You go on a beach and you see this, what are your actions? Hi, today we’ll dive into the history of a soviet sully.
So what happened?
July 17th, 1972 was a beautiful summer day in the Soviet Moscow. A 7 year old TU-134 (CCCP-65607) of Soviet Civil aviation authority took off from Sheremetevo to do some flight testing. The crew were testing a fix to the electric system after other TU-134’s (HA-LBD) accumulators weren’t able to power navigation equipment after generator failure, which, coupled with the fog, led to the plane crashing near Kiev.
Everything went well, and after a few touch & go’s on batteries crew was ready to land. While preparing for landing, ATC told them that they would need to land on the opposite side of the runway and that they would need to give way to another plane. As they were holding on downwind, still waiting for the other plane, they were enjoying the views of the blue Ikshinskoe reservoir. However, captain Kuzmenko interrupted radioman Kozhanov’s dreams of the beach, here’s what happened next:
- Kozhanov, how’s the energy?
- It is getting worse. While we were circling here, the emergency bus voltage dropped bellow the minimums.
- Well the navigation equipment is working great, so it’s okay. Continuing inbound as usual.
- Ok then.
But then, the flight engineer Platunov shouted
- Captain! We lost both of our engines!
- I see - said captain, who, as all the others, noticed the silence - let’s try to restart them!
At the same time he tells second officer Malinin to look for a place they can land to in case the engine restart won’t work. But Malinin didn’t look for it just in case, he knew that their TU-134 without engines will loose it’s 400 meters of altitude very quickly, so he immediately turned towards Ikshinskoe reservoir. Barely making it over the power lines and then yachts, he aligns the plane for a water landing, but then, at the last second, he sees someone in the water and turns to the left. Shortly after that, the plane’s left wing hits the water and the fuselage smashes into the water.
Looking over his shoulder, Malinin have found out that A) no-one was hurt and B) Kuzmenko still had his finger on engine restart switch.
- Well, Platunov, no more jealousy towards the people chilling there. Open the door and go swimming. Now we’re sailors, even more so on an airliner?! Yeah, we are no match for these yachts.
Wait but why?
If you haven’t guessed already, in such situations fuel pumps were dependent on battery voltage, so that’s why the engines stopped.
So how’s the plane doing?
You know, it wasn’t actually that damaged. Even the windows didn’t break. However, such a trick still meant it won’t ever fly again, so about a week later it was towed away to Klyazminskoe reservoir, where it acted as a training facility for pilots studying at the Central International Air Traffic Authority and then for Aeroflot pilots to study water landings. It was eventually scrapped around 2000-2001.
Author - Alexey Vlasyuk on jetphotos
The cooler CCCP-65607
Interesting fact - the registration wasn’t forgotten about. It was later given to a TU-134AK previously operated by interflug (D-AOBS). Shortly after USSR ceased to exist, but the plane didn’t, and so it flew with UtAir Express (RA-65607) until 2016, when it also was scrapped.