A Soviet Pilot Tried To Win A Bet And Killed 70 People

Grace Higgins | February 4th, 2019

When it comes down to it there are only a couple of cases in history where pilot error was the sole reason for a fatal plane crash. One of those occasions is when a Russian Aeroflot pilot decided he could land a plane blind. Aeroflot Flight 6502 ended up in a deadly and fiery crash that caused 70 people in Soviet Russia to lose their lives.


The surprising thing was that at the time not many people actually knew about the crash, the KGB had strict control over the media and was able to keep the images out of the public view completely. If it were not for the Fire Department Chief Colonel AK Karpov who decided to quickly smuggle some images out of the scene before the KGB officers could take them all, we may never have known about this crash. Karpov’s smuggled photos turned up into the public realm many years later and that is what made the terrible crash during Soviet times public knowledge.

It was October 20th, 1986, 87 passengers and 7 crew members took off heading to Grozny via Samara when Captain Kliuyev made an insanely stupid bet with his first officer. He insisted that he could land the TU-134-A aircraft completely blind, he said he needed no visual confirmation to see where the ground was. At 1,300 feet he ordered for the curtains to be drawn, claiming he would have no problems whatsoever to land the plane being completely blind. Captain Kliuyev planned to just use aerial instruments to make his landing.

Kliuyev ignored all the alarms that the instruments set off and even when the air traffic controller suggested he was coming in too fast, he still pushed on with his stupid attempt. The plane came down extremely unstable and as a result, touched the ground moving way to fast. This caused the plane to flip over and after scraping down the runway, it burst into flames.

Due to Captain Kliuyev stupidity and overconfidence 70 people died, during his trial, it was revealed he broke every rule in the book while attempting his bling landing. And the worst part? The man only spent 6 years in prison before being released.

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