Video: Kenya Airways pilots skillfully land planes in Europe amid raging Storm Eunice

Two Kenyan pilots have made the country proud after successfully completing trips to Europe – landing planes in airports amid the raging Storm Eunice.

Kenya Airways Captain Ruth Karauri on Friday, February 18 employed her school training to execute a near-perfect cross-landing at London’s Heathrow Airport. Flying a KQ Boeing 787 on Friday, Karauri managed to steer the plane onto the runway at 4:01 pm as Storm Eunice raged at speeds over 70 Knots

Speaking in a video clip released this morning, Karauri said she encountered Storm Eunice at Heathrow Airport but was able to steer the plane to the runway – through the training she had received from the airline.

"This is Captain Ruth Karauri of the now-famous KQ100 at London Heathrow. With me is my first officer of the day, Ayoob Harunany. We had the pleasure of encountering storm Eunice at London Heathrow yesterday. We were landing on the Westerly Runway into Heathrow.

"The flight conditions were strong gusting winds and it was quite a bumpy ride. However, thanks to the training we have had at Kenya Airways, particularly in the simulator, prepared us for such a scenario. We used all our training expertise and skills that we have managed to learn over the years at Kenya Airways and we handled the learning expertly," said an elated Karauri.

A retired senior KQ pilot explained why Capt. Karauri's landing at Heathrow was quite a challenge.

“The normal cross-wind landing speed for big jets is 33 Knots. When it is 70 or more Knots, it means you are flying at the maximum crosswind landing speed, which is tricky because you are landing not facing the runway,” he says, adding the tricky part, mostly referred to as the Technique, is keeping the plane straight once it lands.

Passengers were all praises for Cpt. Karauri, who is the wife of former pilot Ronald Karauri, now a businessman and SportPesa CEO.  Mr Karauri has also declared interest in the Kasarani parliamentary seat.

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge, was among the first Kenyans to appreciate Cpt. Karauri on social media. He also lauded Captain Clive Nyachieo, who also made a successful landing at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. 

In a video shared on Youtube by Airport Arrivals, the Boeing 787 is seen slowly balancing its way through the heavy wind before slowly cross landing on the runway.

"You’ve seen the videos of planes struggling to land at LHR yesterday with #StormEunice. The exception was KQ’s Capt. Ruth Karauri who landed the 787 like a boss! Congrats Captain, and F/O Ayoob Harunany. Please cue in “The Best” by Tina Turner,” posted Njoroge.

UK High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriot also applauded Cpt. Karauri for landing the plane amid the raging Strom Eunice.

"Hongera Capt. Ruth Karauri on the successful landing in Storm Eunice," tweeted Marriot.

Storm Eunice facts:

  • It is the fifth named weather storm of the season, in the United Kingdom, after Arwen, Barra.
  • 10 fatalities across the UK and parts of western Europe so far
  • Wind speeds as high as 122 miles per hour (mph)