Video from the European wind event

I came across this on YouTube:

I can't understand the language, but the pictures tell it all. That video of the airliner trying to land is downright crazy!

I remember wind events like this from my childhood - growing up in Scotland, we often bore the brunt of wound-up Atlantic systems as they crashed ashore on our "island".

I don't know where all of the shots were taken - but I could have sworn at one point the reporter said "Manchester". >shrug<

Someone posted in the comments it was a Turkish news program about the UK wind.

Also noticed a big global warming arguement broke out in the comments. LOL
If there was an accident during the landing ? For sure, the aviation authorities would be charged. Personally, I do not understand how the airport was operational with that wind. Just to illustrate check this another video:

A China Airlines MD-11 crashes during a typhoon in Hong Kong.

If there was an accident during the landing ? For sure, the aviation authorities would be charged. Personally, I do not understand how the airport was operational with that wind. Just to illustrate check this another video:

It was operational because it had to be. That plane had to land somewhere and if every other airport in the region was that bad or worse than the pilots had no choice. So rather than running out of fuel they just landed.

As scary as those videos are, thousands or crosswind landings happen everyday. Nobody crashes and nobody films them. Places like Wellington, NZ; Lisbon; NYC and hundreds of other airports all have crosswind setups that can't be avoided. In the past 20 years how many jetliners have crashed due to strong cross winds at landing in the United States?

The world goes on....even when its windy.
Bill,I agree the plane has to land, but is does need to take off. If there is real time information from the destination and conditions are not adequate one option is not to take off. The alternative as you pointed is to land somewhere if there is fuel. How many times we hear about planes diverting to other airports due to inclement weather. In this case in Britain conditions were much better to the south of the British Islands and If the plane was loaded with enough fuel, a landing in another airport was a reasonable option. Regarding daily strong winds and crosswinds around the world you are right, but in this case in Britain the storm was bringing hurricane force winds. A news wire from the European storm:

In Germany, Deutsche Lufthansa AG canceled 26 flights after German air traffic control halved the number of planes that can take off and land every hour for safety reasons, said Thomas Jachnow, a spokesman for the carrier. A spokesman for British Airways Plc said 104 of its flights to or from London's Heathrow airport had been canceled because of the wind.

The last time such high wind speeds were experienced across such a large area of the UK was the Burns' Day storm'' on Jan. 25, 1990, so it was not an isolated event at a particular airport. Conditions were unsafe all around the affected area.

I still believe it shouldn't be operation. Just like the airport in Hong Kong in 1999 should not be open. What happened ? A MD11 crashed in the runaway.
Last edited by a moderator:
Of course the plane has to land somewhere, but it does not need to take off. If the conditions in the destination are unsafe, why to take off ? See the video of the MD11 crash in Hong Kong. The airport was open despite a typhoon in the area. How many times we hear about planes diverting to other airports due to inclement weather ?

According to the NTSB nobody died in that crash. Others say 3 died. Don't ask how they all escaped, seems very lucky. The weather didn't look too bad in that video. Its more likely than not that pilot error would be the primary cause of that accident with weather being a contributing factor. I read that a typhoon was in the area. That's a fact of life in southeast Asia. Typhoons are always in the area.

As for the plane taking off and getting in position to have to I said before life moves on. Maybe they took off several hours before when the forecast was different. Maybe when they took off the forecast was for a typical upwind landing, but a slight change in wind direction occurred.
A dangerous landing to the average person is just another day at work for a pilot. Maybe a little nerve-racking, but its still something they do everyday.

Many pilots in the United States served in the military. They learned to land on aircraft carriers moving 20 knots while pitching and rolling. And they hit landing areas no bigger than the numbers painted on a typical runway.

Good debate !!

An interesting note I found on the web regarding a 747 Singapore Airlines crash in Taiwan.

Questions are also raised about whether the aircraft should have been attempting to take off at all in the prevailing bad weather. Singapore Airlines follows Boeing's guideline of allowing takeoffs if crosswinds are lower than 55.2 kph. The airline claims that crosswinds were blowing at no more than 27.2 kph when flight SQ006 tried to take off. But a Taiwan Aviation Safety Council report stated that the winds were between 43.2 kph and 49.6 kph.

The Taiwanese carrier EVA Air had scrapped three flights shortly before the Singapore Airline crash, because crosswinds had reached more than 88 kph. While the Taipei control tower provides the most precise weather data available, the airport authority acknowledged that the information is not “real timeâ€â€”that is, it is dated, but the authority refused to say by how much.

Significantly, at Taipei and many other airports around the world, the pilot decides whether or not to take off in bad weather. Runways are only closed if pilots insist on flying in conditions that the airport authorities feel present an “immediate danger to the aircraftâ€. Airport operations are maintained even when wind conditions are higher than the safety levels recommended by aircraft manufacturers.

Obviously pilots are under pressure from airlines to maintain tight schedules and avoid costly delays. Hong Kong-based aviation expert Jim Eckes this week called for the procedure to be changed, insisting that it should be the responsibility of airports to shut down in extremely bad weather.

Eckes pointed out that the fatal crash of a China Airlines aircraft at Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok airport in August last year also happened under typhoon conditions. He said that it was too soon to say whether the storm had played a role in the Taipei crash but the incident highlighted the problems bad weather could cause.

“My feeling is that the airport authorities should exercise the decision-making about their own airport—do they keep it open or don't they? Hong Kong airport says, ‘we stay open and the pilot can make his own decision'. In the United States, whenever you have a hurricane coming up the East Coast, all the airports are closed in its path.â€

Eckes pointed out that unlike the pilots, the airport authority has the benefit of advanced radar technology and other instrumentation on which to base a decision. “Pilots need help, especially in difficult conditions. There are turbulence or wind shear problems which the plane's system doesn't indicate,†he said.
More crosswind landings:

Here's a good site for checking traffic at US airports:
It doesn't include military traffic or private aircraft not wishing to be publicly tracked but it is useful for determing the overall traffic an airport may have at any given time. The site is also reliable enough that it can sometimes be used to identify high flying commercial aircraft seen passing overhead.
Don't get me wrong, I'm as surprised as anyone that they were flying in those condition in Europe last week. But we don't know the story behind the videos. They could have been passenger planes caught off guard or it could be cargo or military flights. Or maybe they just got slammed by a series of gusts that weren't occuring before the approach.

Its seems like its the rare events that cause the big airport closures. Which makes sense. Hurricanes rarely impact the northeast hubs so it should be no surprise that the airports would close. Same thing with snowstorms, but there are many places where it snows every other day and the airports can handle it.

Since typhoons are so common in SE Asia it makes sense that airports can continue to operate with limited operations. Certainly not when the eye is hitting, but typhoons are huge and not every part of the storm is extreme. Anyone who has flown to SE Asia more than a couple times probably has a typhoon/flying story.

Also, I thought that Taiwan crash was pilot/control tower error. I thought they took off on a runway under construction. Certainly nothing to do with crosswinds.
Don't worry. I will not gety you wrong. In fact, this has been a very interesting and educational talk. Many causes were indicadated in this Taiwan crash. The main cause you indicated (wrong runaway). But the report indicated that poor weather was the reason the crew went to the wrong runaway without warning from the tower.