INSANE Video Of British Airways Plane Approaching Gibraltar In Heavy Winds

Filed Under: British Airways, Videos

There are lots of videos out there of planes where most of us think to ourselves “boy am I happy I wasn’t on that flight.”

Well, I think this video might just be in a different league. There’s video footage of this morning’s British Airways flight 492, scheduled to operate from London Heathrow to Gibraltar. Due to strong winds on approach, the plane ended up diverting to Malaga (which isn’t too uncommon, as Gibraltar often has strong winds).

But OMG you won’t believe this video footage here:

I’m horrified watching that. There’s also video footage from inside the cabin, and surprisingly it almost looks calmer from within the cabin (though the second video is scarier than the first). Here are the videos from inside the cabin:

I’m shocked passengers are being relatively calm.

Obviously the pilots were doing a great job, and they got the plane on the ground safely. One thing I’m not entirely clear on is whether this side-to-side swaying was directly the wind (and the autopilot responding to it), or if this was some sort of a pilot-induced maneuver to deal with the conditions.

But my gosh, that’s some crazy footage, eh?

  1. I went through that on an AA MD-11 years ago. That wing was flexing like you wouldn’t believe.

    These things happen!

    All of my plane crash dreams (yes I have a few over the years) look exactly like that!!

  2. This looks like more than just wind. I wonder how much Pilot Induced Oscillations played a roll in that.

  3. Lots of nervous laughter but British stoicism and humour (with an inflight drink or two) will help get you through anything. Well done BA pilots.

  4. @charlieH – nice use of the word ‘roll’ there 🙂 hopefully that was intentional and not just a misspelling…

    What a ride!!!

  5. Many years ago my father worked in Gibraltar, one time waiting to cross the border/tarmac from La Linea we saw a Air Europe plane taking off, and the wind tipped the plane so the wingtip almost touched the tarmac, also saw 1 bird strike – haven’t seen anything like that since, but living on the rock you almost live in the airport.

    Only flew in onetime to Gibraltar, but got the famous around the rock on that flight -twice.

    My mom didn’t wanted us to fly in/out the airport, so she made our father drive to Malaga and pick us up and sent us off, even though the border cross was a nightmare at that time – Spain harassing Gibraltar.

  6. Do whole cabins ever get hysterical in incidents like this? I can’t imagine they would, and don’t think it has anything whatsoever with them being British.

  7. Ben and Lucky,

    I really enjoy your posts but for a non-pilot you both have some very strong options when it comes to flying and technical issues that are very miss leading some times.

  8. @ Arnold — Curious what in this post you’d categorize as such? All I’ve said is that it looks terrifying *as a passenger*, and I actually posed a question regarding what was causing this, and didn’t make any claims.

  9. Only a private pilot with low hours…but I don’t think that was crosswind correction, or at least not crosswind correction done well.

  10. I like videos like this for two reasons- 1) when I am in a plane and there is wind/turbulence, I can think back on videos like this and say to myself, “Well it’s not 1/2 as bad as that video I saw online” and 2) it gives me faith even if things feel dangerous, pilots deal with it and make good decisions. That said, I most likely would have been squeaking like a mouse and closing my eyes if I were on this flight.

  11. “”If your plane is about to crash would you grab the attractive woman sitting besides you and plant a few big sloppy kisses since everyone is going to die anyway.’


    FUCK YOUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. You kids today. God, I sound old, lol. I really am “only” 55. I mean, you should have flown on “commuter” planes in the 70’s. It’s all good. Hang on and remember the old adage…”the pilot is the first at the scene of an accident.”

    While I think the pilots might have considered aborting sooner (for the comfort of the passengers) remember that their comfort level (justifiably) is times ten compared to yours.

  13. I had a similar experience yesterday while landing in Madison, WI. The plane was rolling side to side and nose dived at the very last moment right before landing. It was probably the worst landing I’ve experienced. My Uber driver from the airport asked me if I was on the terrifying United flight and I said yep, I was there. She apparently saw the landing while parked in the cell phone lot.

  14. @Arnold, I’m just happy you aren’t the one writing. Jesus, between your misspellings and your autocorrect alone, you barely make sense. Then when I finally decode your heiroglyphics, I realize you still have no reasonable point! Maybe just stick to reading the posts and take what you can grasp out of them and then move along. Probably better for everyone and will make your flask last longer, too.

  15. I am not a pilot or aviation expert by any means, but I have read a lot of Wikipedia…ha! Maybe someone with more experience can chime in, but I believe that aircraft motion shown in the first clip (from observers from the ground) is a type of aircraft motion called a “Dutch Roll”. The animation on the Wikipedia page looks just like the video clip:
    Another site ( says it can happen when a pilot is trying to maintain directional stability when using the rudder pedals in a crosswind, which seems to be what may have happened here.

  16. did pilots do “a great job” here? I mean it is not crashed but doesn’t automatically mean they did a great job. It could be them who caused this?

  17. On BA due to it’s difficulty (even in normal conditions), GIB is a Pilots Only Landing and considered by most BA pilots to be the hardest that they (BA) do.

    Mind the BA pilots that manage to land a 747 onto SAN’s very short runway also deserve much credit.

  18. I was on similarly turbulent flights in the 1960’s. After three aborted landings, we would head for Morocco. The ‘Dunkirk spirit’ was still around then. Snowflakes – other than meteorological ones – had not yet appeared on planet earth. Franco would not allow British flights to overfly Spanish territory. Tangier was the diversion airport.

  19. I think this has more to do with the terrain in the vicinity of the airfield, and the weather conditions on that day (strong winds) which gave rise to the turbulence / rotors that caused the roll. Once the aircraft climbed out of the disturbed air blowing off the rock, things calmed down pretty quickly. GIB is a challenging airfield for this, and other reasons – and diversions to Malaga are frequent.

    Pilot-induced oscillation…I don’t think this was a factor here.

  20. I remember landing in BCN in a torrential rain storm. When I looked back at flightaware, everyone diverted but us at the time. The BA pilot came on after landing with a “you pay a little more, but we’re British, a little rain is no problem, thanks for your business”.

    Now if they could only offer a decent in-flight product….

  21. GIB is notorious for being difficult to land at. Low speed, strong variable crosswinds, terrain effects…right call made to divert. Looked like things smoothed out fairly quickly once the aircraft had climbed.

  22. Seems like pilot induced oscillation. If you look at the control surfaces from the second video shot from inside the plane, it seems they are reinforcing rather than dampening the oscillation.
    This is pilot error that used to be more common, but modern training should have prevented the situation.

  23. Your shocked the passengers remained calm? It’s because they’re British and that’s what Brits do. If they were Americans then they’d be calling their lawyers to sue the weather first thing and posting tweets about how they died on this flight

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