THE MOST INCREDIBLE LANDING THAT A PILOT HAS EVER MADE

The former head of the helipad operations who for 12 years whilst acting on his own initiative, purposefully and knowingly made sure that the runway was free of debris, foreign objects, and that shrubs did not grow.

On 7 September 2010, a Russian Tu-154 passenger aircraft operated by Alrosa Airlines was performing a regular passenger flight YM516 from Polarny (Yakutia) to Domodedovo (Moscow), when en route the crew had to perform the emergency landing procedure at Izhma airstrip 3.5 hours after take-off due to total power loss and which resulted in the shutdown of the on-board navigation systems. The fuel pumps’ electric drive also shut down, which meant that it was impossible to reach the destination airport or any other suitable alternate airfield.

The crew made a forced landing by using a manual and visual control process at the former Izhma Airport (Komi Republic) on a runway that had long been decommissioned and was initially unsuitable for this type of aircraft, without lighting equipment, radio beacon navigation, or communication stations.

The successful landing was made possible in many ways because the runway was being maintained in a satisfactory condition by Sergei Sotnikov, the former head of the helipad operations who for 12 years whilst acting on his own initiative, purposefully and knowingly made sure that the runway was free of debris, foreign objects and that shrubs did not grow. After landing, the aircraft rolled off the runway into the thickets. There were 81 people on board (9 crew members and 72 passengers), and none of whom were injured. The plane sustained minor damage and was subsequently repaired and brought back into service.

History Writer, WWII