Captain Alexander Akopov, a Ukrainian captain of Turkish airline AtlasGlobal has been hailed a hero for saving the lives of 127 passengers as he made a ‘blind’ landing after a hail storm damaged the aircraft.
Shortly after its departure from Istanbul Ataturk International Airport for Erkan, Cyprus, the Airbus 320 that Captain Akopov was piloting was battered by egg-sized hailstones.
Aside from plane’s cockpit and wings, the rough weather also caused damages to its autopilot function.
With a damaged plane and no autopilot function to depend on, the pilot relied on his experience and skills to make a safe landing and save the lives of the 127 passengers onboard the plane. He was able to guide the aircraft through the use of flight deck’s instrument readings and the radio signal from the airport.
Airport employees doubted that the aircraft will be able to make a safe landing while passengers were already screaming as the plane started to descend.
However, all their worries were wiped out as the aircraft made a rough but safe landing on the airport’s wet runway.
None other than the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, praised Captain Akopov for his bravery. Aside from that, he was also awarded a medal for the courage he displayed.