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I used to have to fly all over the country because of my job. I think I have been to just about every large city in the country and some smaller ones from SF to NY, Poughkeepsie, Crystal City, Miami, Tampa, Clearwater, Palo Alto, lived in LA and Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and on and on and on. I started buying coffee mugs that are generally sold at the air ports or hotels and I have NY City with the Twin Towers. Plan to keep that one.

So, recently I got to watching this youtube channel called the flight channel. They chronicle the worst commercial air craft disasters as well as amazing saves and near misses. Going back to my flying experiences I remember a few. LAX was fogged in to the ground and my crew decided to try and chance a landing anyway. Never saw the ground. Just before we about to do something really stupid they hammered the throttles, pulled out and we diverted to I don't remember where. On another one I was on a DC 10 near the back and that fracken tail engine sounded like it was going to blow any second. I got a horrible headache just from the whining and wailing noise and it was also vibrating. The stewardesses were very tense so I knew that they were aware there was something wrong with the thing. What I don't understand is why the pilot didn't throttle that engine back. That has been known at times to keep them from flying apart but they didn't.

Another flight out of LAX, AA, don't remember the plane but just after take off the captain gets on the mic and says, well folks looks like we will be returning to the terminal because there is smoke coming out of the instrument panel in the ****pit. HOLY CRAP, LOL. I started wondering where my parachute was. The last one I really remember was anoter flight out of LAX with a hop in either New Mexico or maybe it was west Texas. The plane got on final like normal, you could hear the throttles drop, saw the flaps come out, heard the gear go down but the plane just kept floating and floating and wouldn't get on the ground. Well, finally it did. When the wheels hit it sounded like somebody was shooting off a 12 gauge double barrel shot gun inside the plane. My ears rang for hours afterwards. When that happened there was dead silence in the plane. Crew never said anything either. Obviously, they hit a little bitsy hard and blew out some tires. Those landing gear are not even rated to land a plane with a full load of fuel unless the pilot can really grease the run way.

So going back to the flight channel, if I had seen these sorts of crashes and explosions happen back when I was flying so much I think I would have up'd my life insurance by a bunch. At least I could leave something behind. There are all kinds of things determined later by investigations to be the cause. Some of them are airplane equipment design flaws like the one about subsurface cracks in the titanium fans on certain engines. They had to have 2 engines explode with the same failure before the FAA took any hard action. A lot of the causes are seeming stupidity by pilots though. Those are the scary ones.

Any, happy flying, LOL.
 

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Even at 100 mph, I have a chance. At 35,000 feet I think I'd be screwed. That's why I stay my butt on the ground and cruise in a Mustang (or a truck) and leave the motorcycles alone.
 

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While things do happen, planes in general are incredibly safe and for the most part, pilots are well trained, at least in the US.

I was a USAF pilot for 20 years, and now fly extensively (as a passenger) for my job. I have had a few “exciting” situations while flying. I have also been on a few commercial flights that would make a passenger awfully nervous, but as a pilot, they were no big deal and the crew probably only found them annoying (turbulence, winds, fog, etc.)
 

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You are much, Much, MUCH safer in the air than you are on the road. This is especially true now since airline pilots aren't flying a few feet from each other while texting on their mobile phones.
 

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Yeah, I'm not seeing the point of this thread. Air travel is extremely safe, and safer than it's ever been. I fly a lot, never had any issues or felt like I was going to die. Had some turbulent weather and some aborted landings but was in the hands of well-trained pilots and had complete confidence in their abilities.
 

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As a retired minor airline pilot (American Eagle) I'll tell you a few things you haven't learned yet.
1) Your crew did not "decide to try and chance a landing anyway". The FAA rules prohibit an airline flight from commencing an Instrument Approach if the reported meteorological conditions (visibility) are not at or above the minimum required for the approach. If the crew commences an Instrument Approach and does not have the "runway environment" in sight at the Missed Approach Point they are required to commence a "Missed Approach". A missed approach requires full application of power (piston engine) or thrust (turbine engine), pitching the nose up, retracting the landing gear, retracting the flaps and following the Missed Approach navigation procedure while reporting to the control tower or other communication facility that the flight "is going missed approach". Believe me, the ****pit is one helluva a busy place during a missed approach and the last thing on the pilots' minds is making a PA to the passengers to tell them what is happening. That will happen once things have settled down.
2) If an engine is having a problem the crew will see it on the gauges and perform a "cautionary shut down". If the engine explodes or catches on fire the crew will perform an "emergency engine shut down". The procedures are basically the same with the difference being the haste with which the shut down is performed.
I'll venture to say that 99% of passengers have no idea what a normal engine sounds like vs. a bad engine. What you heard was most likely the three engines of a DC10 which are in close proximity to each other being "out of sync". There is a huge "fan" in the front of a jet engine. It's the part you see spinning in the wind when you are sitting in the terminal looking out the window. If the three fans on a DC10 are not rotating at the same speed in flight you will hear a waa, waa, waa sound. I commuted to work for the entire 25 years I flew and there was nothing worse than sitting in the cabin listening to that waa, waa, waa. When I was the pilot on a flight I constantly told my First Officers to "sync the fan speeds". Having sat in the back of the plane and listening to out-of-sync propellers or fans made me extremely conscious of synching them.
3) Aircraft are very safe and there are published procedures in a "red book" in the ****pit for almost any emergency imaginable, including smoke in the ****pit. Some emergency procedures (including Smoke, Fire or Fumes) have "memory items" that both pilots must know by rote memory. These memory items must be completed before the red book is pulled out and the remainder of the emergency procedure is completed.
4) The landing gear on a commercial aircraft must be able to withstand a "hard landing" where the descent rate of the aircraft is 3 or 4 times the normal rate of descent. And the tires are extremely tough also. I highly doubt any tires were blown in the hard landing you describe.
I once was a passenger (commuting to work at ORD from DFW) on an MD11 which is the later version of the DC10. I was sitting in a window seat above the wing. It was snowing at ORD at the time and the crew had to fly a holding pattern for a while before commencing the instrument approach. When the aircraft broke out of the clouds at about 200' above the ground I could see the runway coming up to meet us at a rate far greater than normal. I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth as I expected to see the landing gear come up through the wing. The aircraft slammed into the ground but there was no sound of a "12 gauge double barrel shot gun inside the plane". After the crew taxied off of the runway one of the pilots made a PA apologizing for the "arrival" at ORD. I'm sure the crew wrote up the hard landing in the aircraft maintenance logbook and there is a detailed hard landing procedure that the mechanics must perform afterwards before the aircraft may return to service.

I have always said that the drive to the airport is the most dangerous part of a flight. Maybe if you understood what is really happening when you are a passenger you would feel that way also.
 

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As a retired minor airline pilot (American Eagle) I'll tell you a few things you haven't learned yet.
1) Your crew did not "decide to try and chance a landing anyway". The FAA rules prohibit an airline flight from commencing an Instrument Approach if the reported meteorological conditions (visibility) are not at or above the minimum required for the approach. If the crew commences an Instrument Approach and does not have the "runway environment" in sight at the Missed Approach Point they are required to commence a "Missed Approach". A missed approach requires full application of power (piston engine) or thrust (turbine engine), pitching the nose up, retracting the landing gear, retracting the flaps and following the Missed Approach navigation procedure while reporting to the control tower or other communication facility that the flight "is going missed approach". Believe me, the ****pit is one helluva a busy place during a missed approach and the last thing on the pilots' minds is making a PA to the passengers to tell them what is happening. That will happen once things have settled down.
2) If an engine is having a problem the crew will see it on the gauges and perform a "cautionary shut down". If the engine explodes or catches on fire the crew will perform an "emergency engine shut down". The procedures are basically the same with the difference being the haste with which the shut down is performed.
I'll venture to say that 99% of passengers have no idea what a normal engine sounds like vs. a bad engine. What you heard was most likely the three engines of a DC10 which are in close proximity to each other being "out of sync". There is a huge "fan" in the front of a jet engine. It's the part you see spinning in the wind when you are sitting in the terminal looking out the window. If the three fans on a DC10 are not rotating at the same speed in flight you will hear a waa, waa, waa sound. I commuted to work for the entire 25 years I flew and there was nothing worse than sitting in the cabin listening to that waa, waa, waa. When I was the pilot on a flight I constantly told my First Officers to "sync the fan speeds". Having sat in the back of the plane and listening to out-of-sync propellers or fans made me extremely conscious of synching them.
3) Aircraft are very safe and there are published procedures in a "red book" in the ****pit for almost any emergency imaginable, including smoke in the ****pit. Some emergency procedures (including Smoke, Fire or Fumes) have "memory items" that both pilots must know by rote memory. These memory items must be completed before the red book is pulled out and the remainder of the emergency procedure is completed.
4) The landing gear on a commercial aircraft must be able to withstand a "hard landing" where the descent rate of the aircraft is 3 or 4 times the normal rate of descent. And the tires are extremely tough also. I highly doubt any tires were blown in the hard landing you describe.
I once was a passenger (commuting to work at ORD from DFW) on an MD11 which is the later version of the DC10. I was sitting in a window seat above the wing. It was snowing at ORD at the time and the crew had to fly a holding pattern for a while before commencing the instrument approach. When the aircraft broke out of the clouds at about 200' above the ground I could see the runway coming up to meet us at a rate far greater than normal. I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth as I expected to see the landing gear come up through the wing. The aircraft slammed into the ground but there was no sound of a "12 gauge double barrel shot gun inside the plane". After the crew taxied off of the runway one of the pilots made a PA apologizing for the "arrival" at ORD. I'm sure the crew wrote up the hard landing in the aircraft maintenance logbook and there is a detailed hard landing procedure that the mechanics must perform afterwards before the aircraft may return to service.

I have always said that the drive to the airport is the most dangerous part of a flight. Maybe if you understood what is really happening when you are a passenger you would feel that way also.
Ok, I'm not a pilot (always been fascinated with flying) but have flown numerous times. I thank you for such an in-depth explanation as to the procedures followed for each of these occurrences...

Allen
 

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I hardly worry about the safety of traveling by plane. For me, it is all the b.s. leading up to getting on the thing, and then getting off....the flying parts a breeze. You have to leave the house early enough to factor in a flat tire, parking, bringing everything, getting thru security, checking in...waiting...getting boarded, luggage issues, the people sitting around me...ahhhhhhh, if its up to me I would rather drive to anything under 10 hours and take the higher risk of dying on the road trip! The wife feels different, so we fly....
 

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I am with Geicoman58 on this, the flying I don't mind too much (as long as I am not stuck in middle seat!) but I hate driving to airport, parking 10 minutes from terminal, waiting through security, delayed flights and such. If I add up all that drive/waiting/flying time and if I can drive the trip in similar time, I choose to drive. So any trips under 6 hours I drive.
I will admit, I have had a few scares that made me double think it. While flying to Atlanta once, we caught the tail end of a hurricane. I was half dozing when we hit an air pocket and the plane dropped suddenly, getting a bunch of gasps and a few screams. Less than a minute later, while everyone was breathing a sigh of relief, the BIG drop came. Coffee cups were hanging in the air, a baby hit the ceiling of the plane and there were many cries and screams. Afterward there was coffee and such dripping from the ceiling, people were sobbing all over the plane. It was a very big business trip and there was probably 3/4 of our company management team on board. Afterwards, it was decreed that on future trips of that type, there would be no more than 3 managers fly on the same flight.
 

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Unfortunately I have had to fly more than I wanted, especially later in my career. Nothing too earthshattering ever happened, turbulence, some water dripping on my head (DC10), etc. One that DID stand out was a flight into West Palm and must have been some more crosswind. Pretty sure I'm not supposed to see down the runway from my window seat as we came fluttering down and when we did finally straighten up enough to touch down it was a brief moment of shudder and then hard throttle and back up we went to try it again. Runway is only so long.....Glad I don't have to fly anymore either. I'll take my chances on good, old terra firma.
 

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As a retired minor airline pilot
Were you like the Doogie Howser of pilots or did the airline only fly children?... :unsure:

On a flying tour we’d easily fly 5-10k miles a week. Up before dawn, wait in the lounge, fly, collect bags and whatever gear we flew with, gig, sleep a few hours and start again. The last year I toured I did around 250k air miles not counting whatever we did in the coach which is usually 300-500 miles a night. Charter air was more acceptable. Commercial air service is :poop: and barely better with whatever club you’re in. Between the hassle at the airport and the poor service from the airlines it’s not worth it unless you have to.
 

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That's called crabbing and is what they're supposed to do in high cross winds.

True, but they must not have crabbed quick enough because they ran out of runway and had to bolt and try again.
 

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Were you like the Doogie Howser of pilots or did the airline only fly children?... :unsure:
Nope. In the industry there are the "major" airlines such as American, Delta and United and then there are the "minor" airlines like American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express. All us minor pilots used to joke that we were "building our flying time for the majors". With more than 20,000 hours of flight time at the minor you'd think I had enough hours for a major!
 

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I was half dozing when we hit an air pocket and the plane dropped suddenly
Another common misconception about flying. What is an "air pocket"? A place in the sky where there is no air causing the plane to lose lift and drop?
The atmosphere is just like a flowing river. And just like rocks, logs and other objects in the river can cause turbulence in the water, mountains, storms and jet streams can cause turbulence in the air. So the plane you were in simply flew through some turbulent air. Passengers will swear that the airplane dropped 1000's of feet when the altitude changed 50 feet.
 

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Nope. In the industry there are the "major" airlines such as American, Delta and United and then there are the "minor" airlines like American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express. All us minor pilots used to joke that we were "building our flying time for the majors". With more than 20,000 hours of flight time at the minor you'd think I had enough hours for a major!
 

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True, but they must not have crabbed quick enough because they ran out of runway and had to bolt and try again.
It’s a go around, due to an unstabilized approach, and a very normal (and encouraged) maneuver. Would you rather them force the airplane onto the ground? The answer is no. The pilot monitoring will call the go around if he sees airspeed, vertical speed, or aircraft attitude exceeds certain parameters. The pilot flying can call and execute the maneuver anytime he wants. It’s erring on the side of caution, and what good pilots do. It’s the guys that won’t go around (usually driven by ego) that you have to worry about.





Honestly, I cringe when I read threads like this because of the sheer ignorance involved. Every situation in the OP is just ignorance. There’s nothing wrong with being ignorant, but you have to know that you just don’t know. I don’t go to places trying to tell people how to do their job, and people have to understand that they just don’t know what’s happening in the ****pit of an airplane. The training we go through is very intense and thorough.

I had to shut an engine down and perform a single engine landing just a few months ago. It’s a non event because of our training. Things like missed approach procedures, go arounds, rejected takeoffs are all basic, normal procedures. It doesn’t mean the flight crew messes up, it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong, and it’s dang sure not dangerous. I did the corporate/charter thing for a while and now fly for a major. Sit back, relax, and let the cabin crew take care of you. Everything is going to be okay.
 

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Well, I have a bit of time in the airline seat (million mile + on American Advantage, etc.) but I also control my destiny. I have 113 more take offs than landings. If the in flight movie is poor, food mediocre, etc. or just time to go, I parachute out. Take THAT US Air Force with your doggy C-127's C130's, C141's, etc.
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My father, who died in 2012 at 96, was a pilot for years, going back to WWII. Flying with him was always a non-event. The first time I was uncomfortable in a plane was my first commercial flight.
 
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