Plane Stops During Snowy Landing By Stabbing Wing Into Ground

Illustration for article titled Plane Stops During Snowy Landing By Stabbing Wing Into Ground
Screenshot: Joseph Lian (ABC 7)

It’s finally getting cold outside around the U.S., which means more snow. While not ideal, snow isn’t necessarily unusual for a plane to land in, but a flight arriving into Chicago’s O’Hare Airport slid right off the runway this morning anyway.

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My colleagues in the office less thrilled about aviation, in general, were disturbed by the video, but the plane actually comes in fairly normally. Once on the ground, it appears to begin to slide around in the loose surface on the tarmac, only finally coming to a stop after leaving the tarmac for the grass with the plane’s wing stabbing into the ground.

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Reports indicate nobody was injured in the landing. Everyone also sounded relatively calm, at least in the video, including the woman who announced “I think we landed” for anybody onboard who may not have been sure.

It was just a minor case of Fast And Furious: Snow Drift.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik

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DISCUSSION

I’m an airline pilot that flew out of Chicago during this storm. What happened here was you have a contaminated runway, snow and ice with braking action advisories in effect, plus a strong gusty crosswind. After touchdown, the mostly likely cause was as the plane slowed and the rudder loses effectiveness you rely more on nose wheel steering, but since the runway is slippery and you have a strong crosswind blowing on the tail, the plane will start to weather vane. The wind pushes the tail to the right and the nose goes left with the end result you see here. Since they had limited nose wheel steering due to the snow and ice covered runway you can’t overcome the wind pushing the tail around. I don’t want to second guess this crews decision, but I would think very hard about landing on a contaminated runway with a gusty strong crosswind. However, there were planes that landed ahead of this one with minimal issues.