Missile hit at Baghdad

In November 2003, Baghdad airport was the home to American troops in Iraq. The US Air force flew in daily to supply the troops and help at its best to help rebuild the country. Around and outside the airport are terrorists therefore Apache helicopters are deployed full time to check and eliminate any kind of threats.

Today, November 22, 2003. There is only one civilian cargo plane which is an Airbus A300 cargo aircraft flown by the company: DHL. The company started flights to Baghdad six months earlier as they had won a contract to deliver the military’s mail. Today, the plane is scheduled to fly from Baghdad to Bahrain. The plane is 24 years old and does business as DHL Express. The captain of today’s flight is Capt. Eric Gennotte, a 38-year-old Belgian pilot. He received his promotion to Captain of the A300 just a year ago and has 3300 flight hours with more than half on the A300. The co-pilot is FO. Steve Michielsen. He is also Belgian and is 29 years old with 1257 flight hours. In the jump seat is Flight Engineer Mario Rofail from Scotland and is 54 years old with 13400 flight hours.

Moments after clearance for take-off, the Captain who is the pilot flying sets the thrust to full power, and seconds later the plane starts rolling for takeoff. The flight crew is unaware that just a few kilometers from the airport, some terrorists have their own plan for their aircraft. Since the plane is taking off from a hostile environment, the crew performs a steep takeoff to reduce exposure of the plane to ground attacks or any threats but at reaching 8000ft, a surface-to-air missile is launched towards the plane. As they tried to reach a safe altitude, their efforts bare no fruits as the missile hits the rear of the left wing between the engine and the wing tip. It damages trailing surfaces of the wing and causes an immediate fire. Making matters worse, all hydraulic systems of the plane lost pressure.

Without hydraulics, it’s impossible to have controls of the plane since all flight controls are now disabled. The aircraft starts pitching up and down in a roller coaster sequence oscillating between a nose up and a nose down position. The plane begins to climb steeply and the climb is followed by a steep descent. The plane now keeps repeating the sequence. Since the pilots have no control of the plane, they decide to try to use the throttles to regain control. Increasing engine power should cause the plane to climb. Decreasing should cause the plane to lose altitude. Increasing power on one engine causes the plane to turn in the opposite direction. This flying method was never taught and the pilots must figure out how to regain controls and make an emergency landing

They must figure out the reactions of the plane to their actions and its limits. After 10 minutes of trying, the pilots figure out how to manage climbs, turns, and descents. After a meandering trajectory, they can execute a right turn and initiate a descent path to Baghdad Airport. The left wing was badly damaged and since most of it was getting consumed by fire it created a drag effect causing the plane to slowly bank to the left. Despite all the troubles, the pilots’ actions are successful and they can now see the airport in front of them. During the approach, the landing gear is extended manually since the plane lost its hydraulics. Lowering the landing gear creates more drag and destabilizes the entire balance of the plane. Everything that the flight crew managed to do was now a waste

The plane pitches upwards and starts losing speed fast. Even though the plane is nearly at stall speed, the captain idles the engines intending to level the nose but if he loses too much speed the plane will fall out of the air and crash. Luckily the nose lowers and the speed is under control but the plane is close enough to the runway and too high to successfully land. The crew must turn around, fly for 23 miles, and commence the approach. Another problem is time is running out and the left wing is getting consumed by the fire. After 15 minutes, the plane is back on its approach this time at the right altitude. At 400 feet, the plane is upset by turbulence, and the right wing dips. With thrust adjustments, the roll is controlled and the airplane touches down as the crew immediately deploys full reverses. It touches down off the center line and veers off the runway continuing on soft ground till it stops after 3000 feet.

Get the video footage :www.1001crash.com/telechvideo-video-dhl_A300_v-lg-2-descr-oui.html

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