This is what happens when a plane is landing and the runway disappears

Cockpit footage of the aborted landing of a Boeing Business Jet in pouring rain shows the split-second decisions pilots have to make.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
Now you see it. Soon, you won't. douglesso/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I would no sooner pilot a plane than marry a fish.

So I am always reassured when the voice from the cockpit is one of ineffable calm.

Sometimes, though, pilots must be suffering nervous conniptions when the weather turns on them and, say, the runway disappears as they are landing.

This quite pulsating footage was uploaded to YouTube this week. It shows a Boeing Business Jet landing in rain.

The windshield wipers are working furiously. Suddenly the runway seems to vanish.

The calm decision-making that leads the pilot to abort the landing and try again freezes the lay mind.

What also freezes the lay mind is that it was someone in the jump seat who filmed everything from the cockpit.

He explained on YouTube: "The approach flown was a CAT I ILS. I could see the rain column approach from the other side of the field so I got out my phone camera from the jump seat."

So he assumed this might be fun and therefore worthy of filming? How icy-veined.

He continued: "You can hear the GPWS announce minimums at 200' AGL, and shortly after all visibility is lost due to rain. You do not hear the '50' foot call out during the touch and go, but it had to be close. The HUD really provides incredible center-line tracking, although you can't see the symbology from the camera angle."

I am sure many pilots seeing this footage would think it entirely normal, perhaps even unworthy of comment.

To my untrained eyes and ears, however, this pilot went beyond the "decision height" and still made the right decision at the right moment -- despite it being perilously close to the ground.

The YouTube poster, whose handle is douglesso, explains that the rain passed quickly and they had plenty of fuel to attempt another landing.

However, I can't help but be moved by one YouTube commenter (handle: iYakuzaTV) who offered: "wanna bet the Russians would have landed the plane in this weather without a second thought?"