Air Niugini Dash 8 Diverts To Russia Following Technical Issues

An Air Niugini Dash 8-200 was forced to divert while on a repositioning flight to Japan this week. It suffered a technical malfunction, forcing it to touch down in east Russia. There were no injuries reported among the two crew onboard.

Air Niugini Dash 8-200
The aircraft involved in the event is registration P2-PXI. Photo: Paul Nelhams via Wikimedia Commons

Emergency landing

The Air Nuigini Dash-8 departed Port Morseby, Papua New Guinea, last week and was in the middle of a long repositioning flight to the other side of the globe to Calgary, Canada. The aircraft was currently on a leg from Sapporo, Japan, to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia, on Sunday (20th December). During this flight suffered a technical malfunction, approximately 75 minutes into the flight, after departing at 12:04 PM local time.

At the time of the issue, the aircraft was 80 nautical miles northeast of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, a nearby city to its destination. The crew requested a diversion due to the technical issues and was cleared to touch down.

Dash 8 Map
The aircraft was forced to divert to an island near the Russian mainland. Map and Data: FlightAware

The aircraft safely landed at Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Airport (UUS) three hours after departing from Sapporo, Japan, at 15:10 PM local time. The two pilots, the sole occupants were taken to a hotel and the aircraft was kept under guard.

The aircraft was then repaired by a maintenance crew from Aurora, a far east Russian airline that also operates Dash 8s. The issue was found to be an oil leak through a propeller seal, according to information from The Aviation Herald. The plane safely took to the skies once again at 08:15 on 22nd December and landed safely at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky at 12:11 PM local time.

The aircraft

The plane involved in this incident is quite unique for several reasons. The Dash 8-200 is currently painted in an all-white livery with no logo, signaling that it is being transferred to a new airline soon. According to Planespotters.net, the aircraft over 24 years-old and previously served for Canadian airline Regional 1 and Russia’s SAT Airlines.

It’s currently unknown what the future of this aircraft will be now that it’s reached its destination. The Aviation Herald also notes that the aircraft had not been used for 15 months before this repositioning flight, which means the airline could be looking to sell the plane.

Complex flights

While long repositioning flights are quite common for jet aircraft, since they can make the journey with a few stops, it’s a lot more complex for turboprops. Due to their range, these planes need to make every few hours to refuel. For such long flights in small planes, airlines sometimes opt for extra fuel tanks and always minimize the weight onboard to boost range.

Turboprop ATR Getty
Transporting turboprops over long distances is a complicated task. Photo: Getty Images

For this Dash 8-200, the journey took over five days and a dozen stops to fly halfway across the globe. Long-haul repositioning flights can be seen as endurance challenges, ones that require meticulous planning and patience.

What are your thoughts about the situation? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

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