Date & Time:
Dec 24, 1958
Moscow – Uralsk – Aktyubinsk
During the takeoff roll at Uralsk Airport, the captain decided to activate the afterburner without informing the rest of the crew. The takeoff roll was longer than expected and he completed the rotation after a run of 750 meters. After takeoff, while climbing to a height of 2-3 meters at a speed of 160 km/h, the captain prematurely ordered the retraction of the landing gear. In a certain confusion, the board mechanic shut down both engines instead of retracting the gears. The aircraft flew for about 605 meters then descended to the ground, rolled for 211 meters and struck a railway embankment and telephone pole. On impact, the airplane lost its undercarriage and slid for several yards before coming to rest. While all five crew members were injured, the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.
Poor flight preparation on part of the flying crew and lack of crew resources management and coordination. The captain took the decision to activate the afterburner system without any announcement to the rest of the crew and during the takeoff roll and not prior to takeoff which is against the published procedures. This caused a certain confusion in the cockpit.