"Undeclared" Incidents


Has anyone experienced any incidents or near misses not reported? Wondering what the criteria is for reporting an incident versus just thanking your lucky stars and moving on. Perhaps this one was reported, but if it was, I never knew about it. This was years ago.

I was in a 727 departing the old Stapleton (DEN) for the east coast and just as we were reaching cruising alt, I think somewhere near Kansas border, flight attendants began serving beverages. It felt like the pilot bumped the yoke with his leg. But apparently an alarm went off. The flight attendants were knocked to the floor, stuff fell off the carts and a few passengers screamed. The plane dropped what felt like at least 1,000 feet and my feet were in my throat and my spleen in my ears LOL. Thank gosh for seatbelts. After it smoothed out I could see the expression on the faces of the passengers on a 747 that had just crossed above us. You could hear a pin drop on my plane and the pilot never made an announcement. No one was hurt.


Out of Denver? Mountain wave turbulence probably. It can be extremely nasty.


Out of Denver near the Kansas border? Probably not mountain waves.

In about 1992 I was on a Delta flight into Atlanta over Savannah in a MD-88 that rolled onto its side for a Cessna. The pilot did make an announcement and I saw the Cessna out the window. I was sitting in first class and could not have cared less. Did I mention I had been in the Crown Room for at least an hour before departure? It never made the news, so far as I know.

Also, I’ve been on several other commercial flights with significant and unexpectant drops in altitude. On each of these, the passengers are screaming and drinks are rolling off the ceiling.

#*IT happens!


Why not?

In the intermountain west the wave length can vary from about 2 nautical miles to over 25 nautical miles. It averages 8 miles and extends downrange about 150-300 nautical miles. **Satellite photos have shown the wave capable of extending over 700-nautical miles downwind from the mountain range. **Referance

I was coming out of KATL in a Lear 25 about 7 years ago; it was a light broken layer of clouds. During the climb (about 8000 feet/min) I thought I saw something as we went through an opening in the clouds. Just at that time we were given a clearance to descend immediately. Just then we popped out the other side of the cloud a saw a “mad dog” MD-80 pass above us, I remember it blocking out the sun. We pushed over so hard in fact that the fuel unported from one of the fuel hoppers and the engine flamed out. That scared the **** out of me. That was before TCAS was mandatory.

After the *incident * the controller asked us what I rate of climb was. We told him and he said something to the affect that, that was more then he expected.


The OP states, “After it smoothed out I could see the expression on the faces of the passengers on a 747 that had just crossed above us.”

My response from THIS THREAD:

I was on a flight coming home from getting out of the Army (18 years ago). I think it was a flight from SEA to DFW; I had a window seat and was looking out and noticed what I could distinctly make out a DC-10 waaaaay out in the distance. It looked like we were at about the same altitude, but the traffic appeared to be just a weee bit higher and we appeared to be traveling at a 90-degree difference in headings. The traffic did NOT appear to move position in my view, and I knew from having taken flying lessons that that was a BAD thing! I don’t know whether I first spotted it 10 minutes ahead of time, or if it was three minutes… It seemed like a long time. I just remember the whole time, the thing never moved position in my window and I thought about writing a note for a flight attendant to take to the captain to alert him to the traffic - but Shirley Roger would roger Victor’s vector for us to move away from one another. I became more and more anxious as we continued to be on what appeared to be a crash-course, and as we moved ever closer, I continued wondering whether I should’ve written the note, or If I should try to alert someone now. I just sat there passively as I awaited my possible demise.

I do not remember what airline the traffic was. I just remember in the final moments, the only comfort that I had was that we were indeed a little bit lower than the other plane and that as I expected possible impact, we were only struck by its enormous shadow!

…and my thoughts at that moment were, “I’ll bet the pilots are thinking, ‘What the F…?’”

I vow that if I’m ever presented with a similar situation, I’m gonna DEFINITELY send a message to the captain because Roger and Victor may both be asleep in that critical moment, and we may not be so lucky the next time.


Yup, he sure did. Sorry! :blush:


I think it was more likely the 747 lol, but that’s interesting to know the waves go out that far.

The mountains can do havoc on your beverage, that’s for sure. Had a flight recently on a small prop into EGE. All other ski resorts had closed and DEN cancelled everything. Except one flight. I not only got the last flight in during a blizzard - at night, according to airline, I got “the last pilot crazy enough to try it.” I would say he was more experienced than crazy. After a few passengers experienced their first time actually using those little bags in the seat pocket in front of you, we fishtailed on the runway. Didn’t have any luggage for couple days, but it sure was beautiful. Snowfall at 8,000 that night totalled 5 feet. Shirley Roger and Victor were on top of their vector that night LOL :stuck_out_tongue: