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Home > Air Travel > Could the airplane I was on have been experiencing serious problems?
Could the airplane I was on have been experiencing serious problems?
Flying - Air Travel
Thursday, 27 October 2005 23:35


Hello Captain Lim,

Thank you for the helpful comments on your website - I am working through some issues I have, caused most recently from an experience I had on a horrible flight on a small United Express plane. I will be completely honest with you and tell you that I do not like flying and am a bit of a control freak but I feel that I had cause for concern.

On a recent flight I was on, returning home from a business trip, our flight was delayed because of repairs needed to "de-icing equipment". When the repairs were completed (or supposedly completed) our flight took off an hour or so late. It was raining and overcast, so naturally, turbulence was present. The turbulence continued, even after reaching cruise and appearing to be well over the clouds. The pilot said nothing about the situation but began beeping the flight attendance frequently and talking to them on telephones. The only announcement made was when he yelled at the flight attendants to "sit down, NOW!". When the air smoothed (some) at times, flight attendants were passing out alcohol to the point that they ran out.

I*ve read everything you*ve said about turbulence and, in reality, this flight was probably medium-to-medium/heavy but I doubt severe as we were not going directly through any t-storms but none the less, I was petrified, other passengers looked scared and, worst of all, the flight attendants looked scared, though they tried desperately to mask their fear, as they are surely taught.

My main question is - could the airplane I was on have been experiencing serious problems, possibly due to problems with the de-icing equipment having problems, causing it to feel very out-of-control at times? I have a genuine curiosity about this traumatic situation - I have no proof of nothing, so legal action or anything like that isn*t even possible. I just really want to know what kind of danger I was in. I was preparing to meet God, saying good-bye to my family in my heart - I was and am incredibly traumatized. I*m a businessman and am desperately concerned about ever flying again.

I*m just looking for some honest feedback, in regards to my experience.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Sincerely,

Dan Tel

Hi Dan,

Yes, turbulence scares everyone, including the pilots sometimes! Of course, pilots are trained to avoid turbulence (classified according to various intensities) but at times, some are unavoidable. So pilots take all the necessary precautions to penetrate them (Grrr!) But that doesn*t mean it was dangerous. On a bad day, you just can*t help it unless you cancel your flight. (See Clear Air Turbulence forecast
here if you are staying in the US)

You asked. Could the airplane you were on experiencing serious problems, especially with the de-icing equipment having problems and causing it to feel very out-of-control at times?

In the eyes of passengers who may be scary or nervous, the plane seems to be out of control, like a boat toppling over the waves. In reality, the plane is under the control of the autopilot or the pilot at all times. I am sure you do get a fright and want to grab on something when the coach you were on suddenly drives over some potholes. It is a similar situation. If you have your seat belts on, there is nothing to worry about.

Well, the jolt is a good reminder that you are in a plane and the pilot knows that the experience would be uncomfortable for all but it would certainly not break the aircraft. He has his family to go back after the flight too and would not take unnecessary risks!

Wish you a more pleasant flight on your next business trip :-).

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Someone (maybe Patrick Smith of "Ask the Pilot", wrote that flying through turbulence is like driving your car on a bumpy road: it's not a smooth ride, but you can still control your car/ plane.
Shannon , 24 Mar, 2010

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