The flight from hell.

I should have known that the vulture sitting on the airport fence was a bad omen.
The flight from Kathmandu to Lukla departed on schedule at twenty past six in the morning and while the cloud cover worried me a little everything went as planned for the next fifteen minutes. It was then that I noticed that the pilots were peering out of the cockpit window and pointing at the ground the plane suddenly veered left and descended through a hole in the clouds just when we came out from there a rock wall appeared right in front of the aircraft the pilot jerked the plane violently to the right and straight towards another rock face. He then tried going left and up and while this avoided an immediate slamming in the mountain this maneuver caused the plane to run out of airspeed and the stall alarm started going off. We virtually looped back down and managed to get up enough speed to stay airborne and depart this valley for the next one. This was again a dead end requiring the plane to turn so sharply that the G-force pushed on me so hard I couldn’t lift my arms to go in a brace position. By this point the locals on the flight were crying or praying as indeed were some of the tourists and the rest of us tried to remember what to do in an air crash. Then as sudden as it had all started it stopped again the clouds parted Lukla airport came into view and plane bounced down.
When we came to a halt and got off the plane the airport staff applauded when I got on my knees and kissed the ground

2 comments

  1. Wow Eric, I can happily recall that the ‘cigar of death’ at Tennant Creek never had those sort of issues when coming in to land. Then again, Tennant Creek never had any significant ground formations either. Take care of yourself mate.

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  2. Gee Eric that sounds really hairy!! I have done that flight from Kathmandu to Lukla and fortunately my flight was very boring compared to that!! Are you going to consider walking from Lukla to Jiri on the way back down to avoid that flight? You should be able to make it in about 6 days when you are fit on the way down!! I am jelous mate, keep up the blog.

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