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Russian police is looking for a yet unidentified Russian airline pilot after footage of a woman behind the controls of a passenger plane emerged online.
The video, showing a young woman trying her skills at controlling the plane was sent to news.Ykt.ru news website, with a message from several readers claiming it was filmed during an IrAero airline flight from Yakutsk to Batagai. It was apparently filmed by the cheeky pilot himself as he looked on.
The woman who was identified by Russian media as Anna was filmed following the captain’s instructions.
‘Back, to the right, now to the left and turn it back,’ he is heard telling her.
She then queries the pilot, pointing at the navigation display: ‘Why can’t I get there?’
He answers: ‘Well, I’ve no idea why you can’t get there.’
The newbie ‘co-pilot’ Anna posted pictures and video of the flight on her Instagram account with hashtags ‘This was unbelievably cool’ and ‘Thank you!’.
The incident allegedly took place on an IrAero An-24 plane over Yakutia in Russia last August, according to claims on social media. The short-to-medium range turboprop aircraft was flying from Yakutsk to Bagatay. Planes of this type have been in service since 1962 and can carry around 50 passengers.
There has been no official confirmation of the claims. Judging from the appearance of the cockpit, the plane appears to be an An-24, but it impossible to identify the carrier or the flight route based on the video alone.
Russian police have launched an investigation into the incident, requesting flight plans, crew lists, and other information in an attempt to track down the pilot.
IrAero has also launched an internal investigation, but the company doubts that the incident actually took place on one of its aircraft.
“At the moment, there are doubts these materials are actually linked to the activities of our airline in the field of passenger transportation,” IrAero told local media.
Letting untrained individuals behind the passenger plane’s controls can easily lead to a catastrophe even with the pilot at the second set of controls. In 1994, for example, a Russian pilot let his son to fly an Airbus A310 plane; the boy’s piloting skills – or, rather, lack of them – led to a crash which killed everyone on board.