How to not land: A picture lesson courtesy of Iberia

It’s difficult to say exactly what was at play in these conditions, but the position and response of this photographer gives a great vantage point of an aborted Iberia (IB) landing in Bilbao earlier this week.

The consecutive photos posted here show a quick time lapse of what was going on in a few scary seconds over the tarmac.

Among the airline community, the general consensus is that wind conditions caused significant shear near the runway, resulting in turbulent gusts just prior to wheels down. After two tries at landing on this in Bilbao the IB flight had to divert to Vitoria for another rough (albeit successful) landing.

So don’t rush off to hate on the Iberia pilot. As we learned from last year’s One-Two-Go crash on Thailand’s Phuket island, landing in high winds can be extremely tricky.

I’ve been through a couple of aborted landings, but never one that has actually touched down and returned to the skies. As docile as my experiences were, they were still frightening. I wonder what people on this flight were thinking.