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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

‘Windy’ start to Sikkim tour

The flight was all set to land at Bagdogra airport. The weather looked fine with clear skies but the plane was swaying a lot while landing, an experience I never had before. We could literally ‘feel’ the trouble the flight was having. Few seconds to land and the flight suddenly takes off much to the shock of everyone in the plane. It was nothing short of a roller coster ride. While we were wondering, the flight takes a long turn and tries to land again but fails at the last moment. 

Many of my trips have ‘starting trouble’ and they are mostly related to flights. The tradition seem to continue, I thought though I was not happy with the current situation.

The landing ‘struggle’ was on for about 20-25 minutes but passengers in the flights were not updated. I sincerely hoped that it was not a technical issue in the plane. Then the pilot announced that the strong surface winds were making too risky to land (it may not land on runway). The flight was now diverted to Guwahati. We landed safely in Guwahati. The plane was refuelled and the pilot announced that we need to wait for the words from Bagdogra ATC. 

Our plan was to travel by road from Bagdogra to Gangtok by road, the journey taking 4-5 hours. Now that was in jeopardy.

The wait lasted for about 1.5 hours. The flight was allowed to take off. Pilot announced that the winds though stronger had subsided a bit. The flight makes a successful landing while we hold our breath. A loud cheer and claps from passengers greeted the landing. 

I am a proponent of automation. Lot of people believe that the job of pilot is easy with auto pilots handling most of the journey. But it is in these situations the pilots prove their mantle. I heard people telling “kya yaar land nayi kar paya”, “why not he land at Coach behar instead of Guwahati” but I think safety matters above everything. 

GuruDongmar lake in Sikkim

The total ‘delay’ was about three hours. It was 6PM when we came out of the airport. I was bit concerned about driving though North Bengal but our driver assured that it would be safe. We reach Gangtok at 10:30PM in the night. A long day. All's well that ends well!!

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