This question on being able to see ground effects of earthquakes from the air got me wondering:

No doubt a severe earthquake at the wrong time could hinder even experienced pilots, but I expect a minor one may be unnoticeable or simply cause a mildly unsteady landing:

"An earthquake--really? I thought that felt a little weird"

Are there any known instances of an earthquake during approach/landing/takeoff? What were the results?

Naturally if there exists any video that'd be helpful.

  • $\begingroup$ I see tag edits here, re-adding and re-removing the 'earthquake' label. This question deals with more than merely takeoff and landing. IMO its nature warrants either 'earthquake' or at least 'weather.' The weather tag existed when I wrote the question, and aviation.stackexchange.com/users/675/greg-hewgill created Earthquake in the same spirit. ...my two cents. $\endgroup$
    – zedmelon
    Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ IMO its nature warrants either 'earthquake' or at least 'weather.' (no pun intended) $\endgroup$
    – zedmelon
    Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


Yes, there have been aircraft landing at the moment an earthquake hit. Here is an article about one in 2011: Air NZ plane landed as Christchurch earthquake hit

"It was creepy as... as the plane came down, you could see all the windows in the terminal just rolling, and all the shuttles that go out to the plane were in the tarmac just rolling.

"Somebody shouted out 'oh my god, it's an earthquake!'"

"We came down and couldn't get out, and there was a big shake while we were still in the plane. Then we sat there for an hour.

This is of course from the point of view of a passenger, not the pilots.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Dang, that's been eight years already--time, well...flies. I figured it's had to have happened at one time or another. I'd be interested in seeing video--I'll update the question with that. Thanks Greg. $\endgroup$
    – zedmelon
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 23:42

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