Who wants to be inside a 70,000 kg tube of metal falling from the sky with landing systems not working as they should? On that premise , you can imagine what was going through the minds of the 94 passengers and 19 crew of an Iran Air Boeing 727 on October .
On the final leg of the journey from Moscow to Tehran, Captain Hooshang Shahbazi found that the nose landing gear was stuck and would not lower itself. All secondary measures like using manual hydraulics to force it down failed to solve the problem.
Originally scheduled to land at the Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, the pilot decided to divert the flight to Mehrabad Airport. Mehrabad Airport has multiple runways compared to the original airport which only had one – an incident there would have prevented all departures and landings.
Video footage of the incident shows the plane, which was 40 years old at the time, coming in to land on a normal trajectory towards the runway lined with emergency vehicles. The two sets of wheels under the wings of the plane touch down as normal but the pilot keeps the nose in the air as the plane hurtles down the tarmac.
A full 30 seconds later, when the plane has slowed down to a safer speed, Captain Shahbazi finally allows the nose to sink towards the runway gradually. This was done to reduce the chances of high speed and friction to cause the plane to veer off the runway, thereby increasing the odds of preventing catastrophic damage to the fuselage which might result in a fire.
When the plane came to a standstill, the passengers cheered and clapped loudly. We can imagine the relief they felt at the almost textbook landing. Not a single injury to the crew and passengers was reported and everyone was evacuated from the stricken craft safely.