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Pilots Scariest Stories About ATC and Flying

Weather grounded us over night in TPA.

We’ve searched Reddit to find the top stories Reddit pilots have submitted about the scariest things they’ve seen that passengers were completely oblivious too.

ATC has a close call!
Reddit user by the name of “Laaksonen” describes his event:

“ATC (air traffic control) gave my plane clearance to take off on runway 35 (north) at airport GFK while simultaneously allowing for a similar aircraft to depart from runway 26 (west). These runways cross one another, we almost collided at 500 AGL (above ground level). The other aircraft was so close I could make out the expression on the pilot’s face.”


Total Electrical Faillure
Another Reddit user by the name of “zscn” describes a flight in an Airbus 320:

“Pilot of an Airbus 320 here. Flying into a high elevation port in Asia 23000 feet on descent had a TOTAL loss of electrical power. All screens went dark including standby instruments and emergency lighting. To put this into perspective airbus designed this aircraft with three electrical generators in addition to power supplied by batteries and the emergency generator. It is designed NEVER to be without electrical power even if BOTH the engines failed, you ran completely out of fuel and the auxiliary power unit is in operative. It’s a scenario pilots don’t even train for because its never suppose to happen. After a partial recovery of our screens it was followed by 12 consecutive warnings associated with different onboard systems. We landed safely. Passengers didn’t notice a thing apart from the lights temporarily going out in the cabin.

The car analogy would be you driving at 100 km/hr on a highway and suddenly all your windows are covered up, you lose your speedometer and all electrical systems, there’s no response from the brake or accelerator. But you can still feel the car going.”

Now, I’m not sure quite about the car analogy…at least flying at 23,000 feet, there aren’t too many things in your way like there are on the road….scary enough though!


Forgot to zip up
The next story comes from a pilot by the Reddit user name “Afireinside11” with no passengers on board, but is worth the read anyway!

No passengers, because I was on a solo, but definitely the scariest moment of my piloting career.
I was on my first solo in a T-6, and I was really really nervous all morning prior to stepping. I pounded coffee, chairflew it in my head a dozen times, and fake-smiled my way through the entire morning. I took a quick pee because of the coffee, smiled for some pics, and then headed out to the aircraft, nervous as hell.

I take off and I can’t believe how normal this all feels. I get up to my assigned block in the MOA and start cruising around. I’m doing circles at 14,000 feet, all trimmed up, everything is dandy. It feels so normal and easy in fact, that I start to question it. I remember that they say you notice things on your solo, little lights and cockpit indications, that you wouldn’t normally ever notice. But I don’t feel that way, which worries me into thinking that I maybe lost SA. So I start the most indepth “operations check” of my aircraft ever, as I’m tooling around the MOA. Cockpit pressure, good. OBOGS is good…Engine guages, check…fuels looking nice, I’m in the right block in my MOA, I have the auxiliary field in sight, I’m on the right radios…what am I missing here….

And then I look down. Flopped between the loop of my ejection handle, are my testicles. In my nervousness, I had evidently forgotten to zip up the bottom zipper of my flight suit when I peed right before stepping. And then I cinched myself down in my ejection seat really tight, causing my testicles to mash their way out of the flight suit and between the ejection handles.

“FUCK!” The sight of your own balls between a chair with a rocket under it is something that would cause any man to nearly faint. With the precision of a surgeon, I take off one glove and try to smush my balls in enough so that I can rezipper them. But I can’t stop myself from touching the ejection handle a bit, and images of me accidentally setting it off and castrating myself are just too much to bear. To compound matters, because I Was a shitty pilot at this point, I had thought I was in trim, but now was oscillating wildly, losing 2-3,000 feet every time I go “heads back out”. I literally cannot get the damn thing rezippered, while staying within the confines/block restrictions of my MOA.

I have to get 5 touch and goes to pass my solo, and I think my odds of accidentally setting off my ejection seat are higher than doing a shitty landing and being forced to eject. I head towards the auxiliary field, balls still out, determined to do the 5 best landings ever, and then peace the fuck back home.

Turns out that I should have flown every sortie with my testicles out because they were my 5 best landings ever. With your balls literally on the the line, you fly much, much better. Made it back to base, no problems, and mercifully extracted myself from the ejection seat upon taxing back to parking. And as I climbed out someone took the following picture. Zoomed in, it’s obvious to see that my zipper is still not closed. Maybe NS4W if your employer doesn’t like seeing the fleshy underbelly of balls through boxers.


A Very Hectic Arrival
Lastly, Reddit user “CriticalMach” describes his event:

“Finally, my time to shine! Airline pilot here, going on 4 years now. I was flying into a small Midwestern airport in the middle of summer. On approach to the airport, we received an alert by the onboard equipment to climb immediately to avoid hitting another plane. Fair enough, climb as instructed, see the offending aircraft below us, and decide to continue the approach. On a 3 mile straight in final to the runway, we spot a wall of torrential rain rapidly approaching the field. Looks far enough away that we think that we can beat it to the airport. About 100 ft off the runway the rain hits us and we go complete white out, cant see anything out of the windshield. Immediately start a go-around, and we get as low as 20 ft before the airplane finally starts climbing. Upon exiting the rain, and at about 500 ft, we finally are able to see again, and get ANOTHER alert for a helicopter right in front of us. This time we are told to descend… All in all, the most hectic and terrifying series of events in my entire time in aviation (about 10 years total now).”

What do you think?

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