Last year in December, a United Airlines flight that took off from Maui plummeted down through the sky to a height of only 800 feet, happening only 71 seconds after departing from Kahului Airport.
The flight’s destination was San Francisco on December 18th. While the nosedive was originally reported by The Air Current, it didn’t make its way into mainstream media channels, despite almost being disastrous.
United Airlines pilots in need of additional training after terrifying plunge
Thankfully, the passengers were only distressed; no one was injured during the vertical plunge that happened at speeds of 8,600 feet per minute.
A United Airlines flight took a steep nose dive after taking off from Maui on Dec. 18, plummeting from 1,400 feet to 775 feet over the Pacific Ocean before recovering and continuing its path to San Francisco, officials confirmed to CBS News. pic.twitter.com/v5VpDXYDnM
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) February 14, 2023
Shortly after, the pilots recovered altitude; the flight was on par for the course, but this isn’t anything to sneeze at.
As it turns out, the plane departed the airport in the midst of horrible weather conditions in Hawaii. Thunderstorms and showers rolled across the region, leaving many wondering who even cleared the flight for takeoff.
In fact, on that very day, Maui was in red alert mode, with a high risk of flash floods, as well as high surf and gale warnings all around.
After brushing shoulders with disaster, the flight continued on its path to San Francisco, landing at the airport around 9 PM local time.
Immediately after, the crew filed the necessary safety report. What followed was the airline walking away from such a horrific incident with nothing more than orders to give the pilots “some additional training”.
It seems no one is thinking about the lives that could’ve been lost due to a rookie pilot’s mistake in less-than-optimal weather conditions.
#BREAKING Flight 1722, United 777 does nosedive on 8,700fpm#Hawaii – #USA
On December 18, United Airlines Flight 1722 does a unexplained nosedive on 8,700ft per minute. The plane came within 775 ft from the ocean. The pilots pulled 2.7G’s.@rawsalerts @aircraftrack pic.twitter.com/SqFsQmVeRz
— CaliforniaNewsWatch (@CANews_Watch) February 12, 2023
Inexperienced pilots; a recipe for disaster
Following the incident, United Airlines issued a statement, claiming that safety is their number one priority. Yet, if we look at the two pilots in charge of the said flight, they had barely 25,000 hours among themselves.
Naturally, the company refused to provide any additional information on how the investigation is unfolding, only stating both pilots are cooperating with the safety officers and have immediately re-entered the training program.
According to the FAA, reporting incidents like this is completely voluntary. They’re already taking appropriate action to deal with the airline agency, hoping events like this won’t be happening again in the near future.
A United Airlines 777 taking off from Maui’s airport nearly impacted the ocean on December 18, in a previously-unreported incident. pic.twitter.com/8Ec8sl0kxo
— Breaking Aviation News & Videos (@aviationbrk) February 12, 2023
Recently, our airline companies have been out of order on a number of levels; this is just another incident that we’ll probably have to get used to seeing.
Between inexperienced pilots and unapologetic behavior for delays and cancellations, it’s easy to say the golden age of air travel is over. You’d be better off taking a bus across the Rockies than flying in a metal cylinder with a bunch of bozos piloting it.
That’s not to say the United Airlines crew didn’t handle the plunge professionally, but if we take into consideration that a more experienced pilot would’ve prevented it from happening in the first place, it all begins to make sense.