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Thursday, June 18, 2009

United flight turbulence - pilot was a pro!

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I've been in Georgia for a week now - most of the time I've been sick - but I'll never forget the flight to get here. Now, I've flown thousands of times and come here each month, but the way this United Airlines flight shook while entering Atlanta airspace scared the heck out of me.

Turbulence? Sure. I've felt it before – a lot actually - but usually during the flight, not at the end of the flight. Apparently the Georgia weather included more than a few storm clouds; because of this our landing was delayed 12 minutes. But then I guess the pilot got cleared to land because we just dived into the most terrible clouds I've seen in a while and all hell broke lose.

The plane shook, at one point before the video violently (which is why I turned it on) and the Airbus A319 airframe produced this kind of loud whining noise I've never experienced before. All of this is in the video. Through it all the pilot was a pro. After that three minutes of terror so close to the airport, he landed smoothly. I guess that's why he makes the big bucks, or I hope he does.

I wonder to this day if we could have waited another few minutes and gotten around those clouds. As I exited the plane, the pilot had just emerged from the cockpit; I said “Nice landing. Thanks.” He tipped his hat and breathed a sigh of what had to be relief.

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