Captain Alexander Akopov is a hero after successfully conducting an emergency landing of a severely hail-damaged Atlas Jet plane at the Istanbul Atatürk International Airport – without autopilot.
The hailstorm, which took place on on Thursday , caused extreme damage to the plane’s exterior by shattering the windscreen and causing zero visibility. Akopov was then forced to land the plane ‘blind’ in Istanbul, according to Sky News.
His skill and bravery saved 121 passengers and 6 crew who “broke out into applause as the plane came to a halt”.
“The plane took off from Ercan International Airport in northern Cyprus, but Akopov came into difficulty shortly afterwards when a storm broke out and large hailstones destroyed the cockpit’s windscreen,” says Sky News.
Akopov was given permission to fly the jet into Istanbul’s airport, where he successfully landed the damaged aircraft despite not being able to see anything.
The plane’s nose was also extensively damaged after taking a beating from massive hailstones, which also “disabled the aircraft’s autopilot”.
“It was hard, but the main thing is that people are alive,” he adds.