It seems to be impossible for a large aircraft to fly from a short runway. However, a pilot of Saudi Airlines proved it wrong when after the struggle of four days, he managed to take off the airplane from a short runway. The Boeing-747 aircraft landed at Tambaram Indian Air Force runway by mistake instead of Chennai International Airport. A highly trained and senior-most pilot of Saudi airlines, Captain Jam Joom was flown in to perform the difficult task. He took off the aircraft after a short run of 3,960 feet from a runway of 4,500 feet. The jumbo jet requires 8,000 ft. of runway to take off, but there was a lot of effort done to make this miracle happen.
It took 4 days to get the plane out of the IAF runway. The air conditioning was stripped off from the aircraft and only fuel enough for 6-nautical miles was kept inside the tanks which was sufficient for the plane to get to the nearest Chennai International airport. According to Saudi spokesperson, the wind conditions were perfect and in favor of the flight, but the pilot had to wait for 3 and a half hour for it. The airplane carrying 330 passengers and 17 crew members screeched its way to a stop nearly 100 meters from the offices at the airbase. According to sources at Air Traffic Controller’s office, the pilot sought visual clearance. The ATC instructed the pilot to circle around and then prepare to land. By then the pilot had lined up for the airbase and had only realized his mistake after touching the ground.
The airbase was sealed and the passengers, who had no idea of what has happened were kept inside for five hours. When they were released, only then did they get to know of their miraculous escape from death. Despite all that, IAF sources tell a whole different story. They claim that the pilot landed even after the refusal of permission of landing. They further argue that the Air Force Controller had fired red cartridges, a signal used to indicate denial of approval, but no one else has backed up this claim. Some sources say that at six in the morning, there was no one monitoring the runway and they had only realized the whole case after the aircraft had landed. The plane was given permission to be taken away just after Air Commodore P.N. Devy ruled out any attempts of sabotage by the aircraft.
Now the huge size of the plane was a problem. Hours-long meetings were held. Some said that the base might be the final resting place for the aircraft, while others suggested to turn it into scrap. Removing the wings and transporting via road was also suggested. After discussion with the Boeing Industries, it was decided to strip off any additional weight and try to fly it to the nearest airport. Under favorable weather conditions and weight reduced to as low as possible, the flight took off. Everybody was frozen at the airbase until, after nine minutes, the plane landed at the airport. Captain Jam Joom had successfully taken off and landed the aircraft to the nearest runway despite having a much shorter airstrip to take off from.