Pilots And Passengers Divulge Their Scariest Flight Experiences
louis magnotti on Unsplash

Many people are afraid of flying. Thankfully, airline accidents are especially rare.

According to The International Air Transport Association, there was just one major aviation crash for every 5.4 million flights in 2018. The odds of dying in a plane accident are super low: The odds are 1 in 9,821.

That doesn't mean that accidents don't happen, obviously, but you can sleep at night. But of course there have been accidents and other scary experiences so both pilots and passengers have stories to tell.


We heard a few of them after Redditor miercole_ asked the online community:

"Pilots, what’s the scariest stuff you’ve seen while flying?"

"It was later in the evening..."

"My dad told me a story from a few years ago that happened while flying a 737 somewhere in Nevada I think on the way back to Toronto."

"It was later in the evening, so you couldn't see too much, but all of a sudden to the left of the plane my dad saw a really bright ball of light I guess you could say, moving really fast across the sky. My dad and his co-pilot had no clue what it was, and they could hear other pilots nearby calling it in over the radio and asking what it was."

"Eventually it flew pass and disappeared into the distance. A few days later my dad found out that what he saw was a missile launched by a USN submarine."

I wonder how many passengers thought they saw a UFO."

Nabbot737

Considering that the government recently admitted that UFOs are definitely a thing... it's likely.

"Thankfully it was when I landed..."

"Smoke in the cockpit when I landed. Thankfully it was when I landed... Had to push the airplane (small Cessna) off the runway."

chrisbe2e9

You see, I wouldn't be a good pilot because this would have me panicking.

"One due to a new pilot..."

"Almost had two mid air collisions. One due to a new pilot not being where he should be, another due to control telling me an aircraft was at me 11:00 when really it was at me 2:00."

chrisbe2e9

Terrifying.

Thankfully nothing happened.

"The coolest..."

"The coolest was a meteor that burned up directly infront of me. Same altitude, straight ahead. I have no idea how far away it was, but it was bright, and so pretty. Went through a spectrum of colors as it burned."

chrisbe2e9

That's pretty awesome.

Must have been a beautiful sight.

"Power lines..."

"Power lines directly in front of me at night that weren't charted and were exactly at helicopter grabbing altitude."

helodriver

Ummm, no thank you!

Thankfully you were not electrocuted.

"He once told me..."

"Not a pilot, but my dad is a former one. He once told me about how he almost crashed his Cessna because he hit some geese. He was actually preparing for a landing approach when he hit geese flying in a patch of fog. Windshield was completely shattered and he and his passenger were covered in blood and feathers."

"They landed safely, but my dad was pretty scarred from that! He didn’t quit flying because of that, but bird strikes remained a constant fear of his. Geese are large birds and they did significant damage to that little plane!"

robodragon

Geese are mean creatures on the ground... and I see they have it out for humans in the air, too.

"Everyone sat down..."

"Not a pilot but I was in the bathroom when the pilot came over the radio with a quick announcement that we were about to have turbulence and to buckle up."

"Everyone sat down, including the stewardesses and buckled up. Everyone but me who was in the process of taking a massive s**t. The kind of s**t you don't want to have during turbulence."

"Now I've been in turbulence. It's rough. This was something else. I somehow, by all the was mighty, finished my s**t and completed the post s**t paperwork,.and flushed (didn't wanna chance it) when the turbulence hit."

"To say I hit everything is an understatement. I bounced off the ceiling, hit the floor, back up, face to the toilet. It was hell and I just kept my face covered and I protected my head as best I could."

"After a bit of luck, I managed to get myself wedged UNDER the toilet and I stayed there till the bumpy ride ended."

"I left the bathroom to some laughter, and a lot of concern. See for them in their seats it was fine, until they heard screaming in the bathroom, and loud crashing noises followed by dread silence."

"They all thought I died... haha."

"Forgot to mention that I didn't get to pull my pants up ether. I did the whole ride with my pants around my ankles..."

BubbleDisaster

At least you can laugh at things now!

"This actually happened..."

"This actually happened on my first time flying with no instructor onboard, just doing a couple laps around the traffic pattern. Took off, laps #1 and #2 went just fine, nailed a couple radio calls, got that awesome feeling of "Yeah, I got this."

"But, lap #3 was fine until I was setting up my final approach to land, and the GTN750 (basically a fancy navigation/radio/pseudo-radar system) warned me about a Cessna 1 mile out at the same altitude. Ignored it, since I already had the plane in sight and verified with the control tower that he was landing on the runway parallel to mine."

"Lo and behold, this dude zips under me by about 200-300 feet, which sounds like a good amount of room, but is actually butt-clenchingly close in a busy airspace like this. I should've applied full throttle and circled back around to try again, but the other plane was clear of me before the startle factor even wore off."

"This was made especially dangerous by the fact that the plane I was flying was low-wing (can't see under me) and the other plane was high-wing (he couldn't see above him). So, neither of us could see each other and the tower yelled at the guy to get out of my way, and I landed safely."

furry_anus

You see, after an incident like that, I don't think I'd want to fly ever again.

"Needless to say..."

"My airfield where I did my pilot training had a waterway at the approach end of the runway, and oftentimes there were sailboats heading out to sea as you were coming in to land. Usually came in a little high, since the runway was plenty long enough."

"One day, not long after I had completed my 1st solo, I was doing my run-up, waiting for one of the regular pilots to land his low-winged sport airplane. He obviously, didn't see the mast of the sailboat crossing, and he hit it. The plane cart-wheeled down the runway and broke into pieces."

"I took my plane back to the tie-downs to clear the area, and then went to help him out of the plane before it caught on fire (which it didn't amazingly enough)."

"The pilot broke both of his hands at the wrists, and fractured a whole bunch of stuff. Unfortunately, he was a surgeon. Not sure if he was able to work again."

"Needless to say, I was always very careful on approach after that."

mrbrad595

Wow.

This is the stuff of nightmares.

That poor man.

It's worth pointing out that the major airlines all have excellent safety records. So take note, chill out and happy flying!

Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!

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