Pilots have revealed the terrifying things that happen which passengers don't know about

Wil Jones
Tuesday 28 March 2017 10:15
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Picture:(Shutterstock)

Statistically, commercial air travel is far, far safer than getting in a car.

Yet anxiety about flying is still incredibly common. It’s probably because you’re up thousands of feet in the air, putting your life in the hands of a pilot and crew.

On Reddit, those pilots have been sharing horror stories of really dangerous things that have happened to them while flying, but that we, the passengers, were blissfully unaware of.

One of the scariest situations comes from a pilot who took off with one of the of the sources of oxygen not working - humans unable to breathe at 35,000 ft, and planes typically have three sources of ‘bleed air’ to supply breathable oxygen. They still had two remaining sources - or so they thought.

Passing through 25,000 feet, I feel the air getting sucked out of my lungs. I'm trying to inhale, but it isn't working, and my lungs are emptying quickly.

Immediately I throw off my sunglasses and headset, and don my full-face oxygen mask and smoke goggles. It provides 100% pure oxygen under a forced flow, rated up to an altitude of 41,000 feet. My first officer does the same. This is the first thing you do because if the pilots die, there is nobody to fly the jet and everyone else dies.

Then we immediately declare an emergency and initiate an emergency descent, nosing over to our maximum speed while deploying the speed-brakes to generate maximum drag. We receive clearance down to 10,000 feet and begin executing a 180 degree turn to go back to LAX.

Others spoke about hitting a flock of birds.

We flew right through a flock of birds on take-off, about 500 feet above the ground. Everything went fine, we didn't hit anything but we could very well have ended up in the same situation as Sully. I don't think anyone in the back noticed anything, but it sure as hell got the adrenaline flowing.

Getting hit by lightning.

Got struck by lightning the other day, that wasn't fun. Scared the sh*t out of the both of us. Radar wasn't painting anything either

Or even just banging their head.

On my second ever solo, while I was still a student pilot, I hit a pocket of air right after take-off that threw my head into the ceiling hard enough to make me a little dizzy. Never told anyone about that.

And they also offered up this piece of trivia.

If your captain is telling you to remain calm, because there is going to be some turbulence, then there is going to be some turbulence. But if he ends that sentence with "cabin crew, be seated", then sh*t is about to go DOWN.

Hopefully this doesn’t put you off your holidays this year.

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