Miracle on the cornfield
Gleb Khlopunov / AviMedia
In the morning of August the 15th, pilots of Ural Airlines Airbus A321 Damir Yusupov and Georgy Murzin performed an emergency landing on the cornfield shortly after the departure from Zhukovsky airport, Moscow.

As seen in the video captured by one of the passengers, aircraft collided with a flock of birds a few seconds after takeoff. It was impossible to abort the takeoff then because the decision speed (V1) had been reached already. According to the Flightradar24, the maximum height reached by aircraft was 128 meters, which is several times less than the altitude margin captain Sallenberg had during the famous Hudson River ditching.
The crew acted according to the Airbus A321 operation manual, but with one significant deviation from the book. Captain Yusupov decided not to lower the landing gear, which is a more common step for ditching, rather than emergency landing. This decision turned out to be the key to a successful landing. As the plane was fully loaded the landing gear couldn't have handled such stress and would have probably collapsed after the touchdown, so the fragments could have damaged the fuselage and cause the fuel tanks to explode. As captain Damir Yusupov commented after the incident:
"I had decided that it would be safer to do it this way".

Dense and soft cornstalks acted like an airbag and stopped the plane. Application of the fire extinguishing system helped to avoid a fire.
Gleb Khlopunov / AviMedia
"I had decided that it would be safer to do it this way".
Damir Yusupov, captain of the U6178 flight
At the moment, the emergency site is guarded by the police. The specialists of the Interstate Aviation Committee are working there. Flight data recorders were found undamaged. The incident is being investigated in details.
Andrey Zharkov / AviMedia
Article: Ekaterina Rogova
Photography: Gleb Khlopunov, Andrey Zharkov

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