World countries don't hurry to take Ukrainian planes out of service, even after hard landing

Author : Der Spiegel

Source :

An-124 is the largest mass-produced transport aircraft in the world. In November, one of these huge machines made a hard landing in Siberia. Its consequences could be seen even from space
10:00, 9 December 2020


In general, the plane flew from Seoul to Vienna with 84 tons of South Korean spare parts on board. On the route of the An-124 of Volga-Dnepr Airlines, an intermediate landing was planned in Siberia for refueling.

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However, a tragedy struck: immediately after takeoff of flight VI-4066 on November 13 from Novosibirsk-Tolmachevo airport, the crew noticed that something was wrong with their car. At an altitude of 300 m, there was a hellish rumble in one of the two engines on the port side.

Fragments of the collapsed engine pierced the fuselage and wing of the largest transport aircraft in the world. Electric cables were cut, power supply to the entire aircraft was cut off. Not a single system in the cockpit, including the communication system with dispatchers, no longer worked. Nevertheless, the crew managed to release the landing gear again and return to the airport.

The photograph taken on November 28 by the Sentinel 2 satellite shows the result: a huge aircraft weighing 250 tons landed more or less gently, which testifies to the exceptional skill of the pilots. However, since the crew, led by Captain Evgeny Solovyov, could not turn on the thrust reversal mechanism for braking the car, it drove about 200 m outside the landing strip, as a result of which the chassis collapsed. The photo clearly shows the braking distance in the snow behind the landing strip.

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Use of tanks for emergency work

None of the 14 people on board were injured. Removing the aircraft with badly damaged wings and fuselage from the take-off field in a freezing winter was an extremely difficult logistical task. For this purpose, they even brought in two tanks. Whether the plane will ever be able to take to the sky again is not yet clear.

The investigation of the circumstances leading to the disaster is still ongoing. But the Volga-Dnepr company made a radical decision: until the cause of the accident is clarified, the entire An-124 fleet - eight vehicles – will remain on the ground. A total of 60 engines are to be surveyed. The company's management hopes that the audit can be carried out in a few weeks.

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Another airport, the same plane

Several Volga-Dnepr aircraft are regularly parked in Germany, at the Leipzig-Halle airport. One of the company's subsidiaries has a technical base there. Another image from the Sentinel satellite, this time from November 27, shows these liners standing on the site near the northern landing strip.

Christoph Seidler

Read the original text at Der Spiegel

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