On Wednesday, a bodybuilder nicknamed ‘The Siberian Bear’ performed the feat of pulling a UTair 737-500 for 15 meters. Cheered on by onlookers and his coaches at Surgut International Airport, a relieved Maxim Gametsky broke a previous record set by Russia’s strongest man in 2020. Read on for footage from the event.
Fear and excitement
Most of us struggle to move the living room sofa out of the way to vacuum underneath. Russian strongmen, meanwhile, pull narrowbody aircraft about entirely on their own. Under normal circumstances, when planes do not have their engines running, they are pushed by specialized aircraft tugs.
However, on Wednesday, Maxim Gametsky, a bodybuilder and native of Surgut, located 2000 km east of Moscow in Siberia, pulled a 40-ton Boeing 737-500 for 15 meters. Talk about zero-emission ground support equipment.
After the event, Gametsky told local reporters that he had been nervous as he had not been able to get the plane moving during his first attempts when practicing. Meanwhile, the support of the crowds seems to have given him an additional boost.
“I couldn’t move it on the first attempt in any of my training sessions, and to be honest, I was a little scared today would be the same. Maybe it was excitement, maybe it was fear, but I did it anyway,” Gametsky said as reported by the Post of Asia.
Thankfully, there is ample video footage of the near-superhuman endeavor. Have a look below for what pulling a UTair 737-500 actually looks like.
The feat took him less than 40 seconds and meant that the ‘Siberian Bear’ smashed the previous record, set by ‘Russia’s strongest man’, Elbrus Nigmatulin, of pulling a 36-ton aircraft in 2020. Albeit, Nigmatulin did manage ten meters more. The new record, set at Surgut International Airport, was verified by the head of the Russian Strongman Federation.
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What will be the next attempt?
The question now is how far the two might push each other. Perhaps if they join forces, they could share the glory of moving a widebody by their own accord. Potentially, the next step up could be a 767. However, for a 787, they may need to bring in whoever Siberia’s third strongest person is for reinforcements.
To practice, they may need to visit other airports than Surgut International, which mostly serves medium-sized airliners. While the airport is served by major Russian carriers Aeroflot, Rossiya Russian Airlines, Pobeda, and Ural Airlines, it is one of the hubs for Siberian native carrier UTair, the other being Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport.
Meanwhile, two women, Sue Thomas-Franklin and Sam Taylor, pulled an Airbus A320 for more than 20 meters in 37.36 seconds in March this year. The married couple performed the accomplishment at an otherwise deserted St Athans in Wales in the UK, setting the Guinness World Record for the fastest pulling of an A320 jet.
What other plane-pulling records do you know of? Has anyone you know ever attempted to tow a commercial jetliner? Leave a comment below and tell us about it.