Alrosa Mirny Air Enterprise Tupolev TU-154M (RA-85684) sits in the mud outside a small, closed, regional airport.

Alrosa Mirny Air Enterprise Tupolev TU-154M (RA-85684) sits in the mud outside a small, closed, regional airport.

On September 7, 2010 a Alrosa Mirny Air Enterprise Tupolev TU-154M (registration number RA-85684), took off from Udachny Russia, heading to Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow. While cruising at about 35,000 feet, it experienced an electrical failure, causing the loss of their navigational systems and fuel pumps, leaving the pilots only 30 minutes worth of fuel.

The TU-154M sits about 520 feet past the end of the runway at Izhma Airport.

The TU-154M sits about 520 feet past the end of the runway at Izhma Airport.

To make matters worse, the pilots also lost control their flaps, slats and radio system. Luckily they found that Izhma Airport was close to attempt an emergency landing, but there was a bit of bad news. First of all the runway was closed and no longer in use, plus it was only 4,347 feet long. Typically, the TU-154M needs a runway over 7,200 feet long to stop safely. Since they were short on options, they made the attempt to land anyhow.

The Alrosa TU-154M took quite a beating, running off the end of the runway.

The Alrosa TU-154M took quite a beating, running off the end of the runway.

The pilots made two attempts to land before finally putting the aircraft down on the third try. The odds were against the plane, as it did not have control of flaps to slow down and it ended up running about 520 feet off the end of the runway, through trees, bushes and mud.

Airliners were not made to hit trees and bushes. They did a number of the body of the TU-154M.

Airliners were not made to hit trees and bushes. They did a number of the body of the TU-154M.

Amazingly, after the aircraft came to a complete stop, all 81 passengers and crew were able to safely evacuate the aircraft and no injuries were reported. It was determined that the batteries overheated causing a thermal runaway, affecting the failed components of the aircraft.

The two pilots of Flight 514: Andrei Lamanov and Yevgeny Novoselov.

The two pilots of Flight 514: Andrei Lamanov and Yevgeny Novoselov stand in front of TA-85684

The two pilots of Flight 514: Andrei Lamanov and Yevgeny Novoselov were regarded as heros for their successful landing of the stricken aircraft. They were made Heros of the Russian Federation, which is the highest honorary title that a Russian Federation citizen can received. The other seven crew members were rewarded with Orders of Courage. Passengers were rewarded with their lives and an incredible story to tell for the rest of their lives.

After minimum repairs, Alrosa's TU-154M took off from Izhma Airport.

After minimum repairs, Alrosa’s TU-154M took off from Izhma Airport – Photo: Aleksey Nagaev

So now what? Alrosa had this “Lucky TU-154M” that was damaged at an airport that doesn’t have a runway long enough for it to properly take off. Well, if there is a will, there is a way and the airline decided to make needed repairs to get the aircraft back in the air.

About six and a half months after the Tupelov crash landed, enough repairs were completed to get it airborne again. After reducing its weight as much as possible, on March 23, 2011 the TU-154M successfully took off from Izhma Airport and flew to Ukhta, Komi Republic for additional inspections. Finally it was sent to Samara where final repairs were completed before the aircraft was placed back into service.

The TU-154M was designed to successfully operate in Russian’s tough climate and air infrastructure and it seemed to pay off. I am not quite sure how other aircraft might have fared during the same situation.

More good Alrosa TU-154M Flight 514 stuff:
More photos of the TU-154M
* Photos of the airplane on Airliners.net
* More on The Moscow Times

 

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: david@airlinereporter.com

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26 Comments

What a great story! A great calm collected landing and recovery of a very sturdy aircraft! That Tu-154 looks vaguely similar to an historical Boeing 3-holer that once graced our skies here in the US. Long live the mighty 3-holers not matter what country they hail from!!!!!!

Well, at least it looks like the thrust reverses worked!

LOL, yea I noticed that too. Really they did quite well. The TU-154 needs 7200ft and it stopped a little over 5000. Of course trees and mud have a nice way of slowing one down quicker 🙂

David

That is quite incredible. Honestly, I’ve seen Comair CRJs that look like they have been through more than that.

Great story. Thank you, and this half hour film on Youtube shows a part of the recovery of that plane as I guess. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zfR_EPdrGY

I wonder if they left gear down for the entire first flight segment to Uhkta. I realize the fuel and drag implications, but given the temporary nature of the reapirs, it makes some sense if the distance was not too great.

David James

It is rather amazing that the landing gear stayed with the airplane. They are usually the first to go. That’s Russian aircraft for you – built like tanks.

Just a heads up, Firefox is reporting the comments page as an attack site.

May want to do a scan on your server and see if you have been hacked.

Yea, fun time last night 🙂 I think it is now fixed. Can you double check for me?

Clear now on my end.

Cheers.

I lost a massive family genealogy site because of these lovely individuals.

Yea. At first I was told I would have to restore from six months ago. No thanks. I am glad it worked out.

I guess I feel cool that I am good enough to be hacked now 🙂

david

That was a great story. Although a year ago.

By the way, the plane is still flying. I noticed it in one of the spotting reports here – http://victor-kilo.livejournal.com/8257.html.

Alexander Zykov

Sorry, jentlemen, TU-154 just looks like Boeing 3-holer. Idea was borrowed (Tupolev was rather dirty to catch up ideas)naturally. But by the processing of production it was made totally different from its analog (especially “M” seria). I remember my mother (The chief of the testing laboratory of the factory) said “it looks like, but totally different aircraft”. And I believe her. (sorry my clumsy English)

The name of this wonderful aircraft is Tupolev, not Tupelov, dear journalist. It is as simple as Boeing isn`t Bioeng.

Good catch — I have made the edit. I have also been guilty of mis-typing “Bioeng” and unfortunately “Boring” a few times.

David

The B 727 was built like a Ferrari while the TU 154 was built like a Mack truck. The TU 154 is the best looking airliner ever and I wished I had the chance to fly one but I was over in the USA the whole career of the 154. I do have many hours in the 727 – also a great aircraft.

philsuth

RA-85684 is still flying. I travelled in her from Novosibirsk to Udachny last week, and she brought me back to Novosibirsk today. Got quite a thrill when I recognized the registration of “The Lucky Tupolev” when boarding.

Reporting that Alrosa RA-85684 is still going strong in 2014. Flew her twice in May 2014, from Domodedovo to Baikonur-Krainiy and back a week later. Only read this story after our flights. See my travelblog for a trip report.

Great story but I find it odd that the flight engineer wasn’t mentioned as part of the crew. The TU-154 has a 3 person flight crew and I think later they also added extra seat for a navigator although although I’m not sure if they still need the latter now days.

Hello, I’ve noticed a small error in your post: those two pilots in the second to last photo are not Andrei Lamanov and Yevgeny Novoselov, they are Ruben Yesayan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruben_Yesayan) and his second pilot, who flew the repaired TU 154 to Ukhta. (sorry for my English=)

You use my pictures without permission… You delete my copirights and put yours… Great job !
http://nagaev-photo.ru/foto/aviation/1415602435-4.jpg

Tupolewa

That was a very good story and i love Alrosa for this. Aeroflot wouldn’t do that.
Now this beauty has a new livery and i hope for a long time in the air.

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