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Home > Flying the Plane > What caused the plane to struggle in getting airborne?
What caused the plane to struggle in getting airborne?
Flying - Flying the Plane
Sunday, 16 December 2007 23:26

Hi Captain Lim,

 

My daughter recently took off from Phuket for Sydney and was frightened by the very long time the aircraft took to become airborne. She said it was as if the aircraft was struggling to take off. When it did become airborne, it seemed to fly very low over the sea for a time before very gradually climbing.

 

There was no announcement made by the crew as to why this happened. Several passengers expressed concern.

Could you tell us if this is something to do with conditions at Phuket or what else would cause the pilot to do this?

Thank you,

 

I enjoy your website very much.

 

Ray.

 

Hi Ray,

 

A heavy plane, especially one that has to fly to Sydney, may take a longer time to get airborne than one that is lighter. So, for a full load of passengers with maximum fuel on board, the plane may be quite heavy during the take off. Naturally, it would appear to take a long time to get airborne on the 3000 meters runway at Phuket. (Compared to Sydney, the longest of the three runways there is 3962 meters)

 

As I do not know the exact reason why the plane appeared to fly very low over the sea, I can only speculate that it was probably an air traffic requirement for the aircraft to maintain a low altitude for a short duration due to other conflicting traffic.

 

I do not understand what you meant by “something to do with the conditions in Phuket”.

 

The last air disaster in Phuket was on 16th of September 2007. An MD82 crashed during landing and it was speculated that it was caused by windshear. This weather phenomenon gives rise to very rough flying condition but only when it is very windy.


 

I don’t think it has anything to do with the plane struggling to get airborne or to fly low after take off!

 


The Phuket MD82 Crash

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Struggling to get airborne...
Capt Lim,

Thank you so much for taking the trouble to answer my question personally, I very much appreciate it.

May I wish you all the very best for the future.

Many thanks

Ray Watts
Ray Watts , 18 Dec, 2007

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