I was on a Trans-Pacific flight in a 747 landing in Seoul in rough weather. Everything was fine up until the final approach when suddenly it was as if someone opened a trapdoor. This was not the normal turbulence that you sometimes get that brief weightless feeling on. This was like God stomping the jet into the ground.

Everyone felt several seconds of negative G just before the aircraft slammed into the runway. The impact was so hard, the wings deflected enough to cut the tall grass next to the runway. Now of course aircraft wings are designed to flex, but if these had bent just another foot or two at the tips, it would have been plowing the ground. I watched the whole thing from my window.

On another flight into Taipei, our plane was making touchdown when a horrible screech of rending metal met our ears. The aircraft showed no signs of slowing, and about halfway down the runway, the jets fired on full throttle and we roared back up into the sky and began to circle.

After several minutes, the captain came on the intercom and calmly said “due to a schedule change, air traffic control has requested us to abort landing. We will be landing shortly.”

After another 15 minutes, we again make s a final approach only to hear the rending metal sound again. As if a hundred Freddie Krugers scratched simultaneous chalkboards in an orchestra of agony. The plane bucked side to side and bunny hopped the whole way down the runway. Finally, it came to rest in one of the taxiways and was towed to the gate.

They never said what happened, but as I left the plane, I looked outside and lo and behold: several rear landing gear wheels were missing.

Thankfully, aircraft are built with redundancies for just such an occasion, so we probably weren’t ever in any serious danger, but that awful sound still sends shivers down my spine.