Coming in for a landing … scratch that!

Just looking at videos of flights landing, and this brought back all kinds of bad memories.

Back in 2015, this American Airlines flight from New York’s JFK was making its final approach to Los Angeles International. Just stick with the flight for the first four minutes, and you’ll see the problem.

The pilot explained it very nicely. The plane in front of them didn’t get off the runway. The option was go around, or crash. Not much of a choice.

I’ve been on two flights that did this. Once, when I was a teenager, involved a TWA flight from New York to Atlanta. We were landing, then the pilot revved up the engines and we weren’t. Completely freaked me out, because the only thing I could think was there was a plane on the runway.

The second time was last year, flying from Washington to Louisville on USAir. That was at night. I’d done that route dozens of times, and things were going normally when we were almost on the ground, and then we weren’t.

Eventually, the pilot came on and said there was “insufficient separation” with the plane in front of us, a pretty bureaucratic way of saying, “Damn! There’s a plane in the way.”

This video is really reassuring, though, because everybody you hear in radio contact is extremely calm. Unlike me, clutching the armrest and scared out of my life.


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