Is This The Most Dangerous Takeoff Ever Captured On Video?
Here’s a UTAir Antonov An-24 taking off from what can best be described as a swamp in the central Russian town of Bodaybo. No, it’s not a flying boat version of the An-24, you’ll see the wheels emerge from the muck in a moment.
Okay, it is actually a runway, but we’re not sure how it fell to that condition. A glance at the map shows that Bodaybo’s airport is on the banks of the Vitim River, so perhaps it was the result of a flood.
In any case, we realize the engines and wheels on these old Russian planes were built to plow through just about anything within reason and even slightly beyond reason, but these pilots throw reason out the window and keep rolling.
Sure, the control surfaces on these planes are powered by brute force and not sensitive electronics, but this much mud can still clog sensitive pitot tubes and jam up even the most well-oiled hydraulics. Not to mention the lift-killing effect that mud could have on the wings, just like ice.
This video emerged a couple of days ago, but we’re not sure when it was shot. UTAir’s fleet does not currently list any An-24′s, so it may be a few years old, or maybe the plane was sold and flown without being repainted.
UPDATE: First off, we’ve been directed to a video shot from onboard the plane that not only shows how sloppy this thing is, but confirms the plane wasn’t empty and that it almost skidded off the runway.
Second, a pilot friend of ours with some muddy field experience points out that mud on the wings does not have the same effect as ice, but it’s still not good. While ice will both reduce lift and increase aerodynamic drag, mud splattered on the bottom of the wing would only increase drag. Depending on how much mud, it could decrease climb performance by 1/4 to 1/3.