Aircraft Crash Videos

Posted by in Aviation, Safety

The Thunderbird crash entry gets about ten times as many hits as any other page on this site, so I figured these other aviation “incident” videos might be of interest. They’ve been gathered from various sites around the internet over the years.

This entry started off as a way to share an amazing slow motion video clip of a helicopter main rotor blade in flight, but I’ll save that one for another day.

737 making a gear-up landingIf the gear is going to fail on a 737, this is one of the worst ways for it to happen — one main landing gear is up, the other is down. But the pilot does a great job of keeping the aircraft on the runway. There is something to be said for fixed gear… (61 second mpeg, 1.9 mb)


747 landing at Kai Tak Intl Airport in Hong KongHong Kong’s Kai Tak International Airport (now closed) was legendary for its approach procedure, which was offset 90 degrees from the runway heading. Pilots of even the largest jumbo jets had to make a tight turn at low altitude just seconds before touching down. Here, a Korean Airlines 747 makes what, believe it or not, is a typical approach into this airport. (18 second mpeg, 891 kb)

Airbus A320 lands in the treesHere’s a brand new Air France Airbus A320 making what was supposed to be a fly-by at a 1998 airshow. The pilot claims the highly automated control system on the A320 failed to respond properly to commands. The official investigation blamed pilot error as the cause, but it was later revealed that the aircraft’s black boxes had been switched after the crash. What really happened? Who knows. (24 second mpeg, 983 kb)

B-52 crashes at the Fairchild AFBThe flight crew of this B-52 was attemping a low speed, low altitude, 90 degree bank in a B-52 during a rehearsal for the 1994 Fairchild AFB airshow. The maneuver clearly exceeded the aircraft’s capabilities and published limitations, with predictable results. (26 second mpeg, 1.0 mb)

News helicopter makes a hard landing after the tail rotor failsHelicopter accidents can be quite spectacular. Thankfully, everyone walked away from this Aerospatiale AS-350BA news helicopter after it made a hard landing on top of a building in Brooklyn, NY. The preliminary NTSB accident report is here. (28 second mpeg, 2.0 mb)

Sea Knight helicopter botches a shipboard landingA high percentage of the nation’s helicopter fleet are operated by the military, which require a high level of performance from their aircraft. As you can imagine, this results in some interesting incidents. Here, a Sea Knight approaches a ship for landing. The pilot comes in a bit short, so he tries to back off for another attempt. But the left rear landing gear gets caught up on a safety barrier and the helicopter overturns right into the water. (79 seconds, wmv format, 2.6 mb)

Crash during a commuter aircraft demonstration“Flight demonstrations” often involve high-risk flight profiles. This is because the pilot’s goal is to show the full range of the aircraft’s performance envelope. This commuter aircraft, for example, was being demonstrated for potential buyers when a high performance landing attempt went awry. I can only assume the manufacturer didn’t fare too well in the sales department on this particular day. (4 second mpeg, 789 kb)

F-15 mid-air collision during a training exerciseThere’s nothing like a mid-air collision to ruin your day. In this case, two F-15s try to share the same airspace at the same time. Is it just me, or does the pilot sound a little stressed when he makes his mayday call? (20 seconds, wmv format, 693 kb)

Pilot attempts to fly a helicopter without any flight trainingPut this one in the Darwin Award nominee category. I’m going to go out on a limb here and unequivocably state that if you want to solo a helicopter, you really should get some flight training first. The only thing I can’t figure out is how someone with such a low IQ acquired the money to buy a Hughes 300 helicopter. Another victim of low interest rates, perhaps? (68 seconds, wmv format, 2.2 mb)

A helicopter attempts to tow a disabled boatHelicopters are great for many things, but towing disabled boats back to the dock is apparently not one of them. It’s a miracle the people in the boat were not hit with flying debris. I wonder if the pilot had to take a “709 ride” with the FAA after this. And if he did, what would the FAA test him on? The proper way to tow things with your rotorcraft? (26 seconds, wmv format, 326 kb)

Two Russian fighters collide during an airshowI find it tough to tell the latest generations of MiG and Sukhoi fighters apart. Be that as it may, here’s a clip of two Russian fighters colliding during an airshow performance. Amazingly, both pilots survive.(33 second mpeg, 2.2 mb)

An astounding demonstration of skill with a remote-controlled helicopterIf you only watch one video, make it this one. The file size is large, but it’s worth the wait. Dan sent this to me with a note saying it was the wackiest RC demonstration he’d ever seen. I couldn’t put it any better than that. Another video of this pilot at work is available here.(5:31, wmv format, 14.7 mb)

Sea Stallion cuts off it's own refueling probeThis excellent video demonstrates both the resilience of the Sea Stallion’s main rotor blades and the ease with which you can end up cutting off parts of your own aircraft if you’re not careful. Look at how that refueling basket flops around in the breeze. Between the rotor wash from the helicopter and the prop blast from the C-130’s engines, I’m surprised refueling a helo in flight works at all. (12 second mpeg, 3.1 mb)

Sea King autorotation goes sour?These clips are so short, sometimes it’s hard to tell exactly what precipitates the carnage. In this case, I’d guess the pilot was practicing an autorotation — or maybe experienced a real engine failure — and wasn’t able to arrest the descent rate in time. Once the main rotor blade ends up in the dirt, it’s all over. (15 second mpeg, 1.5 mb)

Sukhoi SU-26 flying under a bridge invertedDon’t try this at home! Aerobatic pilot Jurgis Kairys flies his Sukhoi SU-26 “Old Faithful” under a bridge — inverted — in Kaunas, Lithuania in 2001. Apparently they don’t have minimum safe altitude rules in the former Soviet republics. Note to self: gotta do some flying in Lithuania… (30 second mpeg, 1.4 mb)