Posted 12 сентября 2023,, 07:46

Published 12 сентября 2023,, 07:46

Modified 12 сентября 2023,, 08:07

Updated 12 сентября 2023,, 08:07

Expert on landing A320 in a wheat field: leaving for another airport could be a mistake

Expert on landing A320 in a wheat field: leaving for another airport could be a mistake

12 сентября 2023, 07:46
In Siberia, the board of the Ural Airlines Airbus A320 landed right on a field in the middle of the taiga. The 167 people on board are unharmed. We asked the expert what could have gone wrong on the plane or why it was necessary to change the airport of landing.

Alexander Dybin


A real miracle happened today, repeating the story of planting in corn in 2019. The Ural Airlines Airbus A320 was flying from Sochi to Omsk. On the approach to the house, the plane had a malfunction. According to the information that is now «hydraulics failed». It was decided not to sit in Omsk, and in Novosibirsk, which is 600 kilometers away. Before reaching the reserve airport 180 kilometers away, the plane had to be landed on a wheat field near the village of Kamenka. The board was just running out of fuel. There were 167 people on board, including crew members. They are all alive and well. They were taken to the local district center, where doctors examined them.

A hard landing of an airplane in a wheat field is a miracle, independent aviation expert Vadim Lukashevich believes.

«People were lucky, they were born in a shirt, and Ural Airlines apparently like to land in the fields,» the expert says, «I don't think pilots practice this — landing on the field. After all, their task is to bring the plane to the airport and land it on a normal surface. It's always safer than landing on the ground without knowing the site, what could be there: power lines, driftwood, something else. It's not visible from above. On the other hand, from a mechanical point of view, landing in the field is no different from landing on the runway.»


Why did you decide not to land in Omsk?


So far, there is very little official information about the incident. It is known that the board reported a malfunction on the approach to Omsk, then it was decided to change the airport to Novosibirsk. What kind of malfunction? Why fly 600 kilometers with a malfunction? A part of the negotiations with the dispatcher has already been leaked to the network, in which the pilot reported that «the hydraulics leaked out.» What does it mean? It is not clear which system failed. Why did they sit in the field? It was reported that the board simply ran out of fuel, and the pilot had no other option. Why is it over? Didn't top up or spent too much?

A post in a telegram channel close to the government of the Sverdlovsk region sheds some light on this.

«The flaps of the Airbus A320 did not open. The plane could not land in Omsk, because the local airport has too short a runway — there would not be enough space to brake without flaps. The plane was sent to Novosibirsk airport. During the flight, due to a strong headwind, fuel ran out on board, so the pilots decided to sit in a field 400 kilometers from Omsk. Everything went well. The crew will be awarded,» the message reads.

Another version of why the board was sent from Omsk to Novosibirsk is mercantile. Allegedly, the airfield in Omsk is not large and an emergency plane would have blocked the runway, paralyzing the operation of the air harbor. This version was voiced by the Mash edition.

Aviation expert Vadim Lukashevich believes that changing the landing airport could be a mistake, it would be safer to land in Omsk.

«I'll make a reservation right away, nothing is clear yet and there is no clear information,» says the interlocutor of Novye Izvestia, «but based on what has already been announced, I note that it would probably be safer to stay in Omsk. This is a normal airport with all the services that could provide security. Even going outside the GDP is not as dangerous as landing in a field. After the hard coating, there is a ground area. If the aircraft did not have a landing gear, the strip could be foamed to reduce friction, it would sit down the same way as in the field, but under the control of emergency services. Yes, Tolmachevo is a good airport, it was a backup for the Buran landing and will withstand everything. But it turned out that they did not reach him. People survived, it's a miracle. But it is important to understand who made the decision to leave for the alternate airport. This could be done by both the aircraft commander and the dispatcher on the ground. This is an interesting question. In my opinion, it was more expedient to fly over Omsk, for an hour or two, as long as it takes to develop fuel and reduce the weight of the aircraft, and land on a normal runway.»

The fate of the plane is not clear

People are already being sent in small batches to Omsk. But the Airbus A320, apparently, registered in the taiga for a long time. He sat down next to the village of Kamenka in the Ubinsky district. Only 5,000 people live in the district center — Ubino. When the Ural Airlines board urgently boarded near Moscow, over time the plane was sawn and taken away for disposal. What will happen to this plane is not yet clear.

«Is there even an opportunity to take it out and dispose of it, and how appropriate it is considering the Siberian distances,» Pavel Lukashevich argues.


This has already happened

The history of Russian aviation already knows two cases of miraculous rescue of people during a hard landing. In 2019, a plane of the same Ural Airlines company landed in a cornfield after hitting birds in the engine.

And in 2010, an Alrosa Tu-154M flying on the Udachny—Moscow route successfully landed at the closed airport of the village of Izhma. There was a complete loss of power supply on board, navigation and the electric drive of the fuel pumps were turned off. It was impossible to fly to the nearest airport, the pilot decided to land on the Izhma River, was looking for a suitable site without bends, when he accidentally saw the runway of the airport of the same name, which had not been operated for several years. Then it was decided to get on the lane, which was successfully done.

In both cases, the pilots received the title of Heroes of Russia.