The Story of „Lady Agnes“

Question: Is it possible to land a 105 ton, 4-engined turbojet Airliner on a 3000 ft grass-strip? Answer: Yes, if you have a skilled and experienced aircrew.

Here’s the story: Certainly one of the most spectacular landings in Aviation History took place on October 31st, 1989 at the airstrip of Stölln / East-Germany when INTERFLUG Captain Karl-Heinz Kallbach and his Co-Pilot Peter Bley successfully touched down their heavy Ilyushin IL-62 for its final rest on the local airfield. The IL-62 (Construction Number 31303), registered DDR-SEG, had been in service with the East-German State Airline INTERFLUG since May 1973. The ship was phased out of operation some weeks earlier on August 16, 1989. The total INTERFLUG IL-62 fleet consisted of 19 aircraft of which two were initially operated by the National Peoples Army (Nationale Volksarmee - NVA) as Government Aircraft. The first IL-62 DM-SEA was delivered  to INTERFLUG HQ in Berlin-Schönefeld in April 1970. Germany’s worst aviation accident is connected to this specific aircraft since on August 14, 1972 DM-SEA crashed near Königs-Wusterhausen with the loss of all 156 souls on board. The cause of the accident had been a fire in the rear compartment which led to a complete loss of the tail section before impact. INTERFLUG started its regular IL-62 service in December 1970 on the Berlin - Moscow route. The typical layout consisted of 8 first-class and 160 economy class passengers. INTERFLUG IL-62s had been on world wide services including destinations like Cuba, India, Vietnam and Africa. From 1987 onwards the IL-62 (without suffix) were replaced by the more modern IL-62M variant. At the time of Germany’s reunification in October 1990, INTERFLUG still operated a fleet of 9 IL-62M. All of them were consequently transferred to the German Civil Aviation Register. INTERFLUG operations ended on April 30, 1991 with 7 remaining IL-62M in their inventory. Final IL-62 operations in Germany were flown by 3 aircraft from the IV. Staffel of TG (Transportgeschwader) 44 in Marxwalde, all of them still in INTERFLUG livery. The highly sophisticated landing in Stölln was risked in honour of Aviation Pioneer Otto-Lilienthal, who lost his life in a glider accident in Stölln on August 9, 1896. The IL-62 DDR-SEG was named „Lady Agnes“ in remembrance of Lilienthal’s wife. „Lady Agnes“ is on display and can be visited by the public. For more information visit . All shots in this set have been taken in May 2016.

Additional Aircraft History Research courtsey of Frank Jäger, Toulouse