[All images below are credited to Holly Rush]

Last night American flight 1897 from was flying from San Antonio to Phoenix when they encountered a massive, tall thunderstorm.  Per reports from ABC, CBS, and Reuters, passengers could see lightning outside the windows (although lightning strikes aren’t THAT uncommon in commercial flight) and there was severe turbulence.

Suddenly flight 1897 experienced a severe hail strike, damaging the nose cone of the Airbus A319 and damaging the windshield.

Before I show you the pics, the reason I’m writing a post about this is to celebrate the work of the flight crew, who calmly descended from 34000 feet to 9000 feet, burned off some fuel, and landed in El Paso just over an hour after taking off from San Antonio.

Note: the flight crew made this emergency landing with basically no forward visibility.

American sent a 737 to pick up the passengers and the flight arrived in Phoenix safely with only a 3-hour delay.

This was no doubt a tense time for passengers but stories like this show just how experienced airline crews are today.  Air travel has never been safer than it is today, partly due to technology but also due to calm, cool, and collected flight crews like the one who safely landed the wounded bird last night.  My hat is off to you and the thousands of other airline crews who would’ve landed just as safely!

Holly Rush took some pictures, below, of the affected aircraft that put the urgency of the situation into a real context for me.

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