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Imagine flying on an airplane when it becomes clear that something isn’t quite right. Perhaps the plane lurches, or maybe you start smelling smoke. The captain comes on the public address system to announce that the plane is making an emergency landing.

What happens next? What options do pilots have, and what procedures must they follow when making an emergency landing? And what might prompt a pilot to make this call? According to Capt. Jack Netskar, president of the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations, there are a number of circumstances that can necessitate an emergency landing.

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