Gusty Landing Injures Six


The FAA says it will look into a landing mishap in blustery conditions that landed six occupants of an American Airlines A321neo in hospital briefly on Saturday in Hawaii. “American Airlines Flight 271, an Airbus A320 (FlightAware lists an A321neo), made a hard landing on Runway 20 at Kahului Airport in Hawaii at approximately 2 p.m. local time…. The FAA will investigate,” the FAA said in a statement. Five of the injured were crew members and the other a passenger. The nature of the injuries wasn’t released.

The flight originated in Los Angeles and the airline said it took the plane out of service for an inspection after the rough arrival. According to FlightAware, the flight took almost seven hours to cover the distance, about an hour longer than normal. A strong atmospheric river was sweeping from the southwest over much of the flight path and winds were gusting to almost 30 knots at close to runway heading (2/20) at Kahului at the time of the mishap.


Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. Seven hours LAX to Hawaii in a jet? My trip in 1959 in a PanAm B377 took “only” nine hours, Travis AFB to HNL. Progress…

  2. No doubt some headwind component at play for a 7 hour trip. As for the injuries, undisclosed, what could six pax, out of the rest onboard, have had happen to them that they got to go to the hospital? Maybe to pick the fly crap out of the pepper in an attempt to gain compensation for “Mother Nature’s” whim…

  3. Sounds a little “fishy” to me that 5 of the 6 who went to the hospital were crewmembers, and I’m guessing they were all flight attendants. They probably have some sort of “beef” with the company and are hoping to get something out of this. Or, something I saw a few times at my company, one says “I’m feeling a little dizzy”, and then another one says “me too”, and the next thing you know four flight attendants are headed to the hospital for a checkup.

    • You do understand the more likely scenario is AA requires them to go, particularly since this would be a workman’s comp claim. Other websites have noted this was around 2.7g landing which with my limited understand is unlikely to do damage even in the very vertical, no arm rest, hard crew seats. A jump from 5’ is 2-4 g’s by comparison.

    • Agree. I expect that particular landing might have been hard on the spine if one were seated in those thinly-cushioned, backwards-facing, fold-down cabin crew seats.

  4. “Six persons examined at hospital after hard landing” seems more consistent with the article content than hard landing “injures six.”

  5. Are flight attendants’ seating different from passenger seating? Are walls, bulkheads, trays or table in close enough proximity to deliver a whack if somebody gets bounced around? I have no idea what cabin crew seating looks like on an Airbus A321neo.

  6. Airline pilots are expected to slow down from Vapp, which takes into account winds and gusts, to cross the threshold at Vref, which does not. Yes, I know that landing performance is based on crossing at Vref.

    Always thought that was asinine, since the last 330′ is precisely when you’ll need the extra speed that Vapp gives you. Mercifully, the captains I flew with were smart enough to maintain Vapp all the way into the flare, and we always had enough of a margin when faced with a occasional loss of airspeed close to the ground.

    Maybe this crew was doing things by the “book”.

  7. With a landing like that I’m sure the pilots were admitted to the hospital for a routine rectal seat cushion extraction.

  8. My wife and I were supposed to be on the outbound flight from Maui that day. AA initially delayed the flight to the following day, but then cancelled it completely after the hard landing inspection. They must have broken something. Luckily my wife thought fast and we bought the last two seats home on the United redeye before the SHTF. I believe Hawaiian’s flight canceled that day as well.

    The FAs all walked off the airplane, except one in a wheelchair, but they seemed outwardly okay at least. The one passenger came off in a wheelchair and was clearly in a lot of pain and could not move one leg. There was some kind of prior injury that was triggered. It was really sad and hard to watch. Zero chance she was faking anything.

    As a major airline pilot who has flown into Maui a dozen times or so, it seemed like a normal day in Maui. It’s always gusty and bumpy landing there in the afternoon. The weather a couple days earlier was a lot worse. The runway there is a little short for an airliner so not a lot of time to play around in the flare. 7,000’

  9. Once again, we have what appears to be an unexplained event. No, this hard landing can be explained by my research and book titled: Science About How Tornadoes And Vortexes Form And How They Are Causing Planes To Crash (Including MH370) available from Barnes & Noble and Amazon. In this specific case there was a front coming through and a 67 Knot Jet Stream that probably created a vortex. All the elements where there to create the vortex. Then as the plane was landing the plane ran into the vortex with the wind all at once coming from behind, thus losing lift and dropping suddenly to the runway, thus a hard landing.
    Ron Hardwig, Professional Engineer