Watch: Pilot lands 394-ton A380 sideways as Storm Dennis rages

An Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger plane, was forced to make a spectacular “crab” landing at the weekend amid fiercely strong winds at London’s Heathrow Airport.

The name is derived from the manner in which crabs move sideways across the beach. In similar fashion, the Etihad Airways jet approached the runway at an angle to cope with strong crosswinds.

Having struggled to make contact with the ground, the aircraft then veered slowly off the tarmac before coming to rest.

The plane, which had flown from Abu Dhabi, landed at London’s main airport on Saturday when dozens of flights were grounded due to winds of up to 68 kph.

The footage shows the plane appearing to hang in the air as it comes in. Immediately prior to touching down, its tail swings round as it hovers over the runway. The aircraft touches down pointing to the left before continuing its sideways manoeuvre.

The two Etihad pilots have been praised on social media for their handling of the plane, which has a maximum landing weight of 394 tons.