A shocking video of a British Airways Airbus A320 attempting to land in Gibraltar demonstrates precisely why I’d rather walk than fly.
The incident happened on February 25 on Flight 492 from London Heathrow to Gibraltar. The British enclave on the tip of Spain is prone to winds, though this flight experienced winds like I’ve never seen. Just watch the videos below, especially the first one. Can you believe how windy that is?
As a result, the flight diverted to Malaga, about 60 miles away. Pilots must receive special training to land in Gibraltar, but this is something that would give even the most experienced pilot pause.
A BA spokesman played down the incident, issuing a brief statement:
The flight has landed safely and passengers have left the aircraft normally.
Due to strong winds in the Gibraltar area, our pilots decided to land in Malaga as a precaution.
The safety of our customers and crew is always our number one priority.
It is not clear how the passengers were transported from Malaga to Gibraltar.
When I traveled to Gibraltar many years ago, I flew into Lisbon and traveled overland across Portugal and Spain before reaching Gibraltar by foot from Algeciras. I later took a boat to Morocco and traveled south in Morocco by train. You can read that now-classic trip report here.
And next time I may just walk again rather than experience a flight like the one above.
I once experienced a flight like that on a regional jet flying into Washington Dulles. It wasn’t quite as bad, but we were rocking like a hammock. There, the pilot landed and other than my Malaysia Airlines incident I never been more afraid on a scarier flight. I thought sure the the wings (filled with fuel) were going to bang again the runway as we landed. We missed it by inches, not feet…
All this to say, flying remains the safest mode of transport. But high winds can be vexing and I’ve never seen anything like the video above.
Have you ever experienced wind to Gibraltar like the video above?