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erickrueger

Russian Tu-154 lands safely despite control problems

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I saw these over at over at nycaviation.com.Apparently, this aircraft was being test flown after being stored for 10 years or so. Shortly after takeoff they started having flight control problems.I'm guessing the pilots had a little chat with the mechanic that cleared this one for flight.:(

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Holy crap. I was struggling to think what might be wrong with the thing that would make it fly like that, and I suspect it could only be one of two things, either they lost the hydraulics and were flying it off engine thrust vectoring, or it has a control surface jammed hard over - rudder, aileron or possibly an asymmetric flap deployment - and they are having to counter the roll. Either way it seems they were having to sideslip it down, and they'd have to keep the speed on too because that thing will have a minimum control crossover speed that is pretty high I should imagine.In any case that was a great bit of flying by those Russkie pilots.Al

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It's too bad you couldn't actually see the touchdown. The rollout looked normal so it must have been somewhat controlled.

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Russia does seem to produce some unusually skilled & cool-acting pilots. Most will have seen this mid-air collision video, I guess...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ6bwylElsw

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Most will have seen this mid-air collision video, I guess...
Seen it? I can do better than that, I've got the ejection seat from one of those two aircraft LOLAl

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It looks like a dutch roll...so could also be a yaw damper problem I suppose.With swept wings it's a bigger issue.Amazing video...

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Of course this highlights an annoyance with the media too. With the possible exception of the airliner that ditched in the Hudson, the media at large hardly ever picks up on airliner incidents with a happy outcome. When one of them plows in, they are all over it like ghouls. Joe Blow probably knows about the DC-10 that crashed at Sioux City with no hydraulics (again some amazing piloting in the circumstances), but did he hear anywhere as much about the DHL Airbus with the same problem that was successfully landed in one piece after being hit by a SAM? And that one rolled to a halt in a minefield too, is that not just as interesting a story?I wish the media would follow up on stories such as this - where the outcome was a happy one - with the same level of enthusiasm they display for stories where the outcome is tragic. They are no less dramatic.Al

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It looks like a dutch roll...so could also be a yaw damper problem I suppose.With swept wings it's a bigger issue. Amazing video...
I thought the yaw damper was there more for convenience and ride comfort than anything else, and that failure was non-critical.Cheers,- jahman.

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I thought the yaw damper was there more for convenience and ride comfort than anything else, and that failure was non-critical.Cheers,- jahman.
Convenience & comfort??? There are quite a few planes which aren't even allowed to fly without an operating yaw damper.E.g. the CRJ100 can develop an extremely dangerous divergent dutch roll in landing configuration without yaw damper.

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I've read somewhere that the Rudder may have been the only fully functional control on this Tu-154B2. Shortly after take-off the control system went crazy, with a possible aileron feedback problem - where the system treated any aileron movement as an external force and attempted to correct, thus causing a serious problem. I don't know if this is what happened, but it appears to fit-in with how I've seen the plane fly in the video clips. If true it may mean the pilots had to use the rudder heavily to get the aircraft under some kind of control to bring her down safely. Under normal operations the rudder pedals are rarely used on Tu-154s during flight as it can cause a dangerous sideslip.My first assumption, when seeing the videos, was that something may have gone wrong with the rudder, with it swinging from side to side and the pilots having to compensate with the ailerons.Whatever the cause, it's a fine piece of flying landing her safely in one piece.

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