Video: 747 Nose Gear Lifts Off Ground In Typhoon

Typhoon Soudelor ripped through Taiwan over the weekend, causing dozens of deaths and bringing us some pretty shocking footage, like this one from a dash cam:

So what impact can a typhoon have on a parked planes? Check out this footage of the nose gear of a China Airlines 747 being lifted off the ground due to the strength of the winds:

Given that a 747’s empty weight is about 400,000 pounds (about 200 tons), and maximum weight is about double that, it should really put into perspective how strong the winds are. Wow!

What a sad situation — my thoughts are with those who lost loved ones and have been misplaced by the typhoon.

Comments

  1. This is not that remarkable really, just physics. Typhoon winds under the wings creating enough lift to have nose come off ground, even though ailerons probably in neutral position.

  2. Aside from the wing physics, it’s also one giant lever. Having wheels in the middle of a heavy object makes it remarkably easier to lift. Think about a seesaw. You can lift an end weighted with a person substantially easier than if it were flat on the ground.

  3. @ The above two posts (by Robert and KG): Good point – if the wing load/weight was light, the nose could’ve easily lifted

    @ Lucky: Great clip, and even with my other “comment section”, no matter what, it’s still pretty amazing to see a nose of a 747 get lifted of the ground, and even with all the physics calcs, it’s still a VERY strong typhoon!

  4. This amazing fact still freaks me out decades after I first discovered it: a 160mph wind head-on will lift a loaded 747 weighing over half a million pounds right up into the sky. Not only will it lift the thing right up off the ground as high as it wants, but that is the intended use of a 747!

  5. Hi Ben, I believe you made a mistake with the weight there! it’s around 200 tons, or rather about 180 tons, and not 2,000!

    Cheers!

  6. “my thoughts are with those who lost loved ones and have been misplaced by the typhoon.”

    Don’t you mean displaced instead of misplaced? As in rendered homeless due to the destructive force of the typhoon.

  7. To whomever thinks its not significant, my house was literally shaking the night that the typhoon stroke. More than 3 million Taiwan houses were out of power. The entire country’s water went murky for 3 days. It was a disastrous typhoon.

  8. The most dangerous things in a typhoon are the micro-tornado as we can see in the first video, very local but very devastating. The 747 video is very impressive indeed but not surprising when you think that a true F5 tornado can easily lift a 747 entirely in the sky…

  9. Typhoons are extremely dangerous to people. As mentioned above simple physics explains it, so another useless post… Just like the vast majority of this blog

  10. Don’t forget that it passed directly over Saipan first before it continued into the Philippine Sea and grew into one mean typhoon this season. Miraculously, there was no loss of life in Saipan where infrastructure is not as up to code as Taiwan.

  11. The movement of aircraft on the ground during high winds is not new. Whenever conditions determined our C-47s were double tied at the tail and sandbags were placed along the chord line of the wings to reduce lift. Worked every time.

  12. The destruction caused by the typhoon is terrible and thoughts with all those affected.

    The 747 lifting up is just doing what it’s designed to do…take of and fly so not really that remarkable.

    When I worked for a Biz Jet operator we often used to have to reposition our aircraft so that they weren’t facing into the wind…and that was just for a UK winter storm.

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