It’s not just your holiday plane…..

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008 - Uncategorized


….that determines your safety.

After recently watching (from 2500ft above) another Eastern European heavy jet take off (just) from East Midlands/Robin Hood airport, this video was similarly concerning. Note that the operator of the camera and the background commentary are the professional control tower staff.

According to a friend who is an air traffic controller at Stanstead, this is becoming a regular problem. These former Russian Airforce aircraft – split across the airforces and freight carriers of the broken down USSR during the early post-Communist era, and then leased out with crews for profit – are now used throughout the world, due to their high loading capacities and strong design allowing them to get into “rough” strips – think African emergency food relief missions.

They are often loaded to the limit weight wise, and when weight distribution determines air handling, loading is even more key. The key component after loading are the tyres, and Standstead is now enforceably grounding at least one of these big-Russians (know as Vodka-boomers in the flight community) on a weekly basis, due to overwork tyres.

There are clear pressures for profits and the need for shifting goods is growing – but there are safety limits.

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