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They should put wheels on those!
November 2, 2011 2:04 PM   Subscribe

Boeing 767 lands in Warsaw, sans landing gear. Passengers, you may unclinch now.
posted by HuronBob (74 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I guess they don't have any Nissan Full-Sized pickup trucks in Warsaw....
posted by schmod at 2:08 PM on November 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


What was the white stuff the plane landed on? I assume it was there to make the landing smoother and softer, but I have no idea what they would use.
posted by Hactar at 2:10 PM on November 2, 2011


The lack of catching fire/exploding is impressive. The lack of wheels less so.
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on November 2, 2011


Did you hear the one about the Polish Pilot? He did a great job and saved a bunch of lives.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:12 PM on November 2, 2011 [55 favorites]


Hactar: I believe that's fire-supression foam.

And that's one heck of a pilot, too.
posted by easily confused at 2:13 PM on November 2, 2011


Nie bardzo jeszcze, wdzięczności.
posted by Splunge at 2:14 PM on November 2, 2011


A similar incident happened 46 years ago.
posted by Harry at 2:16 PM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


All things considered that looked like a pretty smooth landing to me, the pilot just eases the back down and keeps his noes up for breaking. Really well done, looks smoother than some landings I've been through with the landing gear.
posted by Hoenikker at 2:16 PM on November 2, 2011


That's odd - there's no thread on this at airliners.net. (Wasn't that the messageboard that had the blow-by-blow account of the US Air Flight 1549 landing?)
posted by suckerpunch at 2:18 PM on November 2, 2011


That pilot is one bad ass motherfucker. Can you imagine discovering half an hour after takeoff that you've got no landing gear? Then keeping it together for the whole flight over the Atlantic, keeping everyone else calm, then sliding in to a safe landing at the destination. Nerves of steel!

Here's an excited Daily Mail article with lots of pictures:

'We owe everything to the pilot': Passengers hail hero after terrifying landing as Boeing 767 skids along runway on its belly
posted by Kevin Street at 2:18 PM on November 2, 2011


Yeah, it's firefighting foam. I've used it when I worked on a flight deck. It's a liquid you mix with water which, among other properties, causes the density of to be less then the fuel. This causes it to float on top of the fuel and prevent it from burning.

Wildland firefighting foam is designed to make the water soak into wood better making it harder to burn.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:19 PM on November 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Capt. Tadeusz Wrona gives a whole new meaning to "as the crow flies."
posted by Kabanos at 2:20 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


What was the white stuff the plane landed on? I assume it was there to make the landing smoother and softer, but I have no idea what they would use.

MARGARET
Can I ask? What does the foam do exactly?

LEO
On the runway?

MARGARET
Yeah.

LEO
It's flame retardant. They're worried about fire.

MARGARET
But it's not impact retardant though, is it? I mean, the plane would still-- coming out
of the sky at some velocity-- have to land on concrete?
posted by ceribus peribus at 2:22 PM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Suck it, Sully!
posted by graphnerd at 2:24 PM on November 2, 2011


The passengers coming down the back right slide --- fresh from their harrowing ordeal --- got sprayed in the face with flame-retardant.
posted by pjenks at 2:26 PM on November 2, 2011


Video from different angle via YouTube.
posted by zeikka at 2:27 PM on November 2, 2011


Airliners thread.
posted by longdaysjourney at 2:29 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's odd - there's no thread on this at airliners.net.

longdaysjourney just beat me. The thread was created before the plane even landed!
posted by zsazsa at 2:31 PM on November 2, 2011


Suck it, Sully!

Not at all. Crash landings on water are way harder than on land, if for no other reason that that if one of the wings touches down unevenly, it digs into the water rather than just scraping along it, which can cause the whole plane to flip and break up.

But, still, this really was a perfectly-executed landing. Amazing control.
posted by Dasein at 2:31 PM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


I just want to tell you both good luck, we're all counting on you.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:34 PM on November 2, 2011 [20 favorites]


Great job by the pilot and all the staff. It is so rare that accidents have such happy endings.

One of the pictures in the dailymail link shows a bunch of passengers who had their flight cancelled because of the accident sitting around with empty beer bottles. I imagine the first round was on the airline.
posted by chemoboy at 2:36 PM on November 2, 2011


I'm impressed by both the landing skill, and the speed at which the rear slide popped out and passengers started exiting, the front took a bit longer, which seems odd to me.
posted by efalk at 2:37 PM on November 2, 2011


Also, what is most impressive about how smooth a landing that was is that pilots are used to landing with the belly, what, 10 or so feet above the ground? Apart from the sparks and people freaking out, the landing looked like it was supposed to happen that way.
posted by chemoboy at 2:39 PM on November 2, 2011


I can say only one word: WOW!
posted by Flusty at 2:41 PM on November 2, 2011


I'm amazed that there were no injuries despite having to evacuate via slide. If memory serves me right, it's common for people to hurt themselves on those things (of course, it's heaps better than dying in a plane crash, so there you go).

My hat is off to the pilots and the airport emergency crew.
posted by Gelatin at 2:41 PM on November 2, 2011


the front took a bit longer

The individual opening that door may have taken a moment to reflect on the misfortune of not having time to change their pants.
posted by CynicalKnight at 2:43 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, I know I've been in rougher landings on wheels.
posted by notsnot at 2:53 PM on November 2, 2011


One more video from AP
posted by elpapacito at 2:54 PM on November 2, 2011


I would almost rather deal with the technical difficulties of landing the plane than the social difficulties of figuring out how to broach the subject with the passengers. Because that is not going to be an easy conversation to open smoothly.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:54 PM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, I know I've been in rougher landings on wheels.

I'll bet it didn't feel that way on the inside.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:57 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would almost rather deal with the technical difficulties of landing the plane than the social difficulties of figuring out how to broach the subject with the passengers. Because that is not going to be an easy conversation to open smoothly.

"Has anyone here seen Amazing Stories?"
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:58 PM on November 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


Pilot's going "How's that, huh? Huh? I bet I could even take 'er up again! C'mon, what do you bet?"
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:05 PM on November 2, 2011


When this happened in Thunderbirds it turned out that one of Thunderbird 2s cargo pods contained a handy dandy plane mobile catching platform, which they drove under the plane and matched speeds with it....
posted by Artw at 3:10 PM on November 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


The passengers coming down the back right slide --- fresh from their harrowing ordeal --- got sprayed in the face with flame-retardant.

Dear airport firefighters,

If I am ever involved in an incident such as this one, and there's any chance whatsoever of leaking fuel and/or a fire... don't be shy with the flame-retardant foam. Let's have lots and lots of it please. I want to be swimming in the damn stuff, do you hear?

(Why yes, a post-crash fire is my nightmare scenario. Why do you ask?)
posted by FishBike at 3:12 PM on November 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


> The passengers coming down the back right slide --- fresh from their harrowing ordeal --- got sprayed in the face with flame-retardant.

Looking at the second video, you see the flame retardant going in front of them, not at them, to either put out the engine, or cool down the engine to keep it from igniting. I'm sure they got misted, but it wasn't a blast in the face from hose when they got off the plane.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:13 PM on November 2, 2011


Wow. Here's a video from inside the plane.
posted by crunchland at 3:16 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would almost rather deal with the technical difficulties of landing the plane than the social difficulties of figuring out how to broach the subject with the passengers. Because that is not going to be an easy conversation to open smoothly.

From the Daily Mail story it sounds like the passengers weren't told exactly what the problem was -- just that there were technical problems, they were going in for an emergency landing, and "there might be a fire."

Pretty scary.
posted by eugenen at 3:29 PM on November 2, 2011


From the Daily Mail story it sounds like the passengers weren't told exactly what the problem was -- just that there were technical problems, they were going in for an emergency landing, ...

That's pretty harsh if it's true. I would be fine with the whole thing until the plane kept going down after the wheels should have touched the ground, at which point I would completely freak out and believe I was going to die. A little warning on that point would help a lot.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:39 PM on November 2, 2011


Who needs landing gear when you've got balls?
posted by chavenet at 3:40 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can you imagine discovering half an hour after takeoff that you've got no landing gear? Then keeping it together for the whole flight over the Atlantic, keeping everyone else calm, then sliding in to a safe landing at the destination. Nerves of steel!

A friend of mine was flying to Lithuania (I want to say via Poland, even) and they had some sort of problem with the plane after takeoff. Rather than continue on (I assume because they were worried they couldn't make it), they circled off New York for hours before going back to JFK. Apparently, people were remarkably calm, except she was sitting next to a pilot, who quickly realised they were trying to use up as much fuel as possible in case they crashed when trying to land. I actually really wish I had never been told that story. Perhaps if your landing gear is fucked, but nothing else is, it's less nerve-wracking to continue on because at least you're doing the normal thing for the next several hours.
posted by hoyland at 3:54 PM on November 2, 2011


realised they were trying to use up as much fuel as possible in case they crashed when trying to land.

Almost certainly not true. In situations like the one you describe, they are burning fuel so that the plane is lighter than the Max Allowed Landing Weight upon landing. When the aircraft touches down, the landing gear has to take all of the force of that deceleration, and the heavier the plane is, the greater the impact on the gear upon landing. Since there is no such forces being exerted on takeoff, Max Allowed Takeoff Weight is frequently greater than Max Allowed Landing Weight, so in the case described they needed to burn off the difference between those two weights. Some airliners are equipped to jettison fuel, but not all.
posted by kiltedtaco at 4:02 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


1- Yes, that's a heck of a pilot. Not only was it a great landing, it was a *confident* landing. Dropped it down pretty fast, and then eased it down with like a foot and a half to spare. In fog no less!

2- I absolutely want my pilots to use up all the fuel before attempting a tricky landing. It is usually the fire that kills, not the crash.

3- That said, note to self, get seats in the front of the plane. I want to be on the sucking-fresh-air side of the engines, not the blowing-hot-fire side.
posted by gjc at 4:03 PM on November 2, 2011


Great landing. But I was expecting way more emergency vehicles.
posted by maxwelton at 4:36 PM on November 2, 2011


"Has anyone here seen Amazing Stories?"

Is there a cartoonist on the plane?
posted by chemoboy at 5:07 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


More details here (Google translation).
The plane has stopped very close to the intersection of the runways, so the airport was closed until it was lifted and hauled away.
posted by hat_eater at 5:07 PM on November 2, 2011


That said, note to self, get seats in the front of the plane. I want to be on the sucking-fresh-air side of the engines, not the blowing-hot-fire side.

But isn't the rear of the plane the most survivable place in a crash?
posted by mrnutty at 5:16 PM on November 2, 2011


I'm amazed that there were no injuries despite having to evacuate via slide. If memory serves me right, it's common for people to hurt themselves on those things (of course, it's heaps better than dying in a plane crash, so there you go).

Yeah I was surprised at this as well. As I understand it, broken bones are not exactly uncommon. Aircraft emergency slides are fast, steep, and hard. They may be inflatable, but they burst open with a deafening bang (i.e. darn loud through earplugs and earmuffs) and become pretty much rock hard (if you ever have a chance to see one pulled, preferably in a non-emergency situation, take advantage of it).

I suppose the plane was lower to the ground than normal without the gear, so maybe that helped prevent serious injuries on the slides.
posted by zachlipton at 5:39 PM on November 2, 2011


Don't be shy with the flame-retardant foam. Let's have lots and lots of it please. I want to be swimming in the damn stuff, do you hear?

You can't swim in foam, it's not dense enough. You would drown to death horribly.

Just sayin'.
posted by ryanrs at 5:43 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


So Ask the Pilot has already addressed this and said pretty much what I was thinking; landing this was exactly like landing a plane with the gear down and locked except that extra care had to be taken to touch down early, straight and level.

The point of saying this isn't to take anything away from the pilots and crew other than the vaguely insulting label of 'hero'. The point isn't that they made a miracle landing; it's that most pilots are such pros that the outcome would almost always be the same.
posted by Ickster at 5:52 PM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


> They may be inflatable, but they burst open with a deafening bang (i.e. darn loud through
> earplugs and earmuffs) and become pretty much rock hard (if you ever have a chance
> to see one pulled, preferably in a non-emergency situation, take advantage of it).

Ladies.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:54 PM on November 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thoughts while watching:

1. Well, that actually seemed to go exactly how it's supposed to go, and fairly gently too. Well-done.
2. I wonder what happens to the stuff in the cargo hold. Is it affected by the heat from the skid? Does the metal of the hull get ground down enough to expose the baggage? Are things crushed?
3. Hah! The steerage-class passengers reached the tarmac before anybody else! Take that, first class!
4. I hope that firetruck didn't just spray those guys in the face.
posted by ardgedee at 6:15 PM on November 2, 2011


When they bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:17 PM on November 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


the speed at which the rear slide popped out and passengers started exiting, the front took a bit longer, which seems odd to me.

The first class passengers were treated to a relaxing neck massage and a stiff drink before having to undergo the indignity of the escape slide.

They also got to take their carry-on bags with them.
posted by Brockles at 6:20 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I assume it was there to make the landing smoother and softer

No, the point is to suppress sparks and fire. The FAA, however, has stopped recommending this, even though it was standard practice for years.

3. ARFF Foaming of Runways for Emergency Landings

The FAA does not recommend the foaming of runways for emergency landings and warns against the practice with any foam other than “Protein” foam. [Other foams] are not considered suitable for runway foaming operations due to their short drainage time. It is recommended that ARFF personnel decline to foam a runway when requested by a pilot because they do not have the specialized equipment and protein foam

The effectiveness of runway foaming is not fully substantiated by the real evidence of operational incident studies. Neither the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) nor the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends the practice....

[Problems can include local conditions, plane conditions, pilot skill, etc.]

Techniques of runway foaming differ, depending on the numerous variables involved. Without the proper equipment, training and material, the desired effectiveness of the practice will be difficult to achieve. Foaming a runway can also result in the airport fire department being short of agent at a critical time, if the firefighters are involved in fire suppression after the landing.


Are things crushed?

It's my impression that this is often a feature of hard landings. The airframe itself is likely what they call a write-off.
posted by dhartung at 6:37 PM on November 2, 2011


> the social difficulties of figuring out how to broach the subject with the passengers. Because that is not going to be an easy conversation to open smoothly.

"Folks, your copilot and I have had a little talk, and we felt you need to know that, well, we might all be one big happy family while we're together, but there are going to have to be some stressful times soon as we go through some changes in plans."
posted by ardgedee at 6:37 PM on November 2, 2011


Jetphotos gallery.
posted by dhartung at 6:38 PM on November 2, 2011


I just flew into Vancouver and my companion, a very tall man, booked the seats in the emergency aisle for the extra legroom. I know there are thousands of flights in the air at any one time and relatively few crashes but, boy, was I ever paying attention when the I got individual instruction on what to do, in what order, in case of a crash. My hat goes off to the underpaid staff that have that responsibility every shift.
posted by saucysault at 7:03 PM on November 2, 2011


As everyone made it out safely, I feel better worrying about more logistical things. Such as, LOT only had 5 longhaul planes before this incident, and serves 6 longhaul routes. Writing off this aircraft may make their service schedule unsustainable.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 7:28 PM on November 2, 2011


Insured? Lease another one with the proceeds?
posted by Mid at 8:07 PM on November 2, 2011


This clip, from the other side, shows the left rear emergency chute opening about three seconds after the plane comes to a full stop. The first passenger hits the ground about five seconds after that. The front chute opens within 10 seonds or so. Remarkable work by the flight crew as well as the pilots.
posted by stargell at 8:20 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's an Australian F-111 performing a similar trick in Queensland in 2007. One of its wheels had ever so slightly fallen off after take off.
posted by joannemullen at 9:15 PM on November 2, 2011


I've got to say- I don't think that pilot should have to pay for drinks again. Ever.
posted by Canageek at 10:25 PM on November 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


It would have been safer to land on a giant conveyor belt.
posted by euphorb at 11:16 PM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It would have been safer to land on a giant conveyor belt.

It never would have landed.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:25 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Eek, my wife's flown on LOT trans-Atlantic flights several times.

Nothing but Finnair from now on, even if they're fucking expensive.
posted by unigolyn at 2:36 AM on November 3, 2011


Don't they make the under-bellies of commercial aircraft using titanium, the better to withstand this kind of landing?
posted by JimDe at 3:11 AM on November 3, 2011


longdaysjourney: "Airliners thread."
Looking through the thread, it seems a Polish guy went to the airport and reported back realtime to that thread with what I can only describe as the Most. Laconic. Comment. Evar:

Belly landing - flaps 15, gear up, small fire extinguished, pax evacuated. Frame most likely out of service for a while.
posted by brokkr at 4:19 AM on November 3, 2011


Belly landing - flaps 15, gear up, small fire extinguished, pax evacuated. Frame most likely out of service for a while.
posted by brokkr at 4:19 AM on November 3 [+] [!]


Well yes, it will be with that attitude!
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 4:46 AM on November 3, 2011


Don't they make the under-bellies of commercial aircraft using titanium, the better to withstand this kind of landing?

No, not that I'm aware of. Some models have skid plates on the underside of the tail to mitigate any damage from a tail strike, but not over the whole underside of the airplane. Two reasons not to use titanium all over the place on an aircraft: a) weight and b) galvanic corrosion with the rest of the aluminum body.

Nothing but Finnair from now on

I dunno, it seems from this accident that LOT's pilots are very highly trained and competent. I'd fly them.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:50 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eddie Izzard's Darth Vader inspecting the main cabin, "I'll check the seats on the starboard side. This one's wet. And this one's wet. And this one's wet. And this one's wet. Did you fly through a rain forest? Why with the power of the 767 are all these seats wet?"
posted by LoudMusic at 8:29 AM on November 3, 2011


Another example of why I avoid air travel whenever possible.
posted by freakazoid at 12:12 PM on November 3, 2011


Another example of why I avoid air travel whenever possible.

Are you kidding? How many flights are there each day? How often does something like this happen? And when it happens, what do you get? A highly-qualified professional smoothly controlling the situation without any injuries resulting. Compare that to the over one million people killed on the world's roads each year, and the millions of vehicles driven by unskilled, distracted, half-asleep, occasionally drunk idiots. That's to say nothing of the mechanical state of repair of your average commerical airliner compared to your average car or truck.
posted by Dasein at 12:46 PM on November 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


The more the news covers something is the rare it is, and thus you should feel safer about it. The fact that this is noteworthy enough to get a MeFi thread means airliners are very safe. Similarly the fact that the murder of 4 police officers made the national news for weeks means Canada has a pretty low murder rate, as does the fact that every murder in Toronto makes the news.

It is when the crashes STOP making the news that you have to worry --I once heard the statistic that 2 747s worth of people die a day due to car crashes in the US. That was years ago, though I have no idea how true it is. However, you also don't hear about deaths due to car crashes making the national news.
posted by Canageek at 2:56 PM on November 3, 2011


I once heard the statistic that 2 747s worth of people die a day due to car crashes in the US. That was years ago, though I have no idea how true it is.

It never was true - the worst year was 1972, when an average of 150 people a day died; now it's 90 per day, as a result of safer cars and less drunk driving. With a capacity of usually at least 400 people, that's still more than one 747 every week, though. Globally, about 1.2 million people die on the roads. In the last couple of years, about 1100 have died flying each year; and that includes airlines in places like the Congo that no one with any alternative would ever fly on.

So looking at video of a plane safely executing an emergency landing and concluding, "I won't fly," is really taking irrationality to a pretty high level. You're putting yourself at much greater risk of dying if you try to drive the route instead of flying.
posted by Dasein at 3:31 PM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


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