Is This The Most Dangerous Takeoff Ever Captured On Video?

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(Editor’s note: continuing with today’s theme of showboating pilots, our Throwback Thursday article this week takes a look at an incredibly dangerous and ill-advised (to put it mildly) takeoff from a flooded runway in Russia. It was originally published two years ago on October 24, 2012.)

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.

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  • How about from INSIDE that airplane


    • LOL that reminds me of the redneck olympics/truck mud pit, “If the mud ain’t flying, you ain’t trying”!

  • mE.!

    Strange…. Going inside the plane seems to have made all the snow melt.

    • dev*

      indeed, clearly not the same flight.

  • sean_milller

    Most Antonov An-24 planes were decommissioned in the 1980’s because of them being to loud for modern day airports. The
    biggest illegal gun runner in the world Viktor Bout took this
    opportunity to buy them up in bulk and the factories that made extra
    parts for these planes. He has used them ever since the 1980’s because
    of there abilities to land on anyhting including dirt roads. A movie
    based on the true story “Lord Of War” (2005) was made starring Nicolas
    Cage and also a book about him. Viktor has been known for his notorious
    landings and take offs, Sometimes crashing the planes in the process
    due to hasty landings to escape radar or because of overloading them
    with the weight of ammunition and guns. Viktor is from Russia. After
    studying viktor for years, this take off seems like one of his stunts.
    #1) Its a Antonov An-24 #2) Viktor always fakes his planes names, the article states “UTAir’s fleet does not currently list any An-24′s” which means it was faked. Just some food for thought.

  • sonero

    UTAir lists 19 An-24 planes on its feet: http://www.utair.ru/en/aircrafts/index.html. But it doesn’t fly to Bodaybo.

  • I just came across this video, landed at this airport about a week ago, it is a dirt strip and during the spring season the Ice and snow melts leaving a “slush” and contary to statements below, this could be the real thing as our landing was quite muddy.

    Further this route is serviced from the regional City being Irkutsk by two airlines both of them using AN 24’s on a daily basis being IrAero. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IrAero and Angara http://www.angara.aero