August 01, 2017

After giant hail — the size of golf balls — shattered the windshield of the Airbus A320, AtlasGlobal Captain Alexander Akopov successfully landed the aircraft at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on Thursday, saving 121 passengers and six crew members on board.

The difficult maneuver earned him the Ukrainian Order For Courage back in his home country, the Independent reported.

Akopov used a “blind” landing technique to land the plane, using instruments to guide him as the plane’s autopilot was also damaged by hail. The hail also left dents on the nose of the aircraft.

The freak hailstorm began about 10 minutes after take-off as the plane was flying from Istanbul to Ercan, Cyprus.

“Our locator did not show this weather disaster, this is why it happened. It was hard, but the main thing is that people are alive,” Akopov told local media, as reported by the Independent.

“I have been flying for 30 years. Well, did you see the plane landing? Was it okay? The passengers are alive. It is normal. This is our professional reliability,” he said.

Just another day in the life of a hero.

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