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Flying "experiences"

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by DrLazer, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. DrLazer

    DrLazer Mu-43 Regular

    93
    Mar 23, 2011
    Sheffield, UK
    I don't fly that often, I would say I catch around 10 flights a year. I love flying, it is truly the greatest way to travel. The thing that annoys me is hearing other peoples stories about their experiences of flying.

    I have been through turbulence and crosswind landings, bad weather etc. Ultimately though, it's not really that scary if you understand a little about whats happening. The worst turbulence I have had was enough to knock a drink over on my seatback tray. I could hear stuff in the hold banging together on the worst jolts. Apart from that my flying experiences have been uneventful. we take off, we cruise, we land - same kind of experience every time for me. sometimes it's turbulent, sometimes it's smooth.

    Some of my friends have wild stories and I don't know whether to believe them. I've heard people say they got stuck to the ceiling in the toilet as the plane went through severe turbulence unexpectedly. I've heard the term "air pocket" about a dozen times even though I don't believe they exist. "We hit an air pocket on landing and the plane went sideways" Sideways?!?!?! What ever do you mean?

    You get the idea. I just thought I would ask you if you have had any "events" or "experiences" worth mentioning whilst flying. :tongue:
     
  2. s0nus

    s0nus Mu-43 Veteran

    424
    Dec 13, 2010
    Chicago
    I was working on my USPA A License certification. For this particular training jump, we were taking up a small Cessna to 10k feet. This was my first time jumping out of a Cessna, having done all of my previous jumps out of a Twin Otter, so I was a bit nervous.

    For skydiving purposes, these small planes typically have the seats taken out, other than the pilot seat. I was sitting next to the pilot, by back to the front panel and looking back at my friend and 2 instructors. I was soaking everything in, noticing that the pilot was also wearing a very low profile parachute rig, and checking my altimeter every minute or so waiting for the 10k mark.

    At about 8k, I notice the pilot, who is normally a jovial and joking guy, suddenly go very serious. I watch him tap one of his gauges a couple times and scratch his head in confusion. He looks at me, then looks back at the instructors and yells that we have to get out of the plane immediately.

    I open the door and look out seeing clouds about 1000 feet below us. We are not supposed to jump above cloud cover, since we can't see whats in or underneath the clouds. This time we made an exception. I step out and jump. My instructor catches up to me, and I go through the exercises I was supposed to go through that jump.

    After I deployed my parachute, I watched the Cessna land under me with relief. Talking to the pilot afterwards, I learned that the oil pressure gauge was broken, and was showing no oil pressure.

    The intensity of the moment is a bit lost in these typed words.

    It's nice to have a parachute when on an airplane.
     
  3. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    I have traveled quite a bit for my job. I am less excited now about getting on a plane, not because of any safety concerns or anything like that, but due to all of little annoyances.... long security lines, delays, surly staff (on occasion), angry fellow travelers, neighbor spilling over into my seat, $10 box meals to make up for competitive fares, carry-on bags stuffed to the point where the person cannot stow, etc., etc. Sorry for the complaining! I know I should be grateful that I am able to travel to some cool places on my company's nickel.... I am just much more excited about the destination now, than I am about the travel process.

    I did have one something like an "air pocket" experience once on a Pacific flight. We were cruising along with only mild turbulence (think we had been warned by the captain) when we hit a spot where the plane dropped suddenly. You know the scenes from astronaut videos where they are playing with liquids in zero g, with little globs of liquid floating around? I swear it was just like that for a second or two... everyone's drinks were hanging in midair. It was over super quick, with a pretty decent mess around the cabin.
     
  4. DrLazer

    DrLazer Mu-43 Regular

    93
    Mar 23, 2011
    Sheffield, UK
    @sonus That's a great story. Lucky you, having the balls to be a skydiver. I'm planning on visiting Australia next year and I think I might try and find a company and do a skydive then. I'll be terrified but I think it's something that's got to be done really :D At one time I was actually considering training to be a pilot. A local school near me was offering lessons in Cessnas. I'm not sure why I didn't end up doing that hmmmm. At least your pilot friend made it down safely! I think those little planes have a decent glide ratio so even with no engine power I bet he could have greased it. Great story and great experience. A little outside the bounds of what people may experience on commercial flights but still a great story.

    @krugorg Perfect - That's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. As far as I am aware, "air pockets" don't exist, unexpected clear air turbulence can cause a big bump on a jet and so can downdrafts known as wind shear. Most modern planes can detect the latter in advance these days so it's less of a problem. Your big jolt sounds like a bad one. Can you tell me more about the drop? Was it gradual, speeding up as you went down like a roller coaster? or did it feel like you were in a lift and the cables had been cut (not that I would know what that felt like but you get the idea). You say it lasted a couple of seconds? Do you think that is an accurate estimate? How often do you fly?
     
  5. chuckgoolsbee

    chuckgoolsbee Mu-43 Regular

    144
    Apr 6, 2010
    Bend, Oregon
    My father worked for an airline, so I grew up flying - a LOT. My preferred activity on flights these days is sleeping. I'm one of those sleep anywhere/anytime people, so sleeping, even in turbulence is easy for me. Last year I was on a small 2 engine Bombardier regional prop flight into central Oregon when I guess we hit some serious stuff. The turbulence isn't what woke me up, it was the screaming of my fellow passengers, several of whom were certain we were all going to die (at least that is what they were screaming about.) Nothing ruins a good nap more than somebody screaming about imminent death, especially when they were most certainly wrong.
     
  6. DrLazer

    DrLazer Mu-43 Regular

    93
    Mar 23, 2011
    Sheffield, UK
    @chuckgoolsbe hahahaha "nothing ruins a good nap more than somebody screaming about imminent death" that made me spit out my coffee. So have you experienced any big "drops" in altitude. Any zero G moments? Bad landings?
     
  7. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    :rofl:

    Reminds me of the plane scene from the movie Almost Famous where they think they are going down, so everyone is confessing their darkest secrets [and then the plane pops down into clear blue skies]... love that film.
     
  8. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    It wasn't gradual at all... kind of like an elevator with the cables cut, as you said, but it also felt like you were still moving forward. I couldn't be certain on the duration, but there was just enough time for me to look up, see stuff hanging in midair and then it was over. I think you are right that it is just a type of turbulence... had a bunch of that over the years and similar little drops, just nothing quite as big or memorable.
     
  9. Fright & Flight!

    No real fear of flying. Usually the drive to airport has a higher risk factor.

    Number of years ago aboard a Republic (merged with NW, now Delta) experienced an aborted takeoff. Good reason to adhere to "seats up right, tray tables stowed". Nothing like unexpectedly kissing your knees, hearing the engines screaming reverse and feeling the sudden deceleration. The pilot ended up using pretty much the last millimeter of runway to bring the plane to a safe stop.

    The prop turbo jets I worry a bit about. Too many turbulent & bumpy landings. Final approach into a local airport (pre 911) we heard an alarm coming out of the cockpit. The copilot pulled the curtain. Experience an unusual, but safe landing.


    Real gusty (+30knot) landing on an island off the coast of South America took the pilot couple attempts. 2nd attempt the decent angle seemed a bit steep and fast. Good or lucky pilot. 1st flight to a South American country aboard a non-usa carrier. When coming to a stop everyone applauded. Was not sure if this was customary or an appreciative response to a clean landing.

    Sleeping pretty much anywhere including airplanes has never been a problem. It doesn't really make much of a difference if awake or asleep if the plane crashes.
     
  10. steve16823

    steve16823 Mu-43 Regular

    181
    Sep 26, 2011
    Brookfield, IL
    Brings back memories.

    You don't know anything about turbulence until you've ridden in a small single engine plane in bad weather. I did, ALOT, from 1993-1994 when I worked for a very small company owned by two private pilots.
     
  11. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Sideways:

    [ame=http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=fb0_1201601442]LiveLeak.com - Raw Video;Passenger plane landing sideways[/ame]

    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtnL4KYVtDE]747 Crosswind Landing Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport (1998) - YouTube[/ame]

    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PdUdaXDHm4&feature=related]The Best Crosswind Landings Ever! - YouTube[/ame]
     
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  12. DrLazer

    DrLazer Mu-43 Regular

    93
    Mar 23, 2011
    Sheffield, UK
    I've heard other people say similar things. One of my relatives flew through the grand canyon on a sightseeing flight on a single engined prop. He said he felt sick and spent the majority of the time clutching the seat in front of him. Sounds epic.

    @meyerweb. You know what I mean though ... it's still not sideways. I just got back from Fuerteventura, it's always windy there, was a crosswind angular landing then. Nothing as bad as the vids you posted. I think when people tell me the plane went sideways, they mean it rolled like when it banks. Weird thing to say really. The landing on that first clip you posted is superb. What a class act.