Second Major Turbulence Event In Two Days Injures Five

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Just a day after 36 were injured by severe turbulence on a flight to Hawaii, United Flight 128 encountered unexpected turbulence on its 10.5-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro to Houston. After landing, two passengers and three flight crew members were taken to the hospital with what United described as “minor injuries.”

The flight departed Rio’s Galeão International Airport at 10:23 local time. At around 3:30 a.m. off the coast of Cancun, Mexico, the aircraft suddenly plunged 500 feet in “seconds,” according to FlightAware records. The flight landed about two hours later.

Unlike with the Hawaii flight, United said there were no alerts of turbulence in the area for the crew. According to a United statement, “Upon arrival, two passengers and three crew members were met by medical personnel and taken to a local hospital with minor injuries.”

According to a statement by United Airlines pilot Rob Biddle quoted in news reports, “(The pilots) aren’t scared at all. It’s all a part of aviation. It’s a common occurrence. There’s very rarely a flight where we don’t experience some level of turbulence.”

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. “Rio’s Galeanlo International Airport”

    It’s written Galeão not Galeanlo. If you can’t do the tilde write without it.

    Galeao.

  2. I guess at least 5 persons didn’t read news reports from just a day or three ago. The jetset public’s Darwin effect?

  3. That, and the PAO for United needs advice on avoiding REALLY inane quotes. Poor Rob Biddle has earned a dunce cap and 20 minutes of time out.

    >>Rob Biddle quoted in news reports, “(The pilots) aren’t scared at all. It’s all a part of aviation. It’s a common occurrence. There’s very rarely a flight where we don’t experience some level of turbulence.”<<

  4. Did someone imply that the pilots were scared? I think the only people at United that are scared right now are in the PR department. They’re afraid “pilot” Rob Biddle might talk to the press again.

    • I’m guessing there was reporting or social media from freaked out pax who thought crew sounded equally freaked out.

      My favourite was a tabloid “death plunge”. A slow leak in a cabin had triggered the masks. The crew then commenced a rapid descent, smoothly and gently.

  5. Welcome to the reality of aviation!
    ((Too bad it wasn’t in a Light Sport — then the PAX would know what turbulence was about))

  6. Obviously Rob Biddle’s criticized comment was in response to a question. Rob is a highly regarded, current and qualified chief pilot at one of United’s hubs. United gives pilots many resources to track, predict, and avoid turbulence.

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