When the German Air Force, the Luftwaffe, that is, announced that it was retiring one of its C-160 cargo planes to a museum at a public airport, plane spotters were ready and waiting for its arrival. Though the video has been around, it has recently reemerged as a great reminder that low-flying planes and people underneath them can be a lethal combination. In this case, it was happily only nearly lethal.
Plane spotting, while not a super popular pastime in the United States, is a huge hobby in Europe, and German plane spotters are among the most avid.
In the video, the plane is shown approaching the runway at Ballenstedt, Germany, where it was to be retired and put on permanent display. As it approaches, it seems like it’s flying too low, and, indeed, it sinks a little and hits a raised perimeter road with its main gear, bounces over a ditch at the end of the runway and touches down on the runway as if nothing had happened.
Only it had. And in the process, it nearly killed two particularly optimistic plane spotters, who dove for cover just as the plane passed, missing the two men by what looks to be a matter of a foot or so. The near-victims are on the far side of the plane in the video.
Here’s another video with more detailed look at that flight and landing.