Losses and Aviation Safety

That time a UN Aircrew played a Prank on Passengers by making them believe their Aircraft was Crashing during a Falling Leaf Landing at Herat

There were still a lot of hostilities at the time, so the pilots did what is called a falling leaf landing at Herat airport.

‘First flight in Afghanistan, 2002. It was UN plane, 16 seats and two huge Danish pilots,’ says Sven Dirks former EW-console in the Bréguet Atlantic, on Quora. ‘As former soldier and part time operator of an EW-console in the Bréguet Atlantic as well as numerous (and I mean numerous) hours of being lugged to and from in the back of military aircraft I was used to rather rough and uncomfortable flying.

‘My buddy next to me had had the same kind of experiences. We sat in the back row, watching the other passengers. Two of them Europeans. For both of whom it was their second flight in their whole life, the first having been the one from Frankfurt to Kabul. They sat in front of us, as we were all going to the same place.

‘The others where UN personnel and locals of all descriptions.

‘We flew at about 18.000 ft from Kabul towards Herat.

‘There were still a lot of hostilities at the time, so the pilots did what is called a falling leaf landing at Herat airport. A falling leaf landing is basically done by taking a very tight turn and then literally spiraling downwards. Fast.

‘The two big Danes turned once, grinned, and then did their thing. The first stall-warning came on, but they just ignored it, more or less falling out of the sky in a controlled manner.

‘Well, the two guys in front of us needed their little bags, as did some of the others, while my friend and I had great fun.

Dirks concludes;

‘Once we leveled out, we were right next to a huge, elongated pit, where the remains of Russian airplanes had been shoveled into.’

‘When passing the pit the pilot announced: “Well, Gentlemen, these are the ones that didn’t make it.”’

Photo :United Nations (Trans Capital Air) De Havilland Canada DHC-7-102 Dash 7 (UA-320 via Wikipedia)

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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