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Heavy winds push Westjet Boeing 737 away from the gate at Halifax Airport

After a four hour storm closure at Halifax international airport, the strong winds pushed this 737 away from the gate. The winds hit the vertical stabilizer causing the large aircraft to drift. Luckily no one was trying to board at the time.

This rather long, 11 minute video shows the plane being pushed by the wind, an event which happened earlier this month.  It’s amazing that ground crew are able to stand up straight given the wind is strong enough to move an airplane that weights 110,000 lbs! However, it is because the vertical stabilizer acts as a sail, catching the wind, causing the aircraft to weathervane into the wind. The wind is blowing from the right, from the pilots perspective, which causes the nose also to weathervane to the right.  No doubt the icy runway conditions make it even easier for the wind to slide the aircraft like that.

The jet was being prepared for a flight to Toronto after waiting out a long snowstorm that closed the airport.  Ground crew can be seen trying to push the plane back as it moves to the left.  Great catch, guys!

Here is a statement released by Westjet about the occurrence:

“This is truly a rare occurrence and even more rare to catch it on video. You really were at the right place at the right time! We are very happy with how our ground crew and TechOps AME (Aircraft Maintenance Engineer) handled this situation. Our AME (in the blue vest) was at the aircraft within 10 seconds and our ramp crews (yellow/orange vests) had all ground service equipment away from the aircraft within 40 seconds, which prevented any damage to the aircraft and kept our crews and guests safe while they secured the aircraft with a tug and tow bar. This video is a great reminder of the power of Mother Nature!”

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About Alicja

Learning to fly at CYBW, no 6 for aircraft movements in Canada. I live in the Rockies, economist, writer, skier, climber, obsessed with mountains & aviation!