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March 22, 2024

In 1989, a Pilot Landing an Interflug IL-62 on a Field So It Can Be Placed at the Museum Nearby

The Ilyushin IL-62 is a long range Russian built four engine jet aircraft that saw service with airlines such as East Germany’s Interflug and the USSR’s Aeroflot along others. On 23 October 1989, one of the Interflug aircraft was landed at Stölln as a gift to commemorate Otto Lilienthal’s crash during his test flights on the foot of Gollenberg Hill. The Il-62 itself was even named Lady Agnes after Lilienthal’s wife. Landing a large commercial jet on a short grass runway is no mean feat, so the video is worth checking out.

The grass runway at Stölln/Rhinow is 900 meters long and the IL-62 usually requires around 2,500 meters when operating in normal service. Of course, the aircraft was not loaded as normal on this flight.

Heinz-Dieter Kallbach was the Captain on this flight and you can see in the video that a low pass was made over the field before the landing took place. Needless to say, it looks fairly dangerous. Fire and rescue crews were on hand just in case the worst happened. Happily for everyone, the landing was successful.

According to Kallbach’s recounting of the landing, the Il-62 bounced a bit more than he expected throughout the maneuver. While some may think that he popped what looks to be a wheely at one point during the landing, Kallbach stated that he intentionally raised the plane’s nose in order to reduce the tangential force on the landing gear while at high-speed speeds so as to prevent the landing gear from sinking into the soil. It also looks a lot like classical aerobraking to rapidly reduce airspeed after touchdown. Even so, large chunks of earth were said to have been ripped up from the ground as the aircraft came to a full stop.

“We needed different calculations, a changed landing technology, many special permits, and existing rules and regulations in the Aviation Act had to be suspended,” said Kallbach in an interview with the German aviation outlet Aero Telegraph. “During the final landing approach, we turned off two engines and only flew with two engines. At an altitude of 50 meters, we had to use reverse thrust, which is generally forbidden in aviation and is not possible with today’s aircraft of the technical standard. A go-around was no longer possible and the landing had to be successful, for better or for worse. Luckily that's what happened!”

After the aircraft slowed, the jet's engines (those that were still operable) were thrown into reverse throwing up a huge cloud of dirt and filling the engines with debris.

It was quite the dramatic sequence.

Interflug no longer exists, having been liquidated in 1991 post German reunification. This aircraft is one of the few remainders of the airline. Apparently it is used as a museum and you can always have your wedding on board if you desire. It looks pretty well kept since it has been sitting there since 1989.


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