A BRAVE pilot landed a passenger jet “blind” after giant hailstones smashed the cockpit’s windscreen and almost tore off its nose cone.
These incredible pictures show the plane after the pilot’s heroic emergency landing at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport with 127 passengers on board, The Sun reports.
They show the severe external damage to the Airbus A320 from sudden unexpected hail during a thunder storm, and passengers crying and praying as the stricken plane comes in to a shaky landing.
A voice on the ground is heard saying: “He won’t do it, he won’t do it.”
Captain Alexander Akopov said he and other crew were celebrating as if it was a “second birthday” after his lifesaving heroics in coping with damage caused by hailstones the size of hen’s eggs.
Incredibly, his autopilot was taken out in the damage.
“I have been flying for 30 years,” he said.
“Well, did you see the plane landing? Was it okay? The passengers are alive. It is normal. This is our professional reliability.
“Our locator did not show this weather disaster, this is why it happened. It was hard, but the main thing is that people are alive.”