Squeeze film dampers (SFDs) are common in aircraft gas turbine engines, customized to provide a desired level of damping while also ensuring structural isolation. This paper presents measurements obtained in a test rig composed of a massive cartridge, an elastic structure, and an open-ends SFD with length L = 25.4 mm, diameter D = 127 mm, and radial clearance c = 0.267 mm. ISO VG 2 oil at room temperature lubricates the thin film. The measurements quantify the system transient response to sudden loads for motions departing from various static eccentricity displacements, es/c = 0–0.6. The batch of tests include recording the system response to (a) one single impact, (b) two (and three) impacts with an elapsed time of 30 ms in between, and (c) two or more consecutive impacts, without any delay, each with a load magnitude at 50% of the preceding impact. The load actions intend to reproduce, for example, a hard landing on an uneven surface or plunging motions from sudden contacts in a machine tool. The test system transient responses due to one or more impacts, each 30 ms apart, show the peak amplitude of motion (ZMAX) is proportional to the magnitude of applied load (FMAX). The identified system damping ratio (ξ) is proportional to the peak dynamic displacement as a linear system would show. Predictions of transient response from a physical SFD model accounting for fluid inertia correlate best with the experimental results as they produce greatly reduced peak dynamic motions when compared to predictions from a purely viscous SFD model. For the responses due to consecutive impacts, one after the other with no delay, the system motion does not decay immediately but builds to produce larger motion amplitudes than in the earlier cases. Eventually, as expected, after several oscillations, the system comes to rest. For an identical damper having a smaller clearance cs = 0.213 mm (0.8c), its damping ratio (ξs) is ∼1.3 to ∼1.7 times greater than the damping ratio for the damper with a larger film clearance (ξ). Hence, the experimentally derived (ξs/ξ) scales with (c/cs)2. The finding demonstrates the importance of manufacturing precisely the components in a damper to produce an accurate clearance.