News and Views from Scotland

Airbus Touch and Go at Stornoway

Airbus A350 on its Maiden Flight, graphic © Don-vip via Wikimedia Commons

When most folk fly from the mainland to the Western Isles the aircraft is usually a small twin turboprop Saab C340 or a De Havilland Canada Dash8. But recently the airport at Stornoway on Lewis hosted a huge long-range Airbus A350 which can carry up to 400 passengers and is similar in size to a Boeing 777.

The aircraft was not on a scheduled flight, however, but was being used to provide practical training to experience landing and taking off in the strong winds that are a feature of the wind-swept Western Isles (nearest land to the west is North America).

The airport authorities said that similar training exercises have taken place at Stornoway in the past for a range of aircraft.

The Airbus A350 flew from Toulouse in France and did some "touch and go" passes where the aircraft touches down but immediately applies full thrust on the engines and takes off again. It is likely that the large aircraft couldn't safely land properly at Stornoway far less take off again as the runway would be too short.

There is a video sequence of the Airbus A350 landing and taking off at Stornoway - and having to fly in a crab-like fashion to cope with the cross-wind. Not recommended viewing if you are a nervous airline traveller! See BBC News.

The arrival of the large aircraft has led to some speculative posts on social media suggesting that US president-elect Donald Trump had been on board - but had been refused permission to land by the Scottish Nationalist ministers because of some of the things he said during his election campaign. But the fact that Mr Trump's mother was born and grew up on Lewis and he had visited the island a number of years to meet his relatives, lent credence (just) to the story. Graphic of Donald Trump is © Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.

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November 2016

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