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The longest gliding flight ever

16 April 2010


While half of Europe is covered in ashes (OK, it is just a big ash cloud but nonetheless) air traffic has basically broken down. Apparently airplanes shouldn’t fly through the ashes as the engines might get destroyed. That got me curious of how the engineers know this. As (almost) always, it’s a proven fact: One of the most famous flights through volcano ashes was British Airways flight 9. Within minutes, all four engines stopped working, forcing the pilot to start a gliding flight. While he was trying to restart the engines with one of the probably most famous quotes of understatement:

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them under control. I trust you are not in too much distress.

Now, how cool is that? Basically on the verge of crash, surival mode kicks in and he says “I trust you are not in too much distress”. That deserves the survival medal of the month. The crew managed to get the engines started again and kept the record of the longest gliding flight ever. This record was later broken by Air Transat flight 236, managing 19 minutes of gliding flight time – doing an emergency landing on the Azores without any fuel left. That’s what I call fuel efficient.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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