Posted to Facebook last week, the 50-second sequence purports to show commercial airline pilot Artur Kielak at the controls of a Boeing 737 as he brings it in to land.
But, as the video reveals, this is clearly no ordinary landing. Indicated by the plane’s rather wildly active control wheel, the 737 is tackling extremely windy conditions.
Kielak looks reassuringly calm during the rough descent, though his broad grin when the plane finally touches the tarmac suggests the experience was a little unusual. Indeed, he confirms as much in a note attached to his video.
“I’m always saying that [the] airline pilot gets [all] his salary for one landing per month … this is the day I earned mine,” Kielak wrote.
Flying for European low-cost airline Ryanair, the Polish pilot added, “The maximum crosswind limit steady, gust plus steady and gust in one … FULL FORCE column deflections was required…I LOVE Boeing 737 for it’s [sic] stability in severe conditions.” And, it’s fair to say, so do the passengers.
YouTube has numerous videos showing aircraft coming in to land in windy conditions, but Kielak’s is different in that it shows the pilot at the controls, in the final stages before the plane’s wheels touch down.
It’s extremely rare for a plane to get into serious difficulties in such a situation, as strict rules are in place to determine if the conditions are too severe to attempt a landing, in which case the plane could be diverted to another airport. Factors that determine whether the plane can land include the aircraft type, the strength and direction of the wind, the runway setup, and the policy of the airline.