Monday, 21 November 2005

Ride of my life

This morning's wind in Wellington must be the left over from yesterday. I was scheduled to be in Auckland this morning so it was an early morning taxi ride to the airport. It was starting to get cloudy by 7am this morning and as we approached the airport which faces open sea, the wind got gustier. And it started to rain as well. The forecast this morning was 65kmph but I am sure it was a lot stronger than that.

I got the window seat by the wing on the flight to Auckland this morning and as the Boeing 737 was taxing to the run way, I could see the tip of the wing fluttering due to the strong winds. The plane came to a halt just before turning to the runway to take off, waiting for more flights to land. From the window at my seat, I could see flights landing with the wings not parallel to the ground. It was shaking to the left and the right as one wheel touches the ground and the other barely. It was a bit like an amateur trying to land an aircraft for the first time.

Shortly after that NZ410 was ready for take off. The engine roared and it taxied to the runway to take off and then stopped, as if trying to muster all its might for the take off. As it was stationery on the runway, I could feel the aircraft violently shaking from the wind outside. Then the captain turned the throttle full and was moving ahead. Just as the aircraft left the ground, must be about 100 meters above ground when it suddenly dropped without warning. There were screams from passengers in the aircraft. Then another few seconds later, another dip. After this second dip, the aircraft was quiet except for the sound of the engines. Several seconds later, the jet was above the clouds and was stable and the fasten seat belts signs were off.

What a relief. It took all of one minute to be airborne but an eventful one minute. It was a ride on my life. After travelling all over the world, I thought landing in the old Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong took nerves but after today, Wellington Airport is definitely a close second.

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