Huge plane almost crash-lands on runway at Pearson Airport in Mississauga, Ontario

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Published January 22, 2024 at 5:38 pm

Air France tailstrike landing at Pearson Airport in Mississauga.
Sparks fly as an Air France Airbus A350 drags its tail along the runway after landing at Pearson Airport in Mississauga on Sunday. (Photo: Anthony Saiters, via Instagram)

A rough and dangerous attempted landing by a huge passenger jet on Sunday evening at Pearson Airport in Mississauga gave those on board a frightening few moments before the aircraft took off again, circled around and landed safely on its second try.

“Everyone was quite a bit frazzled because we felt the landing and then the take off; it was frightening,” a passenger who was on board the Air France Airbus A350 flight from Paris told insauga.com.

The incoming Airbus experienced what’s known as a “tailstrike” incident in which, upon landing, the rear underbelly of the plane comes into contact with the tarmac and drags along the surface at high speed.

In the case of the Air France jet at Pearson, sparks were visible as the aircraft sped along the runway, its tail section leaned all the way back, until the pilot took off again and “initiated a go-around” before safely landing about 15 minutes later.

Those on board were greatly relieved when the aircraft landed successfully on its second attempt.

“We didn’t feel much in the front (of the plane), but we knew something was wrong. I was watching it land from the screen and saw as it was landing, it wasn’t slowing down,” the passenger, who didn’t want their name used, told insauga.com. “It felt like the landing was a bit on an angle and then we heard full throttle and the plane take off again. It pushed hard to get up and did a full circle. We didn’t hear the plane hit the ground (on the first landing attempt), but the people in the back did.

“The pilot just said due to unsafe landing, they had to turn around again.”

An airport observer took several photos of the damaged aircraft (see below), which remains at Pearson for the time being until it can be repaired.

Air France Flight 356 had taken off earlier Sunday from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. It’s not known at this time how many passengers were on board.

According to Aviation Source News, the two-year-old wide-body plane bounced upon touching town on runway 24L and then its pilot quickly aborted the landing in favour of the “go-around.”

The aircraft, on its initial landing attempt, reportedly also had too much speed and not enough runway left ahead of it to safely come to a stop.

No injuries were reported.

The incident marks at least the second near-disastrous landing at Pearson in the last couple of months. Back in November, an Air Canada Boeing 777 inbound from Tokyo nearly crash-landed in high winds.

Two above photos show damage to the underbelly of the Air France Airbus A350. (Photos: Toronto Pearson Aviation Group/Facebook)

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