On December 31, 1988, a passenger airliner heading from Kaliningrad, Russia, to Odessa, Ukraine, made for a landing in the destination airport. New Year in Russia is a big deal. And this might have been the reason for what happened on that day with the Tu-134 flight.
The weather forecast for the day was not one that would make you overjoyed: it was overcast and stormy, with strong winds and low visibility. The cabin crew knew all this: they were warned of the conditions in advance. All systems were working fine, the airplane was cruising to its place of destination. The problems began when permission to descend was given. The speed at which the aircraft descended was way too high…
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Crew ignores the warning messages 1:08
… and makes a crucial mistake 1:53
The record of landing speed 3:57
Boeing-737 on a busy street 4:46
“Well, there goes my career” 8:42
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– The pilots received the first warning message at the altitude of 24,600 ft (7,500 m) but the crew deliberately ignored it. As it turned out later, the first pilot was sure everything was alright, and he could land the plane anyway.
– The pilots decided to fly directly to the runway despite the high speed. That was a crucial error, as it turned out. The speed of the plane was about 280 mph (450 kph), which is much faster than the recommended — and safe — landing speed of 205 mph (330 kph).
– Anyway, the most surprising thing about the situation was that none of this was connected with any troubles on board the airplane. Everything was working perfectly fine, no emergencies arose, literally nothing was wrong… except the crew’s decisions.
– The plane stormed on through the runway and onto the end safety area, only to come to a halt just 5 ft (1.5 m) before touching the naked ground.
– As a result, no one was hurt on board, but it was pure luck. The landing was not smooth in the least, and the passengers were frightened, but, fortunately, everything turned out well.
– As for the plane itself, it continued to fly with different airlines for many more years — after all, it was a good plane, and the incident wasn’t its fault.
– The Tu-134 incident wasn’t the only one like that, though, and it wasn’t the most epic one either. For example, there was a Boeing-737 that overran the end of the runway and ended up on a busy street!
– The flight captain acknowledged the instructions and did exactly as he was told. Well, who can blame him for that, right? Just following orders. But what happened next went so wrong that he couldn’t even explain his actions later.
– When they didn’t receive the verbal command to slow down, they simply proceeded at the same speed they had been cruising the whole way.
– Later, he couldn’t even explain why. As for the first officer, he said that he knew they weren’t about to land safely but believed the captain was taking steps to avoid a crash.
– Eventually, the airplane crashed into the metal fence and an airport perimeter wall, tearing through both, and finally came to a halt right in the middle of Hollywood Way, a busy four-lane city street.
– Several months later, both the captain and the first officer of Flight 1455 were fired because of the accident. And the plane, as it turned out, sustained too much damage and was later scrapped.
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