A320 Goes Mudding In Vilnius


The crew of an Avion Express A320 gave new meaning to the term down and dirty with a spectacular runway excursion in Vilnius, Lithuania, on the weekend. All was normal as the plane carrying 185 people approached in wet weather. After touchdown, the aircraft skidded to the right and crossed a patch of muddy infield, sending murky liquid skyward. The crew was able to get the plane back rolling instead of sliding and that’s when things got a little weird.

Alarmed controllers, who saw the whole thing, peppered the crew with helpful inquiries and offers of help, but the pilots weren’t interested. They told a tower controller they didn’t need any help and taxied the mud-caked Airbus to a parking spot on the ramp where they deplaned the passengers as normal. Meanwhile, maintenance crews swarmed the now-closed runway cleaning away the mud and debris the plane kicked up. It’s not clear if the plane was damaged.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. This was a demonstration of excellent airmanship. Do some more digging. Watch the video again. The Pilots lost control of the plane when it touched down and encountered slush. I found a video where they are using five snowplows to clean the runway while walking the path of the aircraft. They did a very good job of recovering an uncontroled missile to taxing to their gate. The airport failed to tell them of the landing conditions that would require five plows to move after they landed.