Thursday, October 25, 2012

I'm glad I wasn't on this flight!

I've flown from unprepared and semi-prepared airfields in many African nations, including some that would make a regular commercial pilot blench.  (Alaskan bush pilots will understand what I mean, particularly because many of them fly as bush pilots in Africa during the Alaskan off-season.)  However, I have never, repeat, never seen an aircraft take off in conditions like this!  This footage is of a Russian Antonov An-24 twin-turboprop transport operated by UTAir.  I'm not sure where it was taken - presumably somewhere in Russia.  (Watch it in full-screen mode, if possible.)

I still can't figure out how it managed to overcome the drag from the mud and take off successfully!  Note, too, the very shallow climb after takeoff.  I think that either the plane's engines had ingested mud and were very down on power, or it was severely overloaded!  (I suspect the latter.)



Murphy's Law said...

Yeah, it was all he could do to get off the ground. I'd suspect a heavy load, but he'll sure want to clean his air filter screens ASAP.

Anonymous said...

From the look of the terrain, altitude may also have been a factor.

Anonymous said...

Note all the mud splashed up on the aft fuselage.
Very sloppy runway, but a runway, and a long one; would like a close-up of the surface all rutted-up or reasonably smooth (suspect the latter.) First flight out after the thaw, with frost still supporting the ground an inch or two down?

Rev. Paul said...

"Too thick to drink, and too thin to plow" was the way our pilots described the many Pacific islands during WWII. I suspect many a bomber took off under similar conditions, back then, before the Seabees could get things improved.

Dirk said...

Peter, I suspect your extra weight would probably have prevented that plane from taking off at all!

Old NFO said...

Mud/water ingestion in both engines, over weight, high altitude... Lucky they weren't a smokin hole at the end of the runway!