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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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The dangers of flying through rotor wash

We all know wake turbulence can be very dangerous, and this video shows that helicopter rotor wash is no exception.

Wake turbulence is invisible, extremely powerful and can last for several minutes, making it important to take note where the turbulence likely is, and time until it’s likely dissipated, or plan to fly over it instead of through it.

In this video, a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter takes off, and only 27 seconds later, a Cirrus SR-20 attempts to land. The airplane appears to fly into the area where rotor wash was produced with disastrous results.

This accident happened in Fort Collins, Colorado. It’s reported that the pilot was only on his second solo in the Cirrus, and attempted to land long after he saw the helicopter take off. The rotor wash the airplane flew into put the plane into a steep left bank which was impossible to recover from since it was only a few feet from the ground.   

How helicopters produce rotor wash

Helicopters produce rotor wash much in the same way that fixed wing aircraft produce wake turbulence. The lift produced by the rotors create vortices that swirl downward, bounce off the ground and go up again. If winds are light, as they were in this scenario, the turbulence will linger a lot longer. In this situation, the pilot of the Cirrus hits the turbulence 27 seconds after the helicopter took off.    

On takeoff, rotor wash is harder to manage. If the pilot was taking off, the pilot would have to plan to have taken off well beyond the point where rotor wash is suspected, and to have climbed enough to avoid it, much like an obstacle take off

How to avoid rotor wash

Again, these procedures are similar to avoiding wake turbulence. Stay above rotor wash, know the direction the wash will travel due to winds. Stay upwind of the wash and give it several minutes to fully dissipate. Stay above and land beyond where the turbulence is. In this situation, the pilot should have either have tried to land long or just execute a overshoot.

In a controlled airport, air traffic control will help you avoid the wash, but if you’re in an uncontrolled aerodrome, you’ll have to be extra vigilant. 

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Space Shuttle launch and landing

This amazing footage shows the launch of the last space shuttle, the Atlantis, the last space shuttle to fly and marks the completion of the Space Shuttle program. The shuttle was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 8 2011.  The space shuttle is now retired. Different vehicles are now used to access space, including the Russian capsule Soyuz and the Orion. More vehicles are being considered and being tested.

The footage of this space shuttle  is very cool and shows some key phases during a mission, the launch, docking, approach and landing. As an extra bonus, it’s set to some pretty cool music. Make sure you have the music up for this video.

Have you ever wondered how the space shuttle comes back to earth? After approaching through atmosphere, the shuttle was flown very much like an airplane, with some pretty major differences in scale. The shuttle, with a heavy, rectangular body, huge nose cone and shorty, stubby wings is not very aerodynamic and essentially drops like a brick on approach. It takes roughly 3 and a half minutes to descent from 37,000 feet at a descent rate of 10,000 feet per minute. 

A flying brick

A typical descent path for an airliner is 3 degrees, but the shuttle is so heavy and produces so much drag, they use a 20 degree glide slope flown at 345 miles per hour with a descent rate of 10,000 feet per minute. To give you the immense difference of scale, a typical airliner will use a descent rate of 750 feet per minute flown at about 165 miles per hour. 

The shuttle touches down at around 200 knots (225 miles per hour), faster than the flown speed on descent of an airliner. 

In fact, NASA astronauts train in a modified Gulfstream II jet which simulates how unaerodynamic the space shuttle actually is. It flies with it’s landing gear down and engines in reverse. 

The landing gear doesn’t even go down until 300 feet before touchdown! The pilots only have one shot at landing; there is no fuel or power for a go around. The landing is simply a forced approach.

How exactly does the shuttle approach earth?

Interested in more information about the approach and landing? This video explains it really well, and is very entertaining. I’ve enjoyed watching this one a few times. Enjoy!

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‘Impossible’ Stunt strapped to the outside of an Airbus A400M

For Tom Cruise’s next movie, Mission Impossible Rogue Nation, he pulls off a stunt that looks surprisingly real.  That’s because it is real!

Cruise actually was strapped to the fuselage Airbus A400M cargo plane to get this once in a lifetime shot. Only he didn’t do it once, he did it eight times!

Cruise, a certified pilot, was terrified of doing this stunt. He couldn’t sleep the night before, and feared for his life as the aircraft accelerated down the runway into the clear blue sky.   The jumbo, four engine turbo prop circled around to land with him still holding on.

The scene is for the movie Mission Impossible, Rogue Nation, which opens in theatres at the end of the month.

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Adding Skis and Rockets to a Lockheed C-130 Hercules

This airplane is the ski-equipped variant of the C-130 Hercules.  With added rockets and skis, this is one cool airplane, and it is used in the Arctic and Antarctic.

It is equipped with four jet-assisted takeoff rockets – that’s right, rockets – on each side of the fuselage. The rockets aid in adding maximum power for short or rough and unimproved runways.

Watch as this tough airplane takes off in the Arctic.

Watch more cool videos like the dead stick landing of a Cessna Caravan or the world record-making inverted flat spin.


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Dead Stick Landing of Cessna Caravan

This Cessna 208 Caravan experienced catastrophic engine failure when metal from the gearbox passed through the compressor and turbines, destroying the turbine blades and killing the engine.

Engine failure is a pilots’ worst nightmare!

The pilot did a great job gliding the plane in for a safe and smooth landing.

Do you remember what to do in the event of an engine failure? Review your forced landings and how to select a suitable field.