A British Handley Page Victor Cold War Bomber, that was retired in 1993 accidentally took off during a photo shooting at Bruntingthorpe Airfield (England). The Victor was only meant to have slowly taxied down the runway and stop for a photoshoot, but the co-pilot had accidentally slammed on the throttle, sending it 150ft up into the sky.
The 70 year old retired RAF pilot, who last flew a Victor in the 1980s, wrestled with the plane’s controls to steer it away from potential disaster.
He landed on one wheel and in a cloud of dust, but without a scratch – on grass at the end of the runway.
Hailed a hero after an inquiry into the near disaster he said it was “the most terrifying nine seconds of my life”. “I was petrified. There wasn’t time to think about anything. Everything was pure instinct on that day. It all happened extremely fast. I was shouting at the co-pilot to pull the throttle back. For some reason he never did and I saw the nose rise into the air, I thought ‘Oh God here we go, how are we going to get out of this one?”
“So I had to make a snap decision: “Do I try to land the plane or do I fly round in a circle and land properly?”
“I put the nose down and noticed that we were well and truly airborne but because of the crosswind we were not over the runway.”
“I thought, ‘where are we and what can we do to rescue the situation?”
“Thankfully, I managed to pitch the plane back towards the runway and away from any spectators.”
“My only concern was getting the plane down as quickly and safely as possible.”
“Although I touched down on the grass I still managed to keep it under control. All that was left to do was get out and kiss the ground.”
“Nobody could really believe what had happened. There were people slapping me on the back and congratulating me on not crashing the thing and ruining the day.”
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