Halloween special: Top 5 scariest aviation close calls
Over the years, aviation has evolved into unseen comfort. Newest interior modifications, including lay-flat seats and interior lighting modifications, have allowed passengers to stay as calm as cucumbers during their journeys throughout the world. Yet sometimes, the calm journeys could have turned for worse.
But either by sheer luck or incredible airmanship demonstrated by the pilots, everyone on board could, later on, tell the horror tale of the flight.
5. A corny Ural Airlines Flight 178
On August 15, 2019, Ural Airlines Airbus A321, carrying 233 people on board (226 passengers and seven crew members) departed from Zhukovsky International Airport (ZIA) in Moscow, Russia towards Simferopol International Airport (SIP) in Ukraine, when shortly after take-off, the two CFM-made engines consumed birds simultaneously. After losing power on both engines and finding themselves at low altitude, the flight crew had no other option but to land ahead – fortunately, a cornfield, situated about 1.8 miles from Zhukovsky was flat enough for the crew to land safely without any power on their engines at all.
After the crash, 29 passengers were taken to the hospital, while more than 50 people received immediate attention at the site.
The aircraft was broken up on-site, as it was damaged beyond repair.
Picture: Dmitry Serebryakov
4. Miracle on the... Neva?
That sentence is correct! In 1963, much much earlier than the Miracle on the Hudson, a Tupolev Tu-124 landed in a river in the city of Leningrad, now known as St. Petersburg.
The Tu-124, nicknamed “Squeezed Tu-104”, departed from Tallinn Airport (TLL) towards Vnukovo Airport in Moscow (VKO). Immediately after take-off, the flight crew encountered severe issues with the aircraft – its landing gear would not retract fully, stuck at the half-way point. While the pilots requested to divert back to Tallinn, permission was denied due to heavy fog that had descended upon the airport, so the crew chose to fly to St. Petersburg and land at Pulkovo Airport (LED).
Before attempting to land on one of the unpaved runways at the airport, the flight crew had to dump fuel to reduce the weight on board. Yet the unfortunate chain of events continued – the gauges on board were not working properly, thus the Aeroflot Tu-124 carried much less fuel than pilots and the flight engineer anticipated.
As the engines died out, the captain decided the only option was to attempt a landing in the Neva, a river running through St. Petersburg. The aircraft landed successfully and incredibly, with the help of a tugboat, made its way back to shore – reportedly, no passengers sustained any injuries in the Miracle on the Neva.
3. Miracle on the Hudson!
In very similar circumstances to the Ural Airlines Flight 178, a US Airways Airbus A320 departed from New York-LaGuardia Airport (LGA) towards Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) in North Carolina on January 15, 2009. What began as a fairly normal flight, turned out to become one of the flights to be ingrained in aviation history forever.
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