It’s a common experience for everyone who steps aboard a plane to be uneasy at some level, however, there’s no more poignant reminder of flying’s innate precariousness than a good walloping at 37,000 feet.
During such encumbrances, it’s very easy to picture the airplane as a helpless dinghy in a stormy sea. Ships occasionally capsize, or they get dashed into reefs by swells, so the same must hold true for airplanes. So much about it seems dangerous.
Although in rare circumstances, it’s not. For all intents and purposes, a plane cannot be flipped upside-down, thrown into a tailspin, or otherwise flung from the sky by even the mightiest gust or air pocket.
However, the conditions might be annoying and uncomfortable, but the plane is not going to crash.
Turbulence is an aggravating nuisance for everybody, including the crew, but it’s also, for lack of a better term, normal. From a pilot’s perspective it is ordinarily seen as a convenience issue, not a safety issue. Planes can withstand an extreme amount of stress, and the level of turbulence required to dislodge an engine or cause structural damage is something even the most frequent flyer — or pilot for that matter — won’t experience in a lifetime of traveling.
However, that was not the case in Chicago where a small plane flipped over Wednesday morning while landing at DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport. According to DeKalb Deputy Fire Chief James Zarek, the incident unfolded around 10:30 a.m.
The plane was flying from Wisconsin to Texas, and was stopping at the airport in DeKalb to refuel and take a break, Zarek said. However, while it was landing, "something went wrong," and the plane flipped over, coming to a rest on its windshield and the front of its wings.
The paramedics checked out the pilot, but he refused to be taken to a hospital. Zarek said the plane's owner is in Texas, and the pilot works for the owner transporting planes from one location to another. The authorities are still trying to investigate the cause of the crash.