Loud accidents at landing: a sudden shortage of fuel and unlucky invaders

Well-known case of the Airbus A320, which, when departing from La Guardia (New York) on January 15, 2009 crashed into a flock of birds and lost the traction of both engines. Then the crew decided to plan for the Hudson River – all 155 people who were on board survived. But this is by no means the only incident in which a civilian liner was forced to board the water.

Unsuccessful grip and forced induction

The Boeing 767 model was the target of terrorists three times, and in all cases there were great sacrifices. On September 11, 2001, criminals sent both 767s to the towers of the World Trade Center (more than two thousand people were killed). By the number of victims this incident surpassed the 1996 seizure. Then Boeing 767 Ethiopian Airlines was carrying out flight ET961: from Mumbai, was traveling along a long route with an end point in Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire). On board there were 175 people, including the crew and, as it turns out after the departure from Addis Ababa (the second destination of the flight), three terrorists.

Events developed swiftly: twenty minutes after the separation from the ground, one passenger ran towards the cab with shouting “Everybody stay in the field, I have a bomb!”. Two more followed him. Invaders managed to open the door to the cockpit. They drove the copilot out of the cab and told the commander that there were eleven hijackers. The terrorists armed themselves with a fire extinguisher and a fire ax, which they found in the cabin. The commander of the aircraft was ordered to fly to Australia.

The pilot explained that the aircraft needs refueling – there is not enough to overcome such a long distance of the fuel. The terrorists considered that in this way the pilot wants to deceive them: if the airliner is on the ground, the special forces would take the ship by storm. The invaders deducted in the Ethiopian magazine Selamta that the Boeing 767 is capable of flying without refueling 11 hours. The figure is real, but subject to full refueling. And since the route ET961 assumed several landings, the fuel was not poured into the airliner under the string so that it could safely land at each of the destination airports.

The commander showed the hijackers a fuel level indicator – the mark was well below the maximum. The hijackers were not persuaded by this: they threatened that if they did not fly to Australia, they would blow up the plane. There was no choice for the FAC. Arrangements for the land also failed: the invaders refused to listen to the dispatcher who recommended refueling in Mombasa (Kenya).

According to the report, the terrorists were attached to whiskey. Intoxication led to even greater recklessness: they were not even bothered by the low fuel level alarm. When the hijackers were distracted, the commander managed to warn passengers that one engine had already refused and the aircraft was likely to be broken. Soon the second engine stopped. Drunken hijackers threatened the pilot with murder if he starts to descend, to which he replied: “I am already dead, because I’m flying on an airplane without engines . ” Meanwhile, the co-pilot, along with the stewardesses, explained to the passengers how to properly put on a life jacket and prepare for the splashdown. By this time the liner was about half a kilometer from the Comoros.

Flinders of flight ET961. Image:

The commander, despite the threats, began to decline gently. Landing did not go smoothly: the left wing caught the water surface, the ship collapsed on its side and collapsed. The victims were 125 people, including three hijackers. Forty-six passengers managed to survive, including the commander and the second pilot. The moment of the crash hit the video:

Kilograms, liters, pounds

A more successful outcome was at Flight 143 Air Canada Montreal – Ottawa – Edmonton in 1983. An anecdotal error could lead to the death of 69 people and the loss of another Boeing 767. The fact is that due to the transition of Canada from the British system of measures to the metric in the liner about four times less fuel was poured than was needed.

The system was simple: landing on refueling in Ottawa, the crew checked using the float method how much fuel is in the tanks. This method was used in the event of a malfunction of the fuel quantity display system – it was jamming on this 767th, but the plane continued to be operated. The pilots gained importance in liters. Further, it was required to be converted into kilograms, and then this number is subtracted from the mass of fuel needed to fly from Ottawa to Edmonton. The result of the calculations, the ground services were preparing to pour into the tanks.

The crew had to make calculations on the basis that the liter of aviation fuel weighs 0.8 kg. But instead, the pilots, out of habit, used a coefficient of 1.77, which was used in the English system of measures. They gave the ground services the result of incorrect calculations, and they flooded as much fuel as they were told. No one suspected a mistake.

Already during the flight from Ottawa to Edmonton, the pilots received a warning about the low fuel pressure in the first engine. After a couple of seconds, the same alarm signaled the same problem with the second engine. Soon they refused. The plane began to plan.

Successful landing helped the enthusiasm of the commander of the crew – he flew on the gliders and understood the features of planning, even the dimensions of the Boeing 767 and not comparable to the tiny boats without engines. Nearby was the former military base of Gimli. On that day on the runway, motor racing was held. The crew decided to sit there. The front landing gear of the chassis was not fixed in the released position and was formed after the touch, the aircraft slid on the path with his nose. The liner stopped a couple of dozen meters from the audience. There were no casualties.


A similar case occurred in the summer of 2001 with Airbus A330 of another Canadian airline – Air Transat. The plane was heading from Toronto to Lisbon. Over the Atlantic Ocean, due to a mistake in the maintenance of the liner, there was a fuel leak, but the crew did not realize it right away – they blamed the sensors for malfunctions. Fuel quickly ended hundreds of kilometers to the nearest land, suitable for landing a large aircraft. The vessel with 306 people on board was about 130 kilometers from the airbase in the Azores, when both engines stopped. The crew was able to pull the liner with the failed systems to the runway. The people on board and the plane remained intact.

Cleaned the strip just like this

The desire for the order of the helipad head at the airport of Izhma (Komi Republic) ultimately saved 81 lives. Sergei Sotnikov cleaned the runway 12 years after closing the airport, although, in general, this did not apply to his duties. It was this runway that became a straw for people on board the Tu-154M.

A Soviet-liner flew from the town of Udachny (Yakutia) to the Russian capital on September 7, 2010 – exactly one year before the death of the Yaroslavl’s Lokomotiv team in a plane crash. After 3.5 hours of flight, the ship refused all electronics – as it turns out later, due to a short circuit in the batteries. At the same time, the pumps that pumped fuel were refused. The crew had to look visually, without navigational systems, to search for suitable territory for landing. The situation was aggravated by cloudy weather. The pilots were lucky: they noticed the runway of the abandoned airport in Izhma. She wastoo short for the Tu-154M (1325 meters, while it takes about two kilometers), besides because of the failure of electronics failed to release the speed-reducing flaps and slats. But the crew did not have any choice.

Tu-154M stopped in the middle of a small forest. Image:

The pilots landed the plane three times. As expected, the strip was not enough – the liner rolled out about 164 meters beyond its limits and plowed the land to the forest, leaning against the trees. If the runway is littered in 12 years, the outcome of the situation would be deplorable, but this time the people were lucky: everyone was alive. Members of the crew and not indifferent to the surrounding reality Sergei Sotnikov presented to state awards.

You can also recall the unsuccessful landing of the South Korean Boeing 777 in San Francisco (3 dead, 187 survivors), his brother from British Airways, who did not reach the Heathrow strip due to engines failure (all 152 survived),>suspended in Turkey on the slope before Sea Boeing 737 (168 people on board, all survived) and many other incidents. All these cases – one of the most complex landings, which ended, with a number of reservations, successfully. Against the background of the total number of flights performed, such incidents amount to a meager amount. And this should not be forgotten.

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