Nervous About Nosedives

April 22, 2011

in Weather Stories

I always knew that international flights, especially ones going across the Pacific ocean, were a little bumpy. I was never afraid of flying when I was a kid, I loved every aspect of it. And I don’t remember ever being afraid or even noticing turbulence. A few years ago, I suddenly became TERRIFIED of flying. I have no idea where this fear came from, who knows.

Anyway, every year I fly from NYC to Tokyo, Japan. There’s always a layover in either Toronto, Calgary, or Vancouver. The flight from NYC to Calgary was okay, a little bumpy but I survived. Once we started boarding the second flight from Canada to Tokyo, I was thinking, “Hey, I’m doing pretty good. I think I got this fear of flying subdued! Woo!” WRONG.

The 9 hour flight was a little bumpy, but once I saw the lights of Tokyo and the captain tells us that we were preparing to land, I felt calm and collected. All of a sudden the plane started going through severe turbulence. Up, down, left, right. The plane started to dip towards the left, I figured it was just turning, but it was REALLY dipping. And I noticed how fast we were going and getting close to the ground. Suddenly, I hear metal grinding on metal and the plane NOSEDIVES, then jolts back up, then nosedives again.

Then the emergency alarm goes off and we are nosediving again. Everyone is screaming and praying. I start praying. I was 100% positive we were going to die. I don’t think I had ever been so sure in my life that the end was coming than I had been in that moment.

The plane lands, but it’s a mess. Stuff is falling out of the overhead compartments, people are screaming, I hear loud high-pitched electronic noises, and the emergency alarms are still going.

I have no idea what happened. I didn’t stop to ask, but I’m pretty sure there was some kind of engine failure. I don’t think I can ever fly in a plane again, to be honest.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Weetniet April 22, 2011 at 4:49 am

OP, could you please give us a date, the airline you were flying with and a flight number? How were you able to hear the "emergency alarm"? What kind of sound was it then? Normally, alarms only go off in the cockpit?! For which reasons are you "pretty sure" that there was an engine failure? Giving more details would definately help to increase credibility of this story.

Perhaps your fear of flying added a little more drama/eggageration to this account? I am somewhat suspicious that this is the case because I watch NG Aircrash Investigation often and I never heard of an alarm going off outside the cockpit. Where does the turbulence end and where does the engine failure begin?


Mitchell December 26, 2015 at 10:56 pm

This post is spam, having been a pilot with United for the past 6 years, I know that you can't hear the warnings and caution alarms.


The Teenaged Tourist April 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Engine failure couldn’t have caused that big of a problem. Pilots are not just trained to deal with these situations, if an airplane design fails to operate safely with the loss of one or more engines, the government WILL NOT LEGALISE the plane for commercial operations.

I once flew on a 747 where we had an engine fire. We safely landed back at the original airport as if nothing happened! Had a chat with the captain after landing and he told me the 747 can also fly with only 2 engines so losing 1 engine is like a stroll in the park!l


Bob April 22, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Sounds like what happened in the novel "Airframe" by Michael Crichton.


pes April 23, 2011 at 6:47 am

Why would you layover in a place like Calgary as the flights would be more expensive than NY direct? Judging by the stopovers you mention it is likely AC, which is more expensive than even the Japanese airlines. Also I'm sure there would have been a blurb in the paper or something, especially in the Yomiuri. I dunno, something wrong here. BTW, I was on a NW JFK-Narita 20 odd years ago and the engine fell off when landing. A little bump to us in the cabin but also in papers in the US and Japan. When did this occurence happen?


Ren2005 April 29, 2011 at 10:20 pm

I didnt know you could actually hear alarm sounds from the cockpit.


The Sizzler May 11, 2011 at 9:44 am

Up down, up down, left right, left right, B-A-B-A Start. Fixes up a hardl landing real quick.


ron May 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm



crella June 19, 2011 at 7:06 pm

There have been incidents over Narita where people have broken bones, 16 injured one time, 20 another. I don't doubt it occurred.


USMom July 21, 2013 at 5:37 pm

How did you get home?


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