Wednesday, December 09, 2009


On Mental Floss today, they have a list of seven horrifying aircraft landings.
Check out Number 5:

5. British Airways Flight 5390

Birmingham, England to Malaga, Spain6 crew, 81 passengersJune 10, 1990

The quality of every part of an airplane is crucial to safety. Before flight 5390 took off, the left cockpit windscreen had been replaced by a technician who used the wrong size bolts. At 17,300 feet, the window blew out. Captain Tim Lancaster had just removed his seat belt and had set the plane to autopilot. The sudden loss of pressure sucked Lancaster out the window! His body was outside the plane while his feet became entangled in the controls, which disconnected the autopilot. Flight attendant Nigel Ogden grabbed the captain and tried to pull him back into the plane. Copilot Alistair Atcheson took control of the plane and sent it into a dive to an altitude where the pressure could be stabilized. Chief steward John Heward helped Ogden hold onto the pilot’s legs. They could not pull him in due to the raging wind and cold temperatures at 11,000 feet. The crew, assuming Lancaster was dead, considered letting the pilot’s body go, but decided that was too risky as it could be sucked into an engine or damage a wing. Besides, he was partially blocking the hole where the window once was. Atcheson landed the plane at Southampton, despite the fact that the airport’s runway was shorter than recommended for the BAC 1-11 aircraft. Then the unexpected happened -captain Lancaster came to! He was hospitalized with a broken right arm and wrist and a broken left thumb as well as frostbite and shock. Minor injuries, considering he had ridden on the outside of an airliner at high altitudes for 18 minutes. Lancaster was the only person injured in the incident. He recovered and returned to flying a few months later.

Dude. Duuuuuuude.


inflammatory writ said...


I just read that blog entry and literally almost got sick to my stomach. WTF. I hate airplanes.

rockygrace said...

Sorry about that, inflammatory. If it's any consolation, I'm supposed to fly to Phoenix in February.

Fish Food said...

That's what you call English 'stiff upper lip'!