When it comes to travel, flying is an aspect that has more than its fair share of complaints. No in-flight Wi-Fi, lack of leg room and let's not forget the lacklustre airplane food. But as Louis C.K. Clark so famously put it, "you're flying! It's Amazing! You're sitting in a chair in the sky."

It's a point that likes to be reaffirmed whenever something mechanical goes wrong with a flight, and a supplement to the fact plane travel is the safest it's ever been despite nearly 3 billion people flying in the skies in 2012, notes Time Magazine. Statistically speaking, the riskiest part of a flight is when the plane takes off or lands due to factors like cloud height, wind and visibility, according to Chesley Sullenberge, the pilot of the U.S. Airways jet which crashed into the Hudson River in New York City back in 2009.

So, as a gentle reminder this summer that a metal container is transporting your body thousands of kilometres in a few hours compared to what would've taken weeks a century ago, the Huffington Post Canada Travel team has compiled a collection of terrifying plane landings that ought to make the whiniest traveller a bit more humble. After all, your flight could always be a little worse.


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  • Close Call With A Boeing Business Jet

    In a video uploaded to YouTube in June, viewers watch as a Boeing business jet avoids a potential disastrous landing after the pilot loses all visibility due to a sudden onslaught of heavy rain.

  • Dusseldorf Airpor

    Chicago may be known as the "Windy City" but Germany's Dusseldorf Airport might as well be known as the country's windy airport. The runaways are notorious among pilots for the strong highwinds which can reach up to 101 km/h and make for some shaky landings. Last year, Martin Bogdan decided to capture the whole thing on camera.

  • Just Wing It

    Things looked grim for the crew and passengers on board JetBlue Flight 292 after the plane's front landing gear was stuck perpendicular to the oncoming runway back in 2011. After circling Los Angeles International Airport for hours, the plane's pilot made the landing as thousands of onlookers and emergency crew watched from the ground.

  • Look Ma, No Nose!

    Back in October of 2011, pilots inside Iran Air Flight 742 pulled off the unthinkable: they landed a plane with no nose landing gear. The emergency landing was made at Mehrabad International Airport after previous multiple attempts at landing. All 113 people on board survived.

  • Dark And Stormy Night

    Trying to land a plane during a storm is no easy feat. Trying to land a plane during a storm with crosswinds (think gusts of winds blowing to the side of the plane) isn't any easier. Yet that was the situatio<a href="http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/aviation/safety/10-craziest-plane-landings-caught-on-video#slide-6" target="_hplink">n Lufthansa Flight 44 found itself back in March of 2008</a>. Just as the Airbus A320 touches the ground, a blast of wind sends the plane's left wing tip grinding into the ground. The plane's crew makes a quick recovery to pull up and touchdown on a different runway, notes Popular Mechanics.

  • It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's..

    In the spring of 2007, Thompson Airways flight 263 was taking off from Manchester when the plane struck a bird using turbine number two. After the pilot declared mayday, the plane was forced to return to the airport where it safely landed with all 233 on board unharmed.

  • Wrong Airport

    It's a landing many travellers won't ever encounter unless they're the type that likes to ride in military jets. Such was the case for the pilot of a U.S. Airforce C17 jet who landed in the wrong airport (with just an extra 80 meters of runway to spare) last September.

  • Up Next: The World's Scariest Airport Runways

  • Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten

    <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/the-worlds-scariest-runways/9" target="_hplink">See More Scary Runways Here</a><br><br>The length of the runway -- just 7,152 feet -- is perfectly fine for small or medium-size jets, but as the second-busiest airport in the Eastern Caribbean, it regularly welcomes so-called heavies -- long-haul wide-body jetliners like Boeing 747s and Airbus A340s -- from Europe, which fly in improbably low over Maho Beach and skim just over the perimeter fence.

  • Toncontín Airport, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

    <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/the-worlds-scariest-runways/9" target="_hplink">See More Scary Runways Here</a><br><br>Having negotiated the rough-hewn mountainous terrain, pilots must execute a dramatic 45-degree, last-minute bank to the left just minutes prior to touching down in a bowl-shaped valley on a runway just 6,112 feet in length. The airport, at an altitude of 3,294 feet, can accommodate aircraft no larger than Boeing 757’s.

  • Gibraltar Airport, Gibraltar

    <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/the-worlds-scariest-runways/9" target="_hplink">See More Scary Runways Here</a><br><br>Pinched in by the Mediterranean on its eastern flank and the Bay of Gibraltar on its western side, the airport’s truncated runway stretches just 6,000 feet and requires pinpoint precision. And upon hitting the tarmac, pilots must quickly and fully engage the auto-brakes. Yet as nerve-wracking as the landing can be, it’s never guaranteed. Because of Gibraltar’s unique topography, the British colony endures unusual localized weather patterns that cause flights to be diverted to nearby Tangiers, Faro, and Malaga.

  • Madeira Airport, Funchal

    <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/the-worlds-scariest-runways/9" target="_hplink">See More Scary Runways Here</a><br><br>Wedged in by mountains and the Atlantic, Madeira Airport requires a clockwise approach for which pilots are specially trained. Despite a unique elevated extension that was completed back in 2000 and now expands the runway length to what should be a comfortable 9,000 feet, the approach to Runway 05 remains a hair-raising affair that pilots absolutely dread. They must first point their aircraft at the mountains and, at the last minute, bank right to align with the fast-approaching runway.

  • Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba

    <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/the-worlds-scariest-runways/9" target="_hplink">See More Scary Runways Here</a><br><br>Perched on a precipitous gale-battered peninsula on the island’s northeastern corner, the airport requires pilots to tackle blustery trade winds, occasional spindrift, and their own uneasy constitutions as they maneuver in for a perfect landing (there’s no margin for error) on a runway that’s just 1,300 feet long. “Shorting this means ending up in the cliffs,” says one pilot matter-of-factly, “while overshooting it means an uncomfortable go-around. Either way, you’ll want to bring the Dramamine.”

  • Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong

    <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/the-worlds-scariest-runways/9" target="_hplink">See More Scary Runways Here</a><br><br>Although it closed in 1998, this infamous urban airport will go down in history as one of the scariest of all time. Planes would practically graze skyscrapers and jagged mountains surrounding Kowloon Bay as they took off and landed on a single runway that shot headlong into Victoria Harbour.

  • Barra Airport, Barra, Scotland

    <a href="http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/the-worlds-scariest-runways/9" target="_hplink">See More Scary Runways Here</a><br><br> Have you ever landed on a beach? The airport on the tiny Outer Hebridean Island of Barra is actually a wide shallow bay onto which scheduled planes land, making it a curiosity in the world of aviation. Admittedly, the roughness of the landings is determined by how the tide goes out to sea. Locals, who are avid cockle pickers, steer clear of the vast swath of hardened sand when the wind sock is up -- a sign that specially rigged Twin Otter propeller aircraft are incoming.<br><br>

Close Call With A Boeing Business Jet
In a video uploaded to YouTube in June, viewers watch as a Boeing business jet avoids a potential disastrous landing after the pilot loses all visibility due to a sudden onslaught of heavy rain.

Dusseldorf Airport
Chicago may be known as the "Windy City" but Germany's Dusseldorf Airport might as well be known as the country's windy airport. The runaways are notorious among pilots for the strong highwinds which can reach up to 101 km/h and make for some shaky landings. Last year, Martin Bogdan decided to capture the whole thing on camera.

Just Wing It
Things looked grim for the crew and passengers on board JetBlue Flight 292 after the plane's front landing gear was stuck perpendicular to the oncoming runway back in 2011. After circling Los Angeles International Airport for hours, the plane's pilot made the landing as thousands of onlookers and emergency crew watched from the ground.

Look Ma, No Nose!
Back in October of 2011, pilots inside Iran Air Flight 742 pulled off the unthinkable: they landed a plane with no nose landing gear. The emergency landing was made at Mehrabad International Airport after previous multiple attempts at landing. All 113 people on board survived.

Dark And Stormy Night
Trying to land a plane during a storm is no easy feat. Trying to land a plane during a storm with crosswinds (think gusts of winds blowing to the side of the plane) isn't any easier. Yet that was the situation Lufthansa Flight 44 found itself back in March of 2008. Just as the Airbus A320 touches the ground, a blast of wind sends the plane's left wing tip grinding into the ground. The plane's crew makes a quick recovery to pull up and touchdown on a different runway, notes Popular Mechanics.

It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's..
In the spring of 2007, Thompson Airways flight 263 was taking off from Manchester when the plane struck a bird using turbine number two. After the pilot declared mayday, the plane was forced to return to the airport where it safely landed with all 233 on board unharmed.

Wrong Airport
It's a landing many travellers won't ever encounter unless they're the type that likes to ride in military jets. Such was the case for the pilot of a U.S. Airforce C17 jet who landed in the wrong airport (with just an extra 80 meters of runway to spare) last September.

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