Back to Squawk list
  • 40

Plane battling winds at Heathrow nearly topples over

As storms buffet the UK, footage has emerged of a pilot pulling off a particularly challenging landing -- but not before the plane appeared to nearly topple over and scrape its tail on the runway. British Airways flight 1307 traveled from Aberdeen to London on Monday -- but the 80-minute flight had a bumpy ride at the end. Coming in to land at Heathrow, the plane -- an Airbus A321neo -- was visibly buffeted by winds, before touching down on one wheel, bouncing up and down again, tipping… ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

patrick baker 31
this pilot was pilot enough to extricate his plane and passengers from a complex situation getting worse, made a go-around, then landed the
Airbus safely and everybody walked off the aircraft intact. This is not olympic gymnastic competition where style and flawless execution of preprogramed moves gets high scores. THis first landing changed by the instant with forces not necessariy experienced by this crew or many other crews. Bravo for the flight crew upfront. Hope that was the last flight for this crew that day. They need to sit at the bar and have some drinks, with pride...
John D 7
I am no pilot, but that was some great piloting. 4-5 bounces, they say, Nope, we are leaving and trying again. Bravo, indeed!
Jeremy Bennington 9
A third bounce is almost always damaging and leads to loss-of-control. On the second bounce you've got to decide if you've got it or not. There's no penalty in going around.
sharon bias 12
Decent video of the aborted landing at BBC.
Steve Stein 5
Been on Alaska MD-88 into ONT during a Santa Ana. Captain told us it’ll get bumpy over the Cajon Pass. A big understatement. We came around to line up from the west (first clue), started descending over Pomona, over the threshold of the runway8L, and the captain can’t get the plane on the ground. I was sitting right in front of the engines so I can hear the engines throttling, we’re tipping left and right, and the captain aborts the landing. Now he has to reconfigure and get us airborne again. I never heard a Mad Dog’s engines rev that high. It was a roller coaster getting altitude again. Overhead storage compartments were flung open, crap rolling down the aisles, and people screaming. We ended up diverting to LAX. ONT closed for the evening.

After the flight, I hung back to talk to the captain. I asked him how his knuckles were doing. He held them up and said “Still white”. He said they were well below max landing speed in a headwind but suddenly winds gusted to 90mph. Obviously that’s why everything was diverted to LAX after that. Glad we had what appeared to be a senior captain flying us that night.
Jeremy Bennington 5
Almost became a porpoise. The only technique the PIC missed was to 'push' when going around to avoid the tail strike. Which is not a natural reaction when the last bounce was nose down and you are trying to escape. If you don't push a tail strike or departure stall can occur.
vector4traffic 5
So in the video at 0:57 you can see that there's weight-on-wheels but the spoilers didn't deploy. In sketchy conditions is this the norm (presumably to help with a potential TOGA)?
Jeremy Bennington 10
Weight on wheels is just one of the criteria to deploying the spoilers in a A321. Speed, pitch, etc. are also looked at for exactly this reason. The aircraft needs to be stabilized in it's landing to deploy.
Bayouflier 11
Julia Buckley is obviously not a pilot, otherwise she would know that commercial jets don't "topple over". One would think that CNN could afford to have a pilot on staff who could have provided her with some real pilot lingo.
Chris Risley 6
You may have noticed what’s going on at CNN recently. High quality not a hallmark.
Dale Ballok 7
That’s their hallmark!
Chris Risley 7
I stand corrected !
Harry Venison -1
I'm no fan of Network news, CNN is one of them. But Faux news is 10 times worse with all their BS lies on air. And don't get me started on Turdmax.
strickerje 3
None of the other network media outlets are relevant to this discussion though. Your use of the "Faux news" moniker suggests you just can't resist getting a swipe in...
Georgina Echols -3
You can be civil can you. It’s disgustingly I truly hope you get some help.
Randy Marco 0
Your ignorance is disgusting.

You can't even form sentences which is typical of a faux news supporter.

Sad, really sad the denigration of America and how easily faux can manipulate the synapse challenged.
Dan Chiasson 1
AND, be careful the faux (French term actually)news supporters of all stripes breed. Sadly, the shine is off the shining city on the hill for all the world to see.
srobak -5
You koolaid drinkers are the only ones being manipulated.
Dale Ballok 2
That was my exact thought! Guess that’s typical CNN reporting. Nonsensical and usually exaggerated to lure in readers!😩
srobak 2
Remember this is the SAME network that captioned a 777 story with:

"Boeing 777 will struggle to maintain altitude once the fuel tanks are empty"
Dan Chiasson 0
Which kind of sounds like the same model as this website.
Franky16 6
Hardly a topple. This is a column about the aircraft industry for goodness sake.
Mike Hindson-Evans 3
My compliments to the driver for going around. This has - obviously - happened before. I recall a go-around on a Shuttle flight from MAN into LHR in the last century. We came in, touched, rolled along the deck nose-high then opened the taps and went around.

Silence from flight deck for about 15 minutes until PA finally opened - apologising for the fact that those at the front had been unable to accomplish what those in the back had achieved - making contact with the ground. Ten minutes later we were on terra firma, docked at the terminal and everyone had a good story to tell.

Quite rightly a pilot is never questioned about his/her decision to execute a go-around.
Wooo Hooo, ride 'em cowboy ... or cowgirl, if the situation fits.

Oh, and "Highflyer1950", I think you missed the rest of the comment about the winds, "but it was a gust funneling between two buildings and hitting the runway that nearly toppled the plane."
Highflyer1950 7
Thanks, but I did note the alluded “wind tunnel” building effect. The A321 has different flaps (double slotted ) than the A320 and the aircraft reacts differently in Land Full config plus just by observing the video, that even if a wind gust caught the PF off guard, it appears to me at least a pilot induced out of phase roll correction where the control input actually made roll oscillation worse and the nose high attitude didn’t help. In the Land Full config, the flight spoilers activate for quicker roll response as compared the Config 3. Again I wasn't there but as Patrick alluded, the crew got it under control with great results.IMO
Geoff Rowe 4
It might be the angle that the picture was taken at but that does look a lot like a tail strike.
srobak -2
it is very obviously a tail strike
Rob Edgcumbe 4
Since the plane flew later that day, maybe not as obviously as you suggest?
srobak 0
It was empty and went to the maintenance hub
jmilleratp 5
Pure Click Bait Headline.
jmilleratp 5
And, I know the dolt from MSN is the one who wrote it. But it was certainly to get clicks.
strickerje 1
I think the headlines carry over from the original source, so in this case, CNN.
Raleigh Truitt 2
Commenters complimenting this creew are not pilots. Commenters pointing out the mistakes the crew made (unstable approach, floating, fighting oscillations instead of fixing a landing pitch) are. The only thing this crew did right was TOGA, and even that was late.
WhiteKnight77 3
Agreed. That he was able to get out of a sticky position is commendable, but he should have considered going around before it got to the point he had or almost had a tail strike. They way that plane was bouncing around on short final should have been clue enough that landing would be a bear.
Timothy Clark 1
I'm not a pilot but here's what matters most to me in this story. They got on to the ground without any damage to the aircraft and or the occupants. Could things have been done differently? Probably so but then again, it could have ended much differently as well.
boughbw 1
I have watched the video several times and I am still not quite "getting it." I mean, yes, kudos to the pilot on getting the plane up and going around, tail drag and all... but it seems like the pilot never committed to landing as opposed to going around. It almost looked like the old DC-9 approach with the nose slightly down as the plane came in. The flare looked fine, but then the pilot never pushed the nose forward. The problems appeared to have induced more by the hesitation of the pilot than any wind. For what it is worth, everything looked great up until the decision to go around. What am I missing?
Raleigh Truitt 1
View my post of about 24 hours ago to see what you're missing. . .
dodger4 1
This was an atrocious landing attempt no matter how you look at it. It should have been aborted long before they did. There are precautions and allowances for gusty conditions, specifically approaching with half the gust speed added on to your Vref.

The loss of manual flying skills in younger crew who have been flying automation for a few years is alarming. This is another example of poor decision-making with a lack of basic skills, and overcontrolling the long-fuselage aircraft. Those jokers who think the pilot exhibited superior skills and did a good job need to take a step back and reassess whether they should be posting their drivel at all.
Dan Chiasson 6
I trust that you are a commercial pilot. If so, points taken. Otherwise, your comments are just noise and hot air.
strickerje 4
The comment is either factual or not on its own; who the messenger is has no bearing on that.

That said, I don't agree that this was bad piloting; it looks to me as though the approach was smooth until the wind-tunnel effect just before landing, and the pilot spent a couple seconds trying to salvage it before going around.
Highflyer1950 0
The video posted elsewhere actually shows substantial over-controlling with a very nose high attitude from 50’ on down. With the wind around 20 knots it should not have thrown the aircraft around as depicted like a rag doll? I wasn’t there but have seen it many times before. Fortunate, a successful go around was accomplished after what looks like a bounce recovery gone awry?
Dale Ballok 3
I pity the passengers!
Dan Chiasson 3
If you were not there, then you are taking the type of liberty typically reserved to armchair quarterbacks. Captain's call. No damage. Full stop. Time to move on.


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
This website uses cookies. By using and further navigating this website, you accept this.
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.