On August 5, S7 Airlines (a oneworld member airline) had an incident while taking off from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport to Simferopol. Flight S7263 was operated by a Boeing 737-800 with the registration code VQ-BKV.
The plane took off from runway 32L and flew all the way to Simferopol in a flight time of about 2hr10min.
A runway inspection of Moscow’s DME Airport then determined that there was glass debris and damaged lights at the end of the runway. At that point they reviewed the footage and figured out what happened. An inspection of the S7 737 was also carried out upon arrival, and revealed that three tires had been damaged, and that the landing gear had glass in it.
Here’s the video footage of this incident:
What’s crazy is that 32L isn’t a short runway — it’s 11,483 feet long, which is about double the length that a 737 requires under normal circumstances.
Obviously something went very wrong here, though even so, you’d think with 11,000+ feet this wouldn’t have come down to the last few feet of runway.
An investigation is being carried out into what happened, though AvHerald reports that this had to do with the takeoff weight being miscalculated, in one of two ways:
- The crew incorrectly computed the takeoff weight by 15 tons, which impacted the takeoff performance (the 737-800’s maximum takeoff weight is somewhere around 90 tons)
- The crew inadvertently entered the plane’s zero fuel weight instead of takeoff weight into the onboard computer (the plane can hold up to about 23 tons of fuel)
Suffice to say that this could have been catastrophic if they were any further off. For that matter, if there was any terrain or other obstacles nearby, it could have ended worse even under the same circumstances.
These kinds of situations are rare, though not totally unheard of.
For example, here’s video footage of a Royal Air Maroc 737 struggling to take off from Frankfurt Airport a couple of years back:
Then there’s the story of the Qatar Airways 777 that hit runway lights on takeoff while departing Miami Airport in 2015. This was determined to be due to the pilots taking off on the intersection of the runway, rather than using the full runway length (which is needed for a fully loaded 777). The plane flew all the way to Doha, though as it turned out the plane had a 46cm tear in the fuselage, as well as 90 dents and scratches.
While Qatar Airways’ CEO initially tried to write this off as something that happens all the time and isn’t a big deal, the pilots did end up getting fired.