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Pilot beats clock, Irma in daring airport escape

Pilot beats clock, Irma in daring airport escape
Posted at 6:03 PM, Sep 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-06 15:50:10-04

(RNN) - Timing was everything for the pilot of Delta Flight 431, which left New York's JFK Airport at 8:12 a.m. ET Wednesday to make it to San Juan, Puerto Rico, straight into the realm of the 185 mph winds of Category 5 Hurricane Irma, reports online flight tracking system, Flightaware

The plane, a Boeing 737-900, taxied for 27 minutes before taking off at 8:39 a.m. ET, Flightaware data shows. 

Aviation trackers chronicled the plane's perilous passage on social media. The weather radar maps they posted showed it all - the plane was seemingly headed right into the monster storm's path. 

But after the nearly four-hour flight, at the moment of landing, at 12:01 p.m. ET, winds registered at  just 12 mph, with gusts of 22 mph.

Even after the extraordinary landing, the pilot made a quick 40-minute turn, and the return flight, Delta 302, left San Juan 24 minutes early to make its way back to JFK, according to Flightaware.

Flight 302 reached Irma's outer bands, making its way out of danger just in time, and landing successfully at JFK at 4:22 p.m. ET.

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