The flight in question is most probably an evaluation/calibration flight for radio navigation systems at Ust-Kut. The aircraft is a Yak-40 special version designated for such tasks:
Aviamuseum - Yak-40 "Calibrator"
The issue has always been human perception. Pilots are tasked with trying to make great landings. One way they do that is with peripheral vision. If the runway is too wide, they lose that extra clue on when to roundout and flare. They may flare too early and stall the aircraft too high above the runway. This perceptual clue is more important for ...
As a pilot, switching from my training on a 50 ft runway to landing frequently on a 150 ft wide runway was slightly challenging.
The FAA describes two illusions:
Looks closer on final and you will tend to float and flare high.
Looks farther away on final and you will tend to approach at a higher rate of descent.
It looks like a low pass, for unknown reasons but more likely a demonstration of some kind than an runway inspection. That's just a guess, of course, but I think it's the simplest thing that explains what the picture seems to show:
Gear retracted means it isn't landing
Level flight means it isn't taking off (probably)
Very low altitude means it isn't asking ...
While exact distances & times vary depending on which airport and what runway configuration you're working with, the most reliable answer to the question is, usually on initial contact with the Approach controller.
As an example, here is the SITTH2 RNAV arrival into Atlanta (pdf link):
Inbound to ATL, you'll be cleared for that arrival, and you'll know ...
At 30-50 miles out, pilots will be listening to the ATIS (or reading it, if Digital ATIS is available), and that will usually list the instrument approach(es) in use. Most importantly, that tells pilots which direction the airport is operating, which might not match the winds since jets can easily operate with a strong crosswind or even a light tailwind. ...
Is it possible to perform a 1g barrel roll in an airliner? Possibly. If the load on the airframe is kept to one positive g, it should be possible. Bob Hoover might have tried it if given the chance. Boeing lead test pilot Tex Johnson did try it at least once on a demonstration flight.
Is it likely to ever happen (again)? No. No owner/operator would allow it. ...