Plane spotting enthusiasts come within inches of death after military aircraft misses runway

Now that's what you call REAL plane spotting! Enthusiasts come within inches of death after military aircraft misses the runway
Crowd of 1,000 watching final landing of military plane on Ballenstedt airfield in Saxony-Anhalt, central Germany
But pilot of 31-ton Transall C-160 aircraft suddenly reported he couldn't see start of runway from his cockpitBrought aircraft down on a side road where spotters were standing and they almost ended up being crushed

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UPDATED:

23:36 GMT, 26 December 2012

For an intrepid band of plane spotters it was the most dramatic experience of their lives – and almost the last thing they saw.

A crowd of about 1,000 had gathered to watch the final landing of a military plane which was about to be decommissioned after many years of service.

All appeared to be going smoothly as the Transall C-160 approached the Ballenstedt airfield in Saxony-Anhalt, central Germany.

Close encounter: The Transall C-160 military plane approaches the Ballenstedt airfield in Saxony-Anhalt, central Germany, but lands on a side road before the runway

Close encounter: The Transall C-160 military plane approaches the Ballenstedt airfield in Saxony-Anhalt, central Germany, but lands on a side road before the runway

However the pilot suddenly reported that he could not see the start of the runway from his cockpit – and came down on a side road where many of the spotters were standing.

As some fled screaming in terror, the braver or more foolhardy stood their ground, keeping their cameras trained on the 31-ton aircraft to catch every second of the action. And two of them standing beside a fence post came within inches of being crushed under its wheels.

The plane then bounced up in the air, the pilot regained control and landed it safely on the runway. It is unlikely that there will be an investigation into the incident because it was the twin turbo-prop plane’s last flight. It will now go on public display at an air transport museum.

Still filming: The spotters stand their ground as the plane approaches even though the pilot had reported that he could not see the start of the runway from his cockpit

Still filming: The spotters stand their ground as the plane approaches even though the pilot had reported that he could not see the start of the runway from his cockpit

Inches from death: The two enthusiasts by the fence post come desperately close to going under the wheels as their comrades continue to capture the incident

Inches from death: The two enthusiasts by the fence post come desperately close to going under the wheels as their comrades continue to capture the incident

VIDEO: Watch the near-fatal landing of Transall C-160 (YouTube/jensliesenberg)

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