Russian passenger plane damaged in landing in Finnish Lapland
Aircraft's tail hits runway, landing gear ploughs through approach lights
A Russian passenger plane bringing tourists from Moscow to Finnish Lapland sustained damage on Tuesday when attempting a landing at the wrong angle at Kittilä Airport. In addition to a crew of 11, the aircraft carried 155 passengers, 46 of whom were children. Nobody was hurt in the incident, but the aircraft was damaged to the extent that it could not take off again.
The mishap took place at around 9.30 in the morning, when an Air Yakutia Tupolev 154 passenger jet's approach to the Kittilä runway fell short.
"The aircraft approached the runway too low, lifted up its nose, and touched down before the beginning of the designated landing area. Planes don't usually land at such a sharp angle", explains Accident Investigation Board investigator Jussi Haila.
"The plane broke some of the airfield's approach lights, and its wheel tracks start before the beginning of the actual runway, albeit on an asphalted area."
The plane's tail hit the ground and some of the hatches got twisted in the unpressurised area at the rear of the fuselage. The landing flaps scraped the ground and were also damaged.
After the initial impact, the plane came down onto its landing gear and was brought to a controlled halt.
According to the captain, towards the end of the approach the plane suddenly descended for an unknown reason and an increase of throttle power failed to correct the situation.
The captain had noticed the bouncy landing but did not report it to the air-traffic control. The air traffic control officer, however, asked the runway to be checked by a maintenance team, who then discovered the broken approach lights and the impressions of the hard landing.
The incident was reported to the Accident Investigation Board, but no rescue teams were alerted as the plane had already unloaded its passengers.
Kittilä Airport does not have an approach radar, but planes are aided to the vicinity of the airfield by the Rovaniemi radar instead.
The Instrument Landing System (ILS), which then provides an approach path for the exact alignment and descent of an aircraft on its final approach, was working normally, according to an initial investigation report.