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You don’t see that everyday! A380 makes Go Around at CHCH Airport, lands from OPPOSITE direction

Sometimes a pilot chooses to abort a landing – called a ‘go around’ – when the weather isn’t ideal. With gales gusting sideways across the main runway at Christchurch International Airport today it’s not surprising to see some planes having to circle or have a couple goes at landing. Also, some flights are today using the shorter east-to-west runway, so they can land more directly into the wind.

But what’s a little unusual about this second attempt at landing is that the commercial jet successfully landed from the opposite end of the runway. Usually in most NZ go arounds the wind will be howling from the same direction and the plane will either circle and attempt again, or head off to another airport.

The reason for this opposite landing? A slight change in that strong crosswind. While the A380 still had a crosswind for the second attempt, the direction had shifted slightly from North-West to West-South-West, meaning the aircraft had to to have it’s second attempt from the other end of the runway. This is because the nose of the plane needs to lean into the direction of wind as much as possible, it can’t be coming from behind the craft. It’s a subtle difference but one that matters to give the aircraft more lift.

Great job to the pilots on a complicated windy day across Canterbury – and hopefully not too many bumps in the air for the passengers!

By the way – it’s not just the winds at the runway that are strong, sustained winds over 100kmh are blowing in the skies well above the city and Port Hills as spring westerly gales are enhanced by the Southern Alps this weekend (due to a storm in the Southern Ocean and high pressure just to the north of NZ).

  • Story by Philip Duncan,
  • Image credit: FlightRadar24
  • Video Credit: Jasmine Moody via Chris Lynch Media


jet on 14/10/2023 4:31am

is that photo the north west arch?

WW Forecast Team on 14/10/2023 4:49am

Think it’s partially there yes (or was).

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