I suspect a former fighter pilot was flying that bird!

Courtesy of The Drive, we find this video of a McDonnell Douglas MD-80 freighter aircraft taking off from Lynden Pindling International Airport at Nassau, capital of the Bahamas.  I think the pilot must have been a former fighter jockey who missed the fun and games of his younger days!

If there had been any passengers on board, I bet they would have enjoyed the ride.

I was aboard a South African Airways flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta many years ago.  The plane encountered severe headwinds on its transatlantic journey, and had to land at Palm Beach to take on additional fuel.  It didn’t need much, and the plane (a Boeing 747-400) was lightly loaded;  so, on takeoff, the pilot treated us to a similar steep climb.  (Yes, he was a former South African Air Force fighter pilot.)  It was a lot of fun.  Some airliners have a lot more power than one would suspect.



  1. I got to jump seat on an Airbus freighter back in the day. It was an empty flying back to the hub. You face backwards on the Airbus. That takeoff almost pulled my eyes out. It was a hoot! Then we hit turbulence, but since it isn't a passenger flight, we burned right through. Shook out my teeth… All in all, a free roller coaster. I loved getting to do that.

  2. Similar to how we used to take the Gryphon R&R flight out of Baghdad in 05-09… Combat takeoff… full power, straight climb and then hard starboard tight turns pulling some 'g's' to avoid any triple A ground fire… Good Times Good Times

  3. That looked like the takeoff profile from John Wayne Airport on the line between Newport Beach $$$$$$, and Costa Mesa.
    Max power climb to 2,500', then reduced power to cut noise until 2 miles offshore, then normal climb out.
    John in Indy

  4. It's a common gag for T-6 instructors on cross-country trips with students to request "unrestricted climb", accelerate in ground effect like this fellow did, then pull 5-6G at the end of the runway and climb at absurdly high rates until they run out of airspeed.
    Ask me how I know 😂

  5. That may have been a local noise abatement take off where the plane accelerates, climbs steeply to reduce the noise over residential areas near by. The idea is to have the aircraft at a higher altitude while climbing out reducing the noise at the ground level. A thousand feet can make a huge difference in how loud the engines are to those in the flight path and especially when they are at full power. Once the altitude is reached they reduce throttles and climb in a more shallow profile until they clear that airspace.

    The aircraft had accelerated while over the runway and just before the end entered into a steep but short climb to attain the minimum altitude required over the community at the end of the runway. They do this every day at PDX, Portland Oregon's airport.

  6. Was a passenger on a SAS 747 landing at JFK, watching out the window as we were about maybe 30 feet above the runway, when the pilot stood that thing on its tail and unarsed the area. He later informed us that when about to land they discovered our runway "otherwise occupied".

  7. I recall a nice steep takeoff in a L-1011 coming back from Chicago, I think. The pilot made it a point to climb quickly and mentioned we were 100,000 pounds lighter than a full load. He must have been showing off as he mentioned another airliner that was already about 10,000 feet below us. Great fun.

  8. Hopefully that cargo was well-secured. I still remember the footage of the cargo plane leaving Iraq at a high angle of attack when the cargo shifted to the tail, and he stalled it all the way into the ground.

    Separately, the 757 has a reputation of being a bit of a hot rod.

  9. I did a bit of time flying in and out of Viet Nam and Cambodia in the early 1990s.

    Mostly in Tu-134s; for those not familiar, like "budget" DC-9s. The early ones had no radar, but sported a "glazed" nose cone like a WW2 bomber.

    Launch from Bangkok felt lie the pilot had the hand-brake on until cleared; lots of noise and vibration. Brakes off and we scooted away, doing a rapid rotation to a near 45 degree climb. After that it was pretty tame.

    Apart from the fact that I was in the very front row of seats, facing backwards. Across the small but solid table was my traveling companion.

    Flight across to Northern Viet Nam pretty uneventful. Final approach to Noi Bai airport involved going 45 degrees nose-down at high altitude and aiming for the end of the runway in the near distance.

    Just when it was getting "interesting", the pilot flared it in, right on the threshold and plonked the old bus nicely down on the deck.

    "Good Morning, Viet Nam", indeed. Our interpreter informed us that All of the "civil" pilots were Mig-21-qualified jet-jockeys on rotation through an assortment of aircraft.

    That explained the "tactical" landing. When the airline upgraded to Airbus machines, they tone the "style" down quite a bit. Commercial flights in Cambodia at the time were also "interesting". Probably a good thing I had previous "service" experience on C-130s and DHC Caribous and dirt strips.

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