Emirates flight suffers air pocket fall, plunges 15,000 feet

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  VintageKrug 27 Apr 2010
at 10:01

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  • Anonymous


    A Kochi-bound Emirates flight encountered a short period of heavy turbulence on Sunday.

    The ANI & PTI news agencies reported that the flight hit an air-pocket and suddenly dropped from a height of 20,000 to 1,500 feet while flying over Goa.

    The pilot was able to regain control before impact despite dropping 18,500 feet, and landed the Boeing 777 safely at Nedumbasserry airport in Kochi, the reports said.

    The incident occurred at around 10.30am Indian time (9.00am UAE time) and the Goa Air Traffic Control was the first to report the incident.

    Majid Al Mualla – Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations West Asia & Indian Ocean:

    “EK530 from Dubai to Kochi encountered a short period of heavy turbulence prior to descent into India. There were 350 passengers on board the flight, 20 of whom suffered minor injuries. The flight landed safely in Kochi and the captain requested medical support to meet the aircraft. All affected passengers were treated and have now been released. Emirates places the highest importance on the safety of our passengers and staff.”

    More info at :



    Without going too heavily into the physics involved – this is a highly unlikely story. The way that planes fly means that an 18,500 drop could only happen if the wing stalls and you wouldn’t survive that. This really only happens with T- tail aircraft in a deep stall. Severe turbulence can feel extreme but is rarely as bad as you feel. An 18,500 drop is very very severe.


    Roger probably you are right because i found also this report,

    ”However, Emirates authorities have denied this, saying the aircraft was at 35,000 ft and had descended only 200 feet.

    But sources say with the kind of injuries that passengers have sustained, and the fact that the plane was grounded clearly indicates that it could not be due to a fall of just 200 ft. However, the matter is being inquired into by the DGCA.”


    There is no such thing as an air pocket. This is planet earth. Air is everywhere.

    Just the media once again trying to create some news.


    ok, because i am physicist i can tell you that by air pocket the, mean air with low density, when you meet situation like this the plane can’t find the appropriate resistance to stay in its previous attitude.


    May I point you to http://www.flyingwithoutfear.co.uk

    They often cover the “air pocket” debate on the site and on their monthly emails.


    I know that there is not reason to overreact about accidents, they can happent from this issue (maybe a pilot in this forum can help us more).

    Just see this link :

    ”According to reports, the plane lost altitude as it entered an air pocket, fatally injuring six of the passengers on board the Falcon commuter jet used by the Greek premier for his official travels abroad. ” This statement is not from meda.

    I still can’t find a link with a photo where you can see the corner of the trolley goes out from the roof of the plane.

    I don’t want to spread the horror but those things can happen, that’s how the earth is made.


    Air Pocket

    1. (Engineering / Aeronautics) a localized region of low air density or a descending air current, causing an aircraft to suffer an abrupt decrease in height.

    2. (Mining & Quarrying) any pocket of air that prevents the flow of a liquid or gas, as in a pipe.


    My wife is not a good flyer and has been on two of the courses as mentioned by GlobalTravellerTom and they tell people that airpockets don’t exist and that the drop is minimal.

    Turbulance is warm air and cold air coming together.


    Agree with NTarrant.

    Air pocket is a term penned by the media. Just think about it “Air Pocket”. How can you possibly have a pocket of air or even a pocket of no air?

    I do not dispute you can have bad turbulance. I had a flight from Glasgow a few years back, which had a very sudden and big drop. Am sure it all went silent as we dropped. Even the crew looked very nervous. The result however was bad turbulance due to a weather system.


    Hi there…the Captain of that flight is a Brit guy…a friend of mine. He says that the flight recorder shows ”a rapid vertical flight deviation of approximately 20 feet”.
    His reaction to the reports of ‘ a drop of 18,500” is….. idiotic Daily Mail-type reporting!


    Thanks openfly i agrre with that as at the incident i told about with the Greeks diplomats, every guy how wasn’t wearing seat belt died at the 17000 ft drop.

    Can you ask him anything about air pockets? It would be nice to learn from a pilot.


    Worst I ever experienced was on an MD-80 in the southern US.

    My vodka and coke flew vertically out of my glass, ice cubes and all, about three feet into the air, and then deposited itself all over me.

    Thankfully I was well strapped in and had no ill effects, but one or two people had light injuries such as bumped heads and sprained wrists (from grabbing the armrests).

    I should imagine that was probably a drop of tens of feet, not dissimilar to what happened to the Emirates aircraft.

    Turbulence can be fun, but can also be deadly. A salutory reminder to not overburden the overhead lockers with excessive hand baggage, and to double check the overhead bin is firmly closed.

    I am most pleased that since the New Year neither myself nor others here have had any encounters with an Airpocket. Long may it continue.

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