Gimli Glider: Air Canada Flight 143 Ran Out of Fuel at 41,000 Feet -Here’s What Happened Next

Air Canada Flight 143 was a Canadian scheduled domestic passenger flight between Montreal and Edmonton that ran out of fuel on July 23, 1983, at an altitude of 41,000 feet (12,000 m), midway through the flight.

Here’s What Happened Next


कमज़ोर दिल वाले ना देखें | An Airplane ran Out of Fuel at 41,000 Feet. What Happened Next | Gimli


The crew was able to glide the Boeing 767 aircraft safely to an emergency landing at a former Royal Canadian Air Force base in Gimli, Manitoba that had been turned into a motor racing track. This unusual aviation incident earned the aircraft the nickname “Gimli Glider”.

The subsequent investigation revealed that a combination of company failures, human errors, and confusion over unit measures had led to the aircraft being refueled with insufficient fuel for the planned flight.

Metric mix-up

The Boeing 767 was the first metric plane to fly in Canada. The Fuel Quantity Information System computer on Flight 143 was malfunctioning, so ground crew in Montreal loaded the fuel manually using calculations involving the specific gravity of jet fuel.

But the factor they used was 1.77 pounds/liter, not the all-metric 0.8 kg/liter required for the new 767. The plane had half the fuel it needed to reach Edmonton.

The plane began to run out of gas near Red Lake, Ont., 225 kilometers from Gimli.

The pilot, Capt. Robert Pearson was an experienced glider pilot (he co-owned a Blanik L-13 sailplane). First Officer Maurice Quintal had once been stationed at the Royal Canadian Air Force base at Gimli and was familiar with the landing strips.

At the time of the landing, the airfield was filled with people having a picnic and watching Go-Kart races on a runway that had turned into a racetrack after it was decommissioned. No one on the plane or on the ground was injured.

“The experience of these two pilots to bring that airplane in was nothing short of a miracle,” Munro said.

Barbara Gluck, president of the Gimli Glider Museum, says the story deserves to be a movie because the crew’s actions paved the way for another miraculous plane landing that later became a movie.

In what is now known as “The Miracle on the Hudson,” Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberg III successfully landed U.S. Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in New York City in January 2009 after the plane’s engines lost power following a collision with a flock of Canada geese.

The events surrounding the landing were eventually made into the 2016 movie “Sully,” starring Tom Hanks.

Gluck says the smooth landing would have never happened without the Gimli Glider.

“What (Sullenberg) learned after here in Gimli allowed him to perform what he did on the Hudson River,” she said.

The Gimli Glider landing has been immortalized in a museum, in books, documentaries and a made-for-TV movie, but it couldn’t get the Hollywood treatment without a little romance, and that’s exactly what the story got.

During a 30th reunion of the landing, Pearson met and fell in love with a passenger on the flight, Pearl Dion. They now live together near Ottawa.

“I thanked him many times for saving my life, saving our lives,” Dion said. “It just made for a really good match.”


Gimli Glider: Air Canada Flight 143 Ran Out of Fuel at 41,000 Feet -Here's What Happened Next
Gimli Glider: Air Canada Flight 143 Ran Out of Fuel at 41,000 Feet -Here’s What Happened Next


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