Danielle McCarthy

Domestic Travel

"I thought the wings would tear off" – passenger recounts terrifying landing in NZ

"I thought the wings would tear off" – passenger recounts terrifying landing in NZ

An Air New Zealand flight into Wellington on Monday had to make three attempts at landing in rapidly shifting winds, with passengers clinging to their seats.

The flight from Auckland had to abort two landings before eventually touching down in the capital at 7.21pm, about 20 minutes behind schedule.

The arrival left some passengers on the edge of their seats as the plane roared across the runway after landing.


"[The pilot] landed on the third go, then slammed the brakes so hard I thought the wings would tear off," Stuff editor Patrick Crewdson posted on Twitter.

An Air New Zealand spokesman said the flight was never in danger, and speculation on social media that the plane landed with a strong tail wind behind it was inaccurate.

"Due to the wind changing direction as NZ449 made its approach into Wellington Airport, the pilots made two attempts to land, followed by standard 'go-around' procedures, before landing without further incident," Andrew Brown said.

The aircraft landed into a light headwind, and the braking was normal for the weather conditions at the time.

Passengers gave a round of applause when the flight landed, and the pilot came out of the cockpit to thank them, Crewdson said.

"I've had my fair share of bumpy landings in Wellington, but have never been more relieved to be safely on the ground."


A Wellington Airport spokeswoman said the airport was not aware of any significant weather conditions on Monday evening.

Civil Aviation Authority corporate communications manager Mike Richards said there were no specific guidelines for landing in high winds.

The decision was an operational one made by pilots, in conjunction with air traffic control.

Airways senior communications adviser Isabelle Teresa said surface wind speeds were recorded for flights, but those would be different to winds the aircraft could experience on approach.

Written by Damian George. Republished with permission of Stuff.co.nz.