Browns “lucky to be alive” after turbulent landing on Sunday night

Though the game had long ended and the Browns had fallen victim to a 31-point second quarter from the Cincinnati Bengals, the toughest portion of the evening was apparently returning to Cleveland amidst a huge, wind-filled rainstorm. From Mary Kay Cabot over at The Cleveland Plain Dealer, a rough landing led to offensive lineman Jason Pinkston coming close to kissing the ground.

“It was terrifying,” Pinkston told Cabot. “It was the real thing. The weather was so bad. We were coming in to land and [the pilot] had to go kind of fast to balance it out and we came down and we hit on two wheels. The [left] wing was literally three feet from hitting the ground. […] We’re actually pretty lucky to be alive right now, to be honest. We really escaped one. We got away with one last night.”

Severe winds a rain led to Cleveland Hopkins Airport issuing a stoppage at 6:25 p.m.; the Browns were already en route, landing in Cleveland at roughly 6:30 p.m. One player, linebacker Brandon Magee, was too intimidated by the weather in Cincinnati and opted to ride the bus back with the equipment staff. Just a 45-minute flight, the Browns were adamant that they would not have taken the trip had they or United Airlines felt that the team would be put in jeopardy.

“There were a bunch of screams,” said Pinkston. “You could hear everyone screaming on the plane. It was pretty real. I screamed, because I was sitting right over (left) wing. My window was open and I saw the whole thing.”

[Related: Cleveland Browns Game 10: Winners and Losers]

(H/T Thunder Treats)


  • I’d read MKC’s full piece. A nice line of Billy Winn “shaking like a little girl.” Seems like a crazy flight, but it’s a bit weird that some people on it didn’t even know what was going on.

  • Fred

    I think Jason may be assuming he knows more that what he actually does. When landing in a crosswind, the upwind wheel is supposed to touch first. That’s what keeps the plane on the runway. Without any real knowledge of the situation, I still would assume that the pilots had the plane under full control at all times and knew exactly what they were doing. Planes can withstand an incredible amount of turbulence and what can seem like a rough landing is actually a superb “stick” landing, which requires a fair amount of piloting skill.

  • Mike Stein

    Did Brandon Weeden throw that plane from Cincy to Cleveland?

  • Natedawg86

    What would happen if an NFL team plane crashed and the whole team was in it? What would the NFL do? A new expansion draft?

  • Natedawg86

    NFL players can be such sissies sometimes

  • mgbode

    My window was open

    duuuuuude, cabin pressure. those windows aren’t made to open.

  • mgbode

    apparently, Brandon Magee would be our marquee player.

  • Robbie S

    Nope. They still landed in the right airport.


  • woofersus

    This is true, but it’s still pretty scary for the passengers. I had an adventure like that landing at CLE about 14 years ago in high winds and heavy snow squalls. Long story short, there was an hour of circling, TWO aborted landings resulting in go-arounds, g-forces the likes of which I have never since experienced in an airplane, (or roller coaster for that matter) a bone-jarring touchdown, and an uncomfortably long period of time with only one set of wheels down. I recognize today that there’s a fair chance that we were never really all that close to crashing, but if I knew I was in for that same experience again, I’d take the bus too.

  • Fern

    seems like the type of hypothetical worthy of being debated all day every day for 3-4 days in the middle of the week on ESPN. you might as well be a “journalist” for asking it and then suggesting an answer

  • Natedawg86

    Try landing in a warzone with all your combat gear and a loaded weapon(s)

  • Fred

    No doubt, some situations in airplanes can be intimidating. I just don’t like people making statements like “we got away with one…” or the like when its pretty clear he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Obviously, I’m an aviation enthusiast and don’t like the industry or pilots being (presumably) wrongly accused of being dangerous.

    With respect to the multiple go-arounds you experienced on your flight, kudos to the pilots for recognizing a safe landing was not assured and following the procedures. The go-around/missed approach is one of the safest maneuvers in aviation. Although it does raise many uncertainties in the minds of some passengers.

  • woofersus

    Yeah, the biggest incorrect assumption people make is that a smooth, uneventful landing is the result of skill, and coming down with a bang somehow indicates a less able pilot, when in fact the pilot is just bringing the plane down in the safest way possible in both cases. Sometimes that means bringing one set of wheels down first, and sometimes it means dropping it like it’s hot.

  • Jack Conn

    Get real Pal, he was talking about the window shade…..Geesh

  • Jared in LA

    If there was even a hint of terrible weather with such gusting winds, why didn’t they just take a 4 hour bus back home and not chance it?

  • mgbode

    I love the internet 🙂