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Old 19th Mar 2007, 20:18
  #79 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Age: 48
Posts: 19
35 years of flying - about 10-20 flights per year (on average) and I have my first go around coming into Belfast in early Decemebr 2006. Wasn't really a suprise given the lead up to it.

Easyjet 737-700 Luton to Belfast, short hop between cities. It is never a really smooth flight given the route, especially in the winter. Take off is choppy and as they always seem to go up to FL410, the aircraft bumps between transition layers (hope that is the right term). And the landings - well, smooth is not a word you would use for BFS!!

This flight was going to prove that to the max.

The Captain asked the cabin crew to prepare for landing early as he was expecting "a really bumpy ride for the last 20 muinutes". Everyone strapped in, gripped the arm rests and chatted nervously- a truly jittery cabin of passengers - and then the ride began!!

Coming in over the bay, setting up for a normal approach, the bumps start. Broken cloud means we can see the ground and get a real impression of the undulations of the aircraft. At this stage, it was nothing to bumpy - unpleasent, yes, but not anywhere near as bad as I have had in the past on this very route.

Alas I relaxed too soon. At around 3000ft, lining up on finals, it got very rough. You could feel the aircraft shimmering as it swayed. Between the right wing dipping, yawing to the left and the nose pushing downwards, gasps prevailled around the cabin. I was willing the pilots to hold it whispering to myself" Come on, get it" as we swang from one impossible angle to another. The engines spooled up and down as the air crew fought to hold the ILS. It was a valiant effort.

But just as the perimeter fence came under our belly, even their vailant efforts were to no avail. A huge wind sheer sprung up and threw us towards the ground, the right wing dipping dangerously close to the grass. People gasped, cabin crew looked shocked - and the the pilots? - well they did exactly what they had trained to do and threw the thorttles wide open and executed a go around.

We were about 100ft from the run way and pow!! Those engines can surely go when the want to. Sharp bank to the right and away we climb.

Announcements made to reassure a very shocked and neervous cabin. Captain says "...too dangerous to continue the approach...."

We cleared off to a holding pattern over the bay and waited for the weather to calm down. 20 minutes of circling at the base of the thicking clouds - very bumpy, but I don't think anyone cared as long as we were flying, and not in that tumble dryer of an approach.

So we try again and to the relief of everyone, the next approach was normal and somewhat un-eventful. We landed, taxied and departed in silence.

Passengers phoned loved ones, consolled each other whilst waiting for their luggage.

The pilots walked in in thir shirt sleeves. All looked on expecting a harried pair, sweating buckets. But they were dry as anythiing, calm and looked generally happy with themselves.

Could they not have looekd just a little flustered - to at least make us nerve trodden passengers feel like it was actually as bad as it felt????

Obviously not!

Training, skill and a love of flying - the qualities that makes passengers trust pilots with their lives.
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