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And, what was done with them subsequently?

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    $\begingroup$ I was going to nominate the Gimli Glider, since it was only minimally damaged. But refreshing my memory, it turns out there was enough straight-line on the racetrack to take off from, so they just patched it up and flew it out. Noted for reference in case it occurs to anyone else. $\endgroup$ – Graham Jun 27 at 10:06
  • $\begingroup$ Loosely related question about "can an airplane ever be stranded while airport construction/closure is occurring"? : aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/31802/… $\endgroup$ – Cody P Jun 27 at 21:40
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    $\begingroup$ this question got now 20 answers. I am protecting it because the answer seems to be unequivocally "yes", and no more examples are needed. If people feel like a complete list is needed, the answer that will be accepted can be turned into a wiki answer. $\endgroup$ – Federico Jun 28 at 6:51
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    $\begingroup$ Quite a number of the answers here are, while interesting, about cases where "...then they flew out the next day", in other words quite clearly not examples of having landed in locations from which the plane could never take off again! $\endgroup$ – Daniele Procida Jun 28 at 7:14
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    $\begingroup$ @Daniele feel free to flag them as "not an answer" and leave a comment about that $\endgroup$ – Federico Jun 28 at 7:54

13 Answers 13

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TACA Flight 110 made a deadstick landing on a grass levee. Engines got replaced and it took off using a nearby NASA facility.

enter image description here

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TACA_Flight_110

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    $\begingroup$ How did they get it there? $\endgroup$ – Skyler Jun 27 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ @Skyler Gravity mostly $\endgroup$ – mattumotu Jun 27 at 15:40
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    $\begingroup$ +1 This, to me, is the best answer so far. Other answers mainly point out airplanes that were never intended to be flown again, landed in their locations purposefully without passengers and then turned into museums. I think this example is what OP was looking for. $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Aubrey Jun 27 at 18:12
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    $\begingroup$ @mattumotu And a hack of a luck! And for their sake, a hack of a skill too! $\endgroup$ – yo' Jun 28 at 8:21
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    $\begingroup$ This flight was also featured on the "Air Crash Investigations" TV programme which used the FVR and ATC recordings. $\endgroup$ – Rowan Hawkins Jun 28 at 14:08
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Sure!

An Ex-Interflug Ilyushin Il-62 was landed on the 900 m runway of Stölln/Rhinow airport (EDOR) in the German countryside in 1989 to be turned into a tourist attraction. Here is a short video of the event. As can be witnessed from the clouds of dirt, the pilot Heinz-Dieter Kallbach wasn't too concerned about using reverse thrust - the engines were not meant to run ever again.

If the Dornier Wal counts as a large aeroplane (it certainly did in its time), the two Amundsen airplanes N-24 and N-25 qualify also, one even twice: Both were used in 1925 for an attempt to reach the north pole by air but had to make an emergency landing on ice near the 88th parallel. Since N-24 had suffered damage during take-off (it had sprung a leak), it was left on the ice when Amundsen and his crew flew back with N-25 after having built an emergency runway in weeks of hard work in which they moved an estimated amount of 500 tons of snow. N-25 went on to make a historic East-West atlantic crossing in 1930 and was again landed successfully in a location from where it could not take off in 1932 - this time on the snowy banks of Isar river in Munich in order to be put on display in a museum (picture source).

N-25 on ice

Another memorable example is the Spantax pilot Rodolfo Bay who in 1967 mistook the Finkenwerder airport for Hamburg Fuhlsbüttel airport. He landed his Convair Coronado 990 on a runway (1360 m) which was technically too short for the landing (1650 m according to the flight manual). He even managed to fly the empty bird to Fuhlsbüttel - again with less runway than technically required.

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  • $\begingroup$ Landed without damage is specified in the question. The first two fail. $\endgroup$ – WBT Jul 2 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ @WBT: For the second one, N-24 was damaged during takeoff, not landing, and N-25 couldn't be flown out again until they built it a new runway, so it looks like it counts. $\endgroup$ – Sean Oct 2 at 5:59
  • $\begingroup$ N-25 is the third example, and I still think the N-24 fails because of the damage regardless of when that damage occurred. However, if the N-24 helps tell the story motivating N-25, it might still fit in the answer. $\endgroup$ – WBT Oct 2 at 14:21
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The various Space Shuttle Orbiters did this all the time.

They mostly got piggyback rides back to their launch facilities.

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    $\begingroup$ I love the lateral thinking on this one. Not sure the shuttle is an aeroplane, but... $\endgroup$ – T.J. Crowder Jun 27 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ @T.J.Crowder I think for the purposes of this question, we can be generous and consider the Orbiter to be an overweight glider with a really, really, really poor (for being used as a glider) L/D ratio. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Jun 27 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ @aCVn - Yeah, I considered saying "Not sure the shuttle is an aeroplane so much as a brick with a slightly improved glide ratio..." but I felt like I was taking a potshot at the orbiter. :-) $\endgroup$ – T.J. Crowder Jun 27 at 14:51
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    $\begingroup$ I dont think the Orbiter qualifies for the spirit of the question. The shuttle Orbiter was not intended to ever take off normally, under its own power from anywhere, no matter where it landed. It was really a rocket glider. The term "large aeroplane" used is unfortunately way too broad. $\endgroup$ – Rowan Hawkins Jun 28 at 14:41
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    $\begingroup$ It just needed two JATO bottles, droppable fuel tank and D check before every flight. $\endgroup$ – h22 Jun 29 at 15:08
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An Aerolineas Argentinas' Boeing 737-200 was hijacked by terrorists in 1975 and made to land in a farm. The government took 10 days to unstuck the aircraft from the mud and to move and install a makeshift aluminum runway (a mesh-like thing that was usually used for ice operations) and take-off at less than minimum weight.

The first officer was a glider pilot (I knew him personally, although we never spoke about this episode), so he was used to landing on random fields. A bit different than with a glider, though!

LV-JNE

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ That's a lot of smoke coming off that aluminum runway. $\endgroup$ – pr1268 Jun 28 at 3:09
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    $\begingroup$ You know that's dirt, right? $\endgroup$ – Martin Argerami Jun 28 at 3:12
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    $\begingroup$ What about the "...installed a makeshift aluminum runway" part? Regardless, I was being just a tad facetious. ;-) $\endgroup$ – pr1268 Jun 28 at 3:14
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe I should have clarified that: it was more like a mesh. I'll edit. $\endgroup$ – Martin Argerami Jun 28 at 3:16
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A war-surplus B-17, named "Lacey Lady", was landed on an Oregon highway to be converted into a roadside restaurant and fuel station. I suppose it could have taken off from there again, if anyone had been suitably inclined…

There have also been several incidents where an airliner made an emergency landing on runways or fields that were below normal minimum standards, but by careful management of takeoff weight and other risk factors, was successfully flown out again. Notable examples include TACA Flight 110 and the wrong-airport landing of the Dreamlifter at Jabara.

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    $\begingroup$ Those are all examples of the exact opposite of the what the question asked for - cases in which landings were made (whether planned or forced) into locations that meant the plane could never leave again by flying away. $\endgroup$ – Daniele Procida Jun 27 at 6:48
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    $\begingroup$ Well, The TACA 737 landed on a grass field, and then it was towed to a nearby former runway which happened to be there by chance. I think it is the most appropriate answer here. $\endgroup$ – busdriver Jun 27 at 7:36
  • $\begingroup$ Downvoted for the second paragraph -- all those incidents fail the "could not be flown away from" criteria. $\endgroup$ – Mark Jun 28 at 20:11
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A B52 is pretty big right?

When a B52 was acquired by the Imperial War Museum, Duxford (a former second world war airbase now museum with a 1500m runway). They had to use chutes and a few practice flybys before landing. It's now on permanent display.

They had to do the same with a Concorde I believe!

Video:

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    $\begingroup$ Duxford's Concord was the last aircraft to land there before the runway was shortened to accommodate the construction of the M11 motorway. I believe the post-M11 runway would have been too short for Concord to land. Pre-M11, the runway was 1829m. Duxford's website report the current runway has a usable length of 1199m. $\endgroup$ – Montgomery 'monty' Jones Jun 27 at 15:40
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    $\begingroup$ I moved to Cambridge in 1999. I thought something looked odd about that video, and then I realised - there's no M11 at the end of the runway! $\endgroup$ – Graham Jun 27 at 15:52
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    $\begingroup$ Shortening the runway after the landing is cheating! $\endgroup$ – Rich Jun 27 at 18:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Rich I don't think either could have taken off even from the original runway. The shortest I know of a Concorde taking off from is Leeds-Bradford, which is 2200m+. $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Jun 28 at 11:50
  • $\begingroup$ Doesn't the B-52 need the chute even for a normal landing? $\endgroup$ – Sean Oct 2 at 6:24
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The Alraigo Incident

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alraigo_incident

Harrier had to land on a container ship after running out of fuel.
Could potentially have flown it off if refueled and re-watered (for engine cooling in VTOL) but would also have had to be recovered to a suitable position as it slid and landed on top of a van.

Ship ended up sailing into harbour with the jet still on board.

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    $\begingroup$ This was damaged then? The OP is looking for UNDAMMAGED. $\endgroup$ – Rowan Hawkins Jun 28 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ Doesn't sound damaged if it just slid back and rested on a van. Maybe some minor damage, but probably not "can't fly again" level. Wikipedia said it was "salvageable", but that's a little vague. $\endgroup$ – JPhi1618 Jun 28 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ @RowanHawkins one of the articles linked from wikipedia shows the aircraft. It appears in good nick, just positioned really awkwardly. Maybe some scrapes and dents, nothing a lick of paint and some filler and a carpet knife won't fix :) $\endgroup$ – jwenting Jul 1 at 3:45
  • $\begingroup$ It definitely flew again - here is some history of the aircraft. web.archive.org/web/20150806043252/http://www.airsceneuk.org.uk/… The incident is described a little over halfway down the page, alongside the third image. It barely damaged the van, let alone itself airspacemag.com/military-aviation/… $\endgroup$ – Baldrickk Jul 2 at 12:42
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Qantas landed 747 for a museum on a 1800x30m runway. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-08/qantas-jumbo-arrives-at-wollongong/6288748

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    $\begingroup$ I'm pretty sure an empty 747 with just enough fuel to make it to the next larger airport could easily take off from a 1800m runway again. $\endgroup$ – Bianfable Jun 27 at 7:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Bianfable depends on the runway strength. That does of course also become a factor in the landing. $\endgroup$ – jwenting Jun 27 at 7:40
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    $\begingroup$ If you can't land and takeoff a pretty much empty 747 from an 1800m runway, go home. Have a drink. Consider what else you might do with your life. :) $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez Jun 27 at 10:16
  • $\begingroup$ @jwenting I would think runway strength would be much more a concern on landing than taking off. The airplane puts less weight on the runway during takeoff than it puts on the ramp just sitting there. $\endgroup$ – reirab Jun 28 at 8:21
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    $\begingroup$ @JuanJimenez Yeah, the roll of the KLM 747s at Princess Juliana was only slightly more than that full of passengers, cargo, and enough fuel to cross the Atlantic with reserves. $\endgroup$ – reirab Jun 28 at 8:22
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KLM flew a Fokker 70 to Lelystad (EHLE) airport to become part of the museum collection there. It wasn't legal to take off from there, though it probably could have managed (business jets use the field at times).

They for a while considered flying a 747 there to the same museum but this was not done because the runway wasn't strong enough to take the aircraft's weight. It could have landed within the runway length (damaging the runway in the process), but could never have taken off again. In the end the 747 was dismantled and transported on barges and trucks, then reassembled at the museum where it still stands today (and can be rented out as a venue for receptions).

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Not sure if "large" enough, but most planes from an aircraft carrier need to be "catapulted" in order to takeoff, not just "flown" (although they also usually land with aid from an arrestor)

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    $\begingroup$ Nice idea - a bit of a frame challenge for the definition of "take off" to include whether it can do it under its own power. :) $\endgroup$ – Graham Jun 27 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ This answer wins. Many aircraft could land unarrested on an aircraft carrier and have no hope of taking off again- haven't there been Soviet defections this way? I bet if a P-3 Orion had "the Nimitz or the sea" to choose from, they could get it stopped in the available deck, but it would come off by crane. $\endgroup$ – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jun 29 at 16:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Harper now try that with a P-8 :) $\endgroup$ – jwenting Jul 1 at 3:39
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A Boeing 727-100 was landed at Meigs Field in Chicago (runway length 1,189 m) in 1992. It was then loaded onto a barge and (eventually) installed as an exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, where it remains to this day.

It is not clear whether the 727-100 could have taken off again from this runway. In one of the news interviews linked above, the pilot who landed the plane jokes that if he had to try it, he'd want to chain the airplane down at one end of the runway, run up to full power, and then cut the chain.

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    $\begingroup$ Speaking of Meigs Field... 16 planes became unable to take off from there on March 30, 2003. $\endgroup$ – fooot Jun 27 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ "chain the airplane down at one end of the runway, run up to full power, and then cut the chain" I wonder why a standard short-field take-off would be any worse from a takeoff performance perspective, but that's a different question. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Jun 27 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ The Boeing 727 was designed to take off legally from a 4500-foot runway. If you don't care about your safety margin, the 3900-foot runway of Meigs Field isn't a problem. $\endgroup$ – Mark Jun 28 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ @fooot : If that had been an Answer (with a reference), I would have upvoted it. (It's not a comment as it does not suggest an improvement to Michael Seifert's answer.) $\endgroup$ – Eric Towers Jun 29 at 23:49
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Boeing 747 G-BDXJ (wikipedia link) landed in Dunsfold Airfield on 25 May 2005. Dunsfold runway is listed as 5,496ft (1,675m). I suppose it may be feasible to take off on that runway, but that wouldn't be easy. That 747 was never intended to fly again anyway.

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  • $\begingroup$ They've also swapped off the engines now. Don't think it's happening $\endgroup$ – Danimal Jun 28 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ Yep. I've actually been inside that plane. The engines seem fake anyway. As far I could tell, that airframe doesn't have engines any more. $\endgroup$ – Aleks G Jun 28 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ I've not been in - but I can see it out my window :-) I think they were sold for a decent amount $\endgroup$ – Danimal Jun 28 at 15:48
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How large is "large"?

I grew up just south of E.W. "Cotton" Woods Airport, a 2400' runway in Columbia, MO. My father told me some time in the 1970s that a jet-powered aircraft (I remember him saying a Learjet, though that could have been him using the name generically) had made an accidental or emergency landing at the airport, and needed to be hauled out on a flatbed after having the wings removed.

A Google search just now did not turn up anything about this, and I don't know how or where to search official incident reports to confirm.

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    $\begingroup$ If you know the exact airport involved, perhaps by airport identifier, and have a rough idea of when it happened, you could contact the NTSB (because it'd be in the US) and ask. If it happened in the 1970s, they should have a record of it, though it might not have been digitized. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Jun 27 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ There is no record on the NTSB database of any incidents or accidents involving a Learjet in Columbia MO in the 1970's. $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez Jun 27 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ Large would probably mean a “large transport category” aircraft certified under 14 CFR 25 or equivalent. Any Learjet (and most jets) would fall under that definition. $\endgroup$ – J Walters Jun 27 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ It seems the original learjet had a MTOW 1kg under the threshold for "transport category". Later models were heavier though. $\endgroup$ – Peter Green Jun 28 at 21:04

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