Qantas Plane Flies Into Pitch Black Bushfire Cloud And Encounters Turbulence

A routine Qantas flight flew through some unusual weather caused by the bushfires raging across the continent. From inside the plane, passengers saw varied scenes out the window as the aircraft flew through the weather and encountered some turbulence. Thankfully, however, the safety of passengers and crew was not compromised and the aircraft landed without incident in Canberra.

Qantas Fire Cloud
A Qantas flight flew through a bushfire cloud that created a unique flying experience. Photo: Getty Images (left) & Hua Tuo/Facebook

What happened on this Qantas flight?

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports that a Qantas Boeing 737 flight from Melbourne to Canberra quickly became a lifetime memory for many passengers. As the flight was passing over some of the bushfires, the aircraft encountered a fire cloud. The view outside went, according to passengers, from a gray, cloudy sky to pitch black. And then, outside of some windows, the view was bright orange.

Outside the window
Some window passengers saw a bright orange view. Photo: Hua Tuo/Facebook

This occurred as the aircraft flew through a pyrocumulus cloud. These kinds of clouds are probably unfamiliar to most frequent fliers. Pyrocumulus clouds are formed from very strong fires that blow up puffy, smoky clouds into the sky. When flying through these kinds of clouds, passengers and crew could see a number of different colors outside of their windows– including black.

Pyrocumulus Cloud
Flying through a pyrocumulus cloud during a fire can be a harrowing experience for passengers inside the aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

Following the motto “better safe than sorry,” emergency crews met the Qantas aircraft upon arrival. However, despite the terrifying visuals in the cabin, the aircraft proceeded to land safely. There were no injuries to either passengers or crew. And, after landing, passengers reported that the captain greeted passengers and expressed concern for their wellbeing.

Qantas Boeing 737
The Qantas Boeing 737 landed safely in Canberra. Photo: Qantas

The Australian fires

One of the biggest stories starting off 2020 is the Australian fires. These fires have wreaked havoc for citizens, tourists, and have especially hit Australian wildlife with a devastating impact. The Australian government, however, is not giving up. Firefighters continue to battle the flames as best as they can. And, air support has even been called in to take on some of these raging fires.

Australia is also using firefighting aircraft to combat these devastating infernos. Photo: Getty Images

Passengers should monitor the status of their flights. Some airlines, like Qantas, have canceled a number of flights as a result of the fires. Until the fires have been extinguished, tourists should also be aware and plan their travels to Australia with an abundance of caution.


Flying through these kinds of weather phenomena can unease even the most seasoned of fliers. Unexpected weather changes can cause stress not just for passengers, but even for an expert flying crew. In this case, it appears that the Qantas pilots had the situation under control and were able to arrive safely in Canberra.

Were you onboard this flight? What was the experience like? Let us know in the comments!

Simple Flying reached out to Qantas for comment, however, had not received a response prior to publication.