Any pilot will tell you that the two most dangerous parts of flying an aircraft are the takeoff and the landing.
If, for whatever reason, you don’t believe them, here’s proof:
The clips in the video — primarily shot last winter — come from Birmingham, England’s BHX international airport, where high winds frequently weathercock planes ahead of takeoff, a terrifying phenomenon whereby high winds cause a large aircraft to pivot on its landing gear.
If you’ve ever been cruising merrily down a runway and then suddenly felt your stomach turn into a tumble dryer while the entirety of your existence flashed briefly before your eyes, there’s a good chance weathercocking was to blame.
It is apparently not uncommon, nor excessively dangerous: as you can see from the chart below, only five planes have crashed during takeoff from 2004-2015, leading to 260 fatalities. The final approach and landing phase, meanwhile, accounted for around half of all fatalities in the same time period.
Still, we wouldn’t recommend watching this video anywhere near an airplane, gate, TSA line and/or terminal.
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