ULYANOVSK, October 25. /TASS/. A total of 20 Ilyushin Il-76 heavy transport planes demonstrated landings at steep angles and at super-short distances at the aerodrome in Ulyanovsk in the Volga Region, Russia’s Military Transport Aviation Chief Lieutenant-General Vladimir Benediktov said on Wednesday.
This most complex maneuver dubbed the ‘Afghan approach’ was invented by Soviet military aviation pilots during combat operations in Afghanistan to dodge missile attacks from the ground.
"The crews of two military transport air regiments performed the landing in a single transport formation at reduced intervals and the maximum descent gradient (angle). The so-called ‘Afghan approach’ was developed during the years [of the war] in Afghanistan and was successfully used to rule out the possibility for the enemy’s air defense capabilities to shoot down the plane," the commander said.
The ‘Afghan approach’ requires true skills from the pilot and maximum concentration, he noted.
A plane weighing about 190 tonnes descends at the maximum of its capabilities and at a large angle, the commander said, pointing out that such flights should be performed in clear skies but the crews successfully handled the task on Wednesday despite the cloudiness.
"This is one of the most intensive techniques of performing take-offs and landings. There were some critical remarks during the drills but I can dutifully say that there are young pilots in the crews who fly skillfully together with experienced pilots," Benediktov said.
The crews of Il-76 planes have made landings in Ulyanovsk without preliminary training. Such intensive landings have never been performed at the Ulyanovsk airfield before, the commander said.