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737 aborts midlanding in extreme wind

enter air boeing 737 salzberg austria

Tense moments leading up to a tricky approach and landing at Salzberg airport in Austria on October 29.

The Polish Enter Air Boeing 737, arriving from Frankfurt, is on approach very gusty winds and highly technical crosswind conditions and unable to make a smooth touchdown following a storm. The storm, called Storm Herwart, had just passed through the area and caused severe weather in Germany and Poland this week.  

The 737 makes a highly technical approach through what look like severe gusty crosswinds, putting the plane in a crab at first, and straightening it out on short final. The crew of this Polish airline was attempting to land on 9000 foot long runway 33, with with winds reported at 270 at 26 gusting 46. The crosswind component was at 60 degrees. After a circling approach, a wind gust nearly drove the wing into the ground. 

The plane bounced off the runway as a strong gust caused the right wing to drop, and looks like at this moment, the pilots decide to overshoot, and initiate take off right away.

Another attempt at landing was not made, and the Boeing headed back to Frankfurt. This looks like the airplane narrowly averted disaster. Two airplanes behind the Boeing decided to go around after receiving the wind shear alert on short final. 


This must have been a scary and intense experience especially for the passengers. Amazingly, the approach was filmed by one of the passenger, which makes for some really interesting footage. It’s interesting to see it from this perspective as well. You can really get a sense of how hard the touchdown was, and the imminent overshoot. The video was shot by passenger Manfred Ortel.

The Boeing returned to Salzberg in about an hour and landed without incident. 

Read more about crosswind landings here and see more videos about difficult crosswind landings


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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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Sexist note left on napkin for female Westjet Pilot

Coming by this sad  piece of news was especially disappointing given the fact that it’s worldwide women of aviation week.  Last Sunday, March 2, on a Calgary-based airline Westjet flight from  Calgary, Alberta to Victoria, BC, a male passenger only identifying himself as David, left a sexist note on a napkin for the female Captain.

The note was left on the seat for Boeing 737 Captain Carey Steacy, a seasoned pilot, who has been flying for 17 years. She was outraged at the note and posted the note on her facebook page, and has sparked a lot of support with hundreds of reposts and comments.   In the note, he states that a cockpit of an airplane is “no place for a woman” and that we are “short mothers, not pilots.”

sexist pilot note on napkin westjet
Sexist note left for female Westjet pilot. Image courtesy of Carey Steacy.

Flight attendants aboard the flight also indicated that the same passenger questioned them before takeoff if she had enough flight hours to fly the plane. It’s hard to believe there are people in this country that think like that, and especially sad for us that this happened so close to home, and to an airline we know so well.

Carey handled the incident with class and wit, and her employer, Westjet airlines condemned the remarks and called the note “disappointing.”

Because so few pilots are women, people just aren’t used to hearing a female on the PA system on their flight.  That can spark resentment. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work to be done, and the word needs to spread that aviation is a viable career for women and men equally. Less than 5% of airline pilots are women, after all.  At Westjet, there are 58 female pilots and 1111 male pilots, which is right in that range.

The captains response

Here is Carey’s response to the note, as posted on her facebook page:

“To @David in 12E on my flight #463 from Calgary to Victoria today. It was my pleasure flying you safely to your destination. Thank you for the note you discreetly left me on your seat. You made sure to ask the flight attendants before we left if I had enough hours to be the Captain so safety is important to you, too. I have heard many comments from people throughout my 17 year career as a pilot. Most of them positive. Your note is, without a doubt, the funniest. It was a joke, right? RIGHT?? I thought, not. You were more than welcome to deplane when you heard I was a “fair lady.” You have that right. Funny, we all, us humans, have the same rights in this great free country of ours. Now, back to my most important role, being a mother.”

You go, Carey.  You are awesome.


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