Behind the scenes: What goes on in the flight deck during a rapid descent

Last week, Delta Air Lines Flight 2353 was on its way from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale when it experienced problems with the pressurisation system. The pilots descended the aircraft from its cruising altitude of 39,000 ft. down to 10,000 ft. in accordance with their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) before diverting to Tampa.

My colleague, Katherine Fan, explained beautifully why the use of words such as ‘plunge’ and ‘plummet’ by the mainstream media are neither accurate nor helpful in these situations. The aircraft performed what is known as a ‘rapid descent’ and you may be surprised to know that you probably have already experienced something similar before.

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