Wed, Mar 5, 2008 — David Evans


Most aircraft use about two-thirds of the runway length to take off. On YouTube is a video of an Ilyushin IL76 freighter taking off at Canberra, Australia, in which nearly every foot of the runway was used (see photo).

The airplane was fully laden for an 11-hour flight, taking off on a warm day with no wind and, oh look, no runway left either. Engines were at full power before brake release. As an individual watching the takeoff, presumably a tower controller, is heard saying on the video, “If I didn’t see it, I wouldn’t believe it.”

“I thought I’d have to film the crash,” he added.

Among the many comments posted along with the video:

“Perfect example of a pilot being stupid.”

“He would not have made it if an engine would have failed.”

“Notice that the wings did not lift until the very end.”

“We guess he was at about 60 feet over the road, as he’s roughly level with the tower.”

“Go Russians! :)”


Note that liftoff occurs after the airplane has passed the ‘piano keys’ marking the end of the runway. Source:

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