Wild British Airways Aborted Landing At Heathrow – One Mile at a Time

A British Airways Airbus A321neo had a pretty exciting landing at London Heathrow on Monday, which I think aviation geeks will enjoy. Admittedly this is being blown out of proportion in the media (“BA jet almost flipped over”), but it’s pretty cool footage nonetheless.

British Airways A321neo aborted landing at LHR

At the beginning of the week Storm Corrie caused some challenging conditions, including heavy winds, at the UK’s busiest airport. There were some go arounds at London Heathrow, though none quite as exciting as the one of British Airways flight 1307. The flight was operated by a roughly two year old Airbus A321neo with the registration code G-NEOP.

The aircraft was operating the 400 mile flight from Aberdeen (ABZ) to London (LHR) in the late morning. Just over an hour after takeoff, the plane attempted its first landing, and my gosh, it’s worth seeing. You can watch the original clip for yourself below, which is just over a minute long.

To summarize, at first the approach seems pretty stable, but then the plane struggles to actually touch down. The right wheel touches down, then the plane lifts off the ground again. Then both wheels eventually get on the ground, but then the plane is once again airborne. Then the plane banks left, before eventually nearly having a tail strike. At that point the landing is aborted, and the pilots go around.

The plane ended up successfully landing after the second approach, which added only around 10 minutes to the flight time.

A few thoughts:

  • This guy’s commentary is half the fun of the video
  • While some suggest the plane did have a tail strike, it doesn’t look to me like that’s the case, but rather just that it was very close
  • The plane wasn’t taken out of service after this flight, but rather operated a flight to Geneva shortly after this one (further supporting that there was no tail strike)
  • Operating in these conditions isn’t easy, so kudos to the pilots

Tricky landings are are fun to watch

I can’t count how many hours I’ve spent over the course of my lifetime watching videos on YouTube of tricky aircraft landings. One thing that sets the above video apart is that it’s not really trying to take advantage of any angles to make the landing appear more dramatic than it is.

For example, some of the best crosswind runway videos out there are from Birmingham Airport (BHX), but most videos there are shot straight down the runway, rather than from the side. This makes it all the more interesting to watch, since you notice even the smallest movements, but it’s also a bit dramatized compared to a side angle.

Bottom line

A British Airways Airbus A321neo had a pretty exciting landing at London Heathrow on Monday, and the whole thing was captured on video. The pilots ultimately decided to abort the landing, and had no trouble on their second approach.

It’s a very cool video to watch, and it really shows you how much pilots have to “wrestle down” a plane when conditions aren’t good. However, I think it’s a bit of a stretch to suggest that the plane almost flipped over or crashed, which I’m seeing mentioned elsehwere.

What do you make of this British Airways landing video?

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