobbles more on its approach than that guy from accounting who finally worked up enough liquid courage to talk to Michelle at the company holiday party. Michelle’s really down to Earth, though, and fortunately, this plane ended up there, too.
Last-minute change of heart
The not-quite landing here looks like a guy considering a dive into Lake Michigan during the Polar Bear Plunge — only to realize that cannonballing your way through January might actually not end up going that well.
This isn’t how wheels work
Los Angeles, CA
There’s a saying about not reinventing the wheel, but the maintenance crew on this plane might want to think about it. Apparently, the Los Angeles-bound flight’s landing gear was stuck sideways, leaving the pilot no choice but to crash-land among smoke and fire. Which, in the scope of ways you’d want to land, is close to the bottom of the list. But it sure beats the alternative.
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