Any Landing Is A Good One

February 24, 2019

in Airplane Stories

So, this isn’t just about the landing, but also about both of the trips that preceded it.

DCA to MSP. Yes, we were flying to Minnesota in winter. No, this story has absolutely nothing to do with snow. Nothing, zilch, nada.

Outgoing flight, we’re taxiing towards the runway when the pilot pulls over to the side of the taxiway and informs us there was a “small problem” with one of the engines and he has to consult with maintenance. He assured us it was probably just something to flag for maintenance. Indeed, we were on our way a few minutes later.

We’re flying Delta. As soon as we take off, the passenger flight tracker moves the little plane to a location vaguely off the coast of west Africa somewhere between Nigeria and Sao Tome, where it stubbornly stayed for the rest of the flight.

We land at MSP in some light snow, which doesn’t affect anything, and presumably also had no impact on the fire trucks waiting at one of the gates. No, there was no fire or smoke. They finally let us deplane, without any explanation for the fire trucks. (My guess is they thought they had a fuel leak).

So, on to the way back, our equipment is mysteriously one hour late from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I say mysteriously, because there was no significant snow either at MSP OR at Sioux Falls. I checked. Despite this, they board us only thirty minutes late; yay for a fast turnaround team.

We get de-iced and are on our way. Everything goes beautifully… until we start to descend towards DCA and got our free amusement ride for the day in the form of some pretty nasty turbulence. I don’t think it ever crossed the line into “Severe,” but I would call it high “Moderate.” The flight attendants sure weren’t leaving their seats to collect trash. I was very, very glad of my seat belt and came dangerously close to being very glad of a certain amenity generally found in the seat pocket.

We finally get below whatever was tossing the plane around. The flight attendants collect the trash, and we come in for an over-the-city approach. BTW, only captains are allowed to fly into National from the city side. If you’re seeing the monuments on final descent, it’s the most experienced pilot at the controls, because National has a short runway and it’s very possible to end up in the Potomac if you have an excursion.

I glance out the window when we’re just above the runway and say to my husband, “We’re gonna bounce.” I could feel the cross winds going through the air frame. Did we bounce? No, we slammed into the runway as if the wind had pushed the plane right down into the ground. Well, yay! My first ever hard landing.

Nobody was hurt, and the plane was undamaged enough to taxi to the gate (I was having visions of yellow slides and the airport being closed down while they towed our plane off the runway because it had blown a tire). The flight attendant’s welcome speech began with the words, “Any landing is a good one.”

The pilot looked… quite embarrassed. Well, the pilot that was still on the plane. The other one had already made their exit before we got to the front. (As a note, it was probably an intentional hard land, they actually will do that when they have a short runway and strong cross winds. But…)

– Jennifer

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

James February 25, 2019 at 3:17 pm

We’re flying Delta. As soon as we take off, the passenger flight tracker moves the little plane to a location vaguely off the coast of west Africa somewhere between Nigeria and Sao Tome, where it stubbornly stayed for the rest of the flight.

That is likely 0º by 0º.

Reply

Jennifer March 18, 2019 at 4:50 pm

Aha. That would explain the specific location, and makes the glitch make more sense. Good point!

Reply

Johnson Alan July 21, 2019 at 3:38 am

Recently I fly with Lufthansa form Berlin to Frankfurt. I am a blogger. It was my first experience to fly with this airline. It was amazing experience. http://bit.ly/2Y5uhPV

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