Landed A321 gear up in Cornfield
After both engines flamed out by ingesting flock of gulls
Putin awards Pilot Hero of Russia medal
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday awarded the nation’s highest medal, Герой Российской Федерации (the Hero of Russia medal), to the pilot who managed to smoothly land his disabled passenger plane in a cornfield after a flock of birds hit both engines and knocked them out.
The experienced captain, 41-year-old Damir Yusupov, said Friday that a quick landing was his only chance and he was not afraid of handling it. He said he had hoped to circle the airport and land normally when one engine shut down due to the bird strike moments after taking off from Moscow’s Zhukovsky Airport (ZIA) (Аэропорт Раменское, Аэропорт). But then his second engine cut off moments later, leaving him no choice.
He landed his Ural Airlines A321 so gently in the head-high corn that just one of the 233 people on board was hospitalized.
People all across Russian have hailed Yusupov as a hero — the accolades he said were embarrassing.
“It feels odd and I’m shy,” he said.
Putin also awarded the Hero of Russia to the plane’s second pilot, 23-year-old Georgy Murzin and bestowed other top awards on the plane’s cabin crew.
LANDING GEAR—from a variety of reports—
“Engine power was not enough to continue the flight, even to maintain the altitude that we had occupied by that time.
“The height was not significant. Initially, there was a decision to turn around, land the plane, but when I saw that the second engine also failed.
“There was little time. But when they saw that the second engine was also failing, I had a decision – to land the plane just in front of me.
According to several technical reports, the AIRBUS A321 SOP for an emergency is to lower the landing gear. (А321 commander landed aircraft without landing gear thus violating Airbus instructions). One explanation why the crew did not follow those directions was that at the low altitude, they did not have the time to complete the procedure.
Another expert Konstantin Onokhin said that by not lowering the wheels the pilot had lowered the risk of fire which could have destroyed the aircraft as happened in May at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport when a Sukhoi Superjet 100 crash landed in flames killing 41 of the 78 on board.
He said: ‘The field might be uneven, with ditches, trenches, and holes. Landing gear can get trapped in such a ditch, leading to what happened at Sheremetyevo. The struts flies off, parts of the wing break, fuel tanks break through, kerosene flows out and the plane burns.
‘Here, the corn played the role of lubrication, the plane rolled as much as it could by inertia. The captain has the right to safely complete the flight by whatever means he can.’
‘After the evacuation of passengers I got out, went around the plane, examined the external damage, made sure that everything was at a safe distance. I returned to the cockpit and from there called my wife.
Russia’s Federal Inspection Service for Natural Resources Use confirmed on Thursday that a waste sorting station and an “illegal” landfill are located less than 2 kilometers from Zhukovsky’s runway.
A flock of birds was “discovered after all” near the waste sorting station, the Moscow region’s top environmental official told Interfax on Friday. No birds were found at the illegal landfill nor at the facility 14 kilometers away from Zhukovsky airport, the official, Dmitry Kurakin, said.
The Federal Inspection Service and Moscow region-based authorities plan to inspect the landfills near the airport on Friday, Interfax reported.
The illegal landfill’s operator has previously been fined for violating environmental standards, then fined for failing to comply with orders to close it.
Authorities had inspected complaints of landfills attracting birds to areas near the airport a month before the crash-landing, Yevgeny Solodin, a senior executive with the airport’s operating company, told the state-run Rossia 24 television channel.
Bird strikes occur 10 times more often in Russia than in Europe, the head of Russia’s fifth-largest airline Utair told the Vedomosti business daily in the wake of the incident. Federal Air Transportation Agency data shows that Russia had twice as many bird strikes as the U.S. in 2017.
Zhukovsky International Airport has the second-longest runway in the world (5,402 m)
Landing an A321 in a cornfield and an Airbus A320 in the Hudson are both difficult, but Vladimir Putin awarded the Ural Pilot the Hero of Russia medal!!! Harder challenge or different threshold?
 Recent winners include–Athlete Larisa Lazutina was presented with the title for various medals won at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano; Alexander Karelin was awarded for his recognition as the greatest wrestler of all time; Arktika 2007 expedition members Anatoly Sagalevich, Yevgeny Chernyaev and Artur Chilingarov, Weapons designer Mikhail T. Kalashnikov, designer of the AK-47 assault rifle
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