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Severe Winds Force Super Cubs into the Air

This event happened at the USAF Academy Airfield in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  It caused a dangerous emergency situation for four tow pilots as a dangerous microburst, pushing wind speeds into 55 knot gusts, swept the high mountain airport.   The Airfield sits at an altitude of over 6500 feet and is commonly subject to unpredictable gusts of wind due to it’s proximity to the mountains.

This event happened on April 23, as glider students were waiting for a tow.  The whole incident was filmed from the control tower.

A microburst is a very localized column of sinking air caused by a small and intense downdraft, and is associated with thunderstorms.  It does not last long, anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes, but the force of the event can produce wind speeds so strong it can take out trees.

Two of the Super Cub pilots, who were sitting in the airplanes, were forced to take the the skies or risk having their airplanes flip over while they were inside. This is another example of how wind and performance are related, and example of an extremely short field take off situation. It’s also not the first time an aircraft has been forced to take off due to heavy winds: in one incident, an unmanned aircraft took flight.

No one was injured in this incident.

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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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Bird strike mid-air collision caught on camera

Bird strike – a large bird crashes through airplane windshield, and it was all covered on the pilot’s GoPro camera.   This was a scary moment for Florida pilot Rob Weber, who suffered a minor cut to his forehead in this incident.  The event happened in Florida.

This amazing video was recorded by the pilot with his GoPro camera.  When he went out flying that day he never thought the day would end like this.  This lucky pilot, Rob, would escape with his life and his airplane largely intact. Rob was on a solo flight on his way to Page Field, Florida, and he landed without incident despite having a large cut on his forehead from the glass shards of the windscreen.

It is not known what type of bird hit the plane, no ‘bird parts’ were left other than a severed foot and some feathers. Pretty cryptic!  These parts will be used to identify the bird.   The flight was over Fort Myers, Florida, in a Piper Saratoga and the bird hit the window at only 1000′ AGL.   Did you know that generally we can expect to encounter birds up to 3000′ AGL?

Here is what his airplane looked after the collision.  It will need a new windscreen, but otherwise there is not too much damage.

The plane post-collision. Image courtesy of
The plane post-collision. Image courtesy of

What do you think of this incident? Leave your comments below.