"Is this the way I'm going to die?"
That's what an Edmonton man wondered when he heard a bang and saw smoke outside his window as his plane took off from Madrid Monday.
Air Canada flight 837 had to circle around the Spanish capital for approximately four hours to burn fuel after part of its landing equipment exploded and got into the engine.
The plane eventually landed safely, but there were tense and uncertain moments where Aaron Cooper feared for his life.
"As soon as we took off, there was the massive bang," Aaron Cooper told CTV News Edmonton. "I was looking out my window and saw the flames from the engine and smoke.
"That's when you had that thought, 'Are we going down? Is this how it ends for me?'"
Cooper, who was flying with his parents, described the next few minutes as eerie. He didn’t know whether anyone else was aware of the plane issues until the captain made an announcement about 15 minutes later.
"He told us, 'Keep calm,'" said Cooper. "He had said we had lost a tire but not to worry because we had more tires, so he was great," Cooper said. "He kept everybody fairly calm."
During the next few hours, Cooper posted photos and videos to his Twitter. At one point, a fighter jet flew right next to the Air Canada plane to assess the damage.
February 3, 2020
"You don't see that every day," Cooper said, who despite the scary experience, said he still loves flying.
Cooper's father had a different and more relaxed reaction to the unexpected events. While his son worried and then documented everything online, his father … slept.
"My dad can kind of sleep anywhere, so he took a number of naps during this whole thing," Cooper said. "I think he was actually sleeping as we were about to land, so he was taking it pretty well."
He says the plane was shaking "fairly violently" as it landed, but passengers broke into applause as soon as it touched the ground.
February 3, 2020
Cooper was supposed to return to Edmonton Tuesday, but his KLM plane from Amsterdam to Calgary had mechanical difficulties, making it another less than ideal, although less scary, travel day.