A380 Pilot Lands Himself In Hot Water After Viral ‘Storm Dennis’ Video

As aviation enthusiasts up-and-down the country made their way to the country’s largest airports to capture some genuinely remarkable take-offs and landings during storm Dennis, one video stood out (scroll down for video). 

It was the footage of an Etihad A380 as it was hit by a sudden gust of wind just before it landed causing the aircraft to have to carry out a ‘crab’ landing – where the pilot points the nose of the plane into the wind until just before the wheels touch the ground. 

The remarkable landing at Heathrow airport was one of many such arrivals where highly skilled pilots used all of their experience to land in conditions which were within the operating limits of their aircraft. 

Although the pilot of the A380 caught in the video received widespread acclaim by the millions of people who watched the video, his/her training department was not that impressed (are training departments ever impressed?). 

In a leaked memo published by AirLive.Net, Etihad’s manager of flight crew training for its Boeing fleet said:

“You may have seen a video this week of one of our A380s landing in a strong crosswind in London. 

“The official view from the Training Department is a simple one – THIS IS NOT WHAT WE WANT TO SEE. 

“There is a time to give an approach away in the interest of safety. 

“If you see such a thing in the sim (aircraft simulator) that would be a grade 1 for both pilots… Please, gentlemen, let’s teach our pilots to operate safely even [when] that means changing the mission.”

While the videos of aircraft landings and take-offs made during windy conditions are quite popular, they have inadvertently meant that pilots now have their every manoeuvre filmed and shared on social media. 

Although I am an aviation enthusiast – probably because of my time spent aboard an aircraft carrier when I served in the armed forces – I am by no means a ‘professional commentator’.

But I am reasonably sure that a pilot cannot be held accountable for the wind should the wind decide to gust at +20mph over the forecast wind speed suddenly? 

But let us know what you think in the comments below! 

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53 thoughts on “A380 Pilot Lands Himself In Hot Water After Viral ‘Storm Dennis’ Video

  1. An aircraft down like they landed it with everyone alive or an aircraft risking flying elsewhere and the potential of not making it or crashing there?! I know which I would choose, Boeing trainers need their heads looking at!
    The pilots do this from the air everyday whilst their sat in an office picking faults on a simulator on the ground. Boeing A380 trainers… shut up you muppets, just because you couldn’t land an A380 in a crosswind like that!

    1. A380 is built in Europe by AIRBUS, a European company, to very high EU regulatory standards. Boeing planes are built in the USA to questionable regulatory standards as shown recently. So probably wise for trainers to advise against tricky manoeuvres in Boeing aircraft.

  2. I think he was a very competent and confident pilot which is what everyone wants when using this mode of transport. I don’t for one minute believe he did it just because he fancied doing it…..

  3. I recall being a passenger in an aircraft performing such a manoeuvre years ago. I was in a window seat over the wing and looking directly down the runway as we were at the point of touchdown. I was terrified for a minute or two. This pilot deserves kudos, not criticism.

    1. Give the pilot a medal not a boll—king, he done brilliantly landing that in such bad weather, those pen pushers want to try it themselves

  4. For a so called trained pilot.. There is no Room for complacency flying such a large passenger Jet such as the Airbus A380.. The pilot/Captain clearly has shown he/she has not got the skill or flying hours needed
    to Fly this Machine. And it Shows.

    1. Really? And you know this how? Please feel free to exhibit your IRL experience here…or, as is more likely, sit down and shut up, KBW.

    2. A diversion , though creating other issues would have been very appropriate. The side load alone likely was tremendous. Sometimes knowing when to go to plan B is the safest decision.
      Safety is paramount and I imagine he and the rest of the flight deck will be hearing from the training department.

      1. You are exactly right. That was very poor judgment by the pilot flying the aircraft to not execute a missed approach and either diverted to another airport, or to at least make another attempt at this one. No aircraft is designed to absorb the side loads the landing gear of that A-380 took. I hope that at least the maintenance department had the good sense to inspect the landing gear before allowing that aircraft to continue in service.

  5. I fly into Wick airport in Scotland frequently. This sort of landing is the norm not the exception and they do it in a propellor aircraft.

    1. Good landing, poor decision making. That last second gust caused an unstable approach and could have gone horribly wrong. The pilot pulled it off, but policy is if you’re not stabilized under 1000′ AGL, go around. For all they knew that gust could have ended or even worse reversed with just a few feet to go and ended up with the nose off the runway. Never question a decision to go around and never feel committed to a landing until you’ve rolled too far down the runway to take back off on what remains. Getting to the pub on time is only worth it if you get there in one piece.

      Yes, I speak as a pilot.

  6. This pilot reverted to and used his(or her) training and when presented with a ‘one off’ occurrence saved the lives of all on board. Obviously (I would assume) had the pilot had the benefit of hind sight the landing would have been aborted before the situation arose. A less well trained pilot may have reacted differently with a potentially horrendous outcome. The airline should be proud of the training they give.

  7. Why would the head of pilot training for the boeing fleet be making comments about what happened on an airbus? Makes it sound like boeing are inferior aircraft and he is jealous.

  8. The pilot deserves a major pay raise and the trainer deserves the sack he landing was spot on well done captain 👩‍✈️ 👨‍✈️

  9. Superb landing in a difficult situation, I would of been more than happy being a passenger in that bus. For the record I was a skydive for 18 years so know about aircraft landings etc 😁

  10. Typical “desk pilot” comment. Last second decision very well made. Boeing trainer commenting on Airbus aircraft. Go fly a kite!!!

  11. It is all about total safety at the end of the day. No matter how well this landing turned out, how “good it looked” and how skilled the pilot is, it was a risk, however small or calculated, and in aviation you do not take risks when there is another way. He had another way – go around or (most likely) divert.

  12. For all you snowflakes who comment in here about the pilot that he should’ve divert or should’ve done this or that. Fck off you c…s. You don’t know shit about anything. Did your mum pick you up in the car from school as a kid? You shitheads. Grow up and grow a pair.

  13. I would hope that any pilot entrusted with such a plane would be at the very top of his game. I would also ask how a computer would configure the plane to land in these conditions!

  14. One of my friends was on that flight…she told me all of the passengers must change the *underwear*….Because all of us we pay to fly we not Fighter jets pilots…IATA or the EU commissioner for transport Must To Change the rules due to bad unpredictable weather…look what happened in Pegasus the land in 3 pieces…When the change the rules?? After we have a crash???

    1. Having some small knowledge of flying light aircraft, there is a lot to consider,in seconds ,fuel available, where else can land this plane where there is no cross wind,facilities ,assistance, .hind sight a great thing to pen pushers and complainer,different matter if you get into situation, I think great landing ,all should be thanking the pilot,great job well done I fly with u any time..RonGamble.

  15. Turned out well. However unless this was a result of a last second gust a go around should have been made. Very fortunate the gear stayed on the aircraft.

  16. Typical Admin statement as others have said. At the time of his landing and crab maneuver he or she had no time to perform a go around. Admin will always cite safety…..but the pilot had no time. He or she should be given a medal.

    1. The pilot did a fantastic job. It is easy for arm chair critics to point the finger. They are generally people with zero experience in the field of relevance. One could compare this to Neil Armstrong landing the LM pure skill in my opinion.

  17. Firstly well done to the pilot and crew for a save landing, to the rest of the training people who condone this , you people only do what you can read in black and white . Health and safety wot a load of shit , that pilot used his head and got the job done .

  18. I understand that passenger and crew safety are obviously first priority. Having said that, any pilot that can land an aircraft in crosswinds like that is worth their weight in gold! They certainly have an incredible understanding of the aircraft they are flying, and of flying in general. At the end of the day, the pilot wants to go home to his or her family. They wouldn’t risk it unless they were confident they could safely do it. Good job!!

  19. A excellent landing by a well trained pilot. Etihad management,stop whining and congratulate your pilots!

  20. The pilot and co-pilot did a fantastic job in landing their airplane. Cross wind landing are taught to student pilots, as well as professional pilots as a basis flight manuver- in all flight conditions they may in counters.

  21. What do training want to see, bits all over the runway, they should be proud of the pilot and say, we train them well.

    1. For all those saying what an amazing pilot, what would you say if he had either slid the aircraft off the runway & crashed or had the undercarriage collapse & crashed on the runway? This manoeuvre made BOTH these situations far more possible & training states that they should have stopped the approach & gone around when they encountered that final gust, the successful outcome was pure luck. Oh, and the training team is the best, most experienced active pilots in an airline, so not desk jockeys, still wanna fly with him?

  22. Some interesting comments.
    But it was a bad landing – the A380 isn’t designed to be landed this way and it could have gone very badly wrong.
    The Training Department in an airline also exist to make sure that line flights are conducted to a safe conclusion.
    And for those that say it was a good job – I’m an A380 rated Captain with 6000+ hours on type.

    This guy should’ve gone around. And Yes, I have operated the airplane in similar conditions but in the correct manner. I’ve also known when to exercise good judgement and Go-Around.

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