Turbulence Before the Runway

757 landing Toncotin

An American Airlines flight landing at Toncontín International Airport. | Enrique Galeano Morales | Flickr

I’m sitting in an airplane on a flight path to Honduras, a tropical country bordered to the west by Guatemala, southwest by El Salvador in Central America. My seat-belt is on tight, I’ve checked three times, partly because moments before our flying aircraft was having a difficult time staying in the air. We call this turbulence, an unstable flow of air in the atmosphere, which is a normal part of flying and everyone knows that they might encounter strong winds at higher elevations.

Through the small window I could see the wings of the plane and how the flow of air moves them at the hinge. The cabin lights above each passenger begins to flash routine safety reminders. A single tone rings, the planes intercom system has been activated. The captain of our large commercial airliner begins to advise passengers to stay in their seats and prepare to “experience a quick drop in altitude in order for the plane to line up with the runway.”  I have no idea what this means only that our captain sounds confident that we were going to land safely in Toncontín International Airport.

The quick drops begin. First, their is rattling of the overhead compartments and the sounds of the carry-on bags shifting from left to right. The plane moves with a violent jolt downward, making passengers spill their spiced spritzers. It is an uncomfortable feeling of weightlessness with the sudden declines the plane continues to make. I could hear the terrible humming of the twin-engines, yet stable and powerful enough to carry passengers, baggage, cargo, and enough fuel to arrive at our destination.

Out the left window I can see the fields and rows of tiny buildings approaching fast as the plane continues its descend. We see the valley surrounded by mountainous terrain covered by shadows from the clouds above. The hills appear close enough for an accidental touch. Sky can be seen from the right side window, our plane has been making multiple small left turns in an effort to find the tarmac. This forces the pilot to maneuver the plane into a final 45-degree turn prior to lining up with the runway for a remarkable touchdown.

Planestuff’s channel “Cockpit view of a jet landing into Tegucigalpa Honduras TGU” YouTube, October 27, 2007. Web. September 15, 2015.


Write about a memorable time or place using new vocabulary and descriptive details. Explore why your experience of that place was memorable. What makes you remember it so clearly? Was your experience good or bad, and share the reasons why?

Categories: The Writer's Nook

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11 replies

  1. What is that weird structure on the bottom left hand corner of the screen at 1:13?

    • Awesome observation Diego. It looks like a crop circle. Right? I’m unsure of what it is, but I can imagine it being a road of some kind, or path for pipes to travel through. What do you believe it is?

      • I believe it is a crop circle, because if it were to be a road, where does it lead. There is nowhere for it to go. That is why I think it is a crop circle.

  2. I really liked the distances from the ground how it starts and ends and the similarities and differences you see when your up and then down. I think someplace I remember very well going was in 4rth grade in winter my family and I went to Mexico City for my mom’s birthday it was a nice place (even though it was dangerous) especially when I was in high level off the ground and I could see the whole area that was pretty cool. So it was a good experience after all. Another thing that I liked about the video was how it was showing the place so clear so you could see the plane going down to probably the airport.

  3. Thank You for 34kiwis

  4. This school year is fun!

  5. Awesome story 😛

  6. The place I am choosing is LA. I love Las Angeles a lot. I met most of my family there. I also love the fresh breeze that comes from the ocean, it feels super nice. I think it’s a good experience because I met all my family there and I also went there for my first beach trip. Sand in your bathing suit is the bad part. XD

  7. My trip to the Bahamas was amazing and there were so many moments I remember that I had there in the Bahamas.