Free Press Journal

Russia points to pilot error in flydubai Boeing crash


Moscow: Russian aviation investigators said today that the pilots of a flydubai jet that crashed and killed 62, including an Indian couple, last month put the plane into a nose-dive and were unable to pull out of it. The Boeing 737 flying from Dubai crashed short of the runway in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don in the early hours of March 19 after it aborted a landing in poor weather. The 55 passengers, most of them Russians, and seven crew members were all killed.

Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee, which probes plane crashes, said in a preliminary report that the jet hit the ground at a speed of 600 kilometres per hour after the pilots put the plane into a steep dive. The accident came following the crew’s decision to abort a landing and try to ascend, the committee said.

But at an altitude of 900 metres, the pilot pushed the control column, or steering controls, back into a dive and “simultaneously” shifted a tail stabiliser “to dive, after
which the plane went into a rapid descent.”

“The crew’s subsequent actions did not manage to prevent the plane from hitting the ground,” said the committee, which investigates crashes, but does not assign legal responsibility for any wrongdoing.

The crash happened in “complex weather conditions” with “strong turbulence,” the investigators said. They said the crew were adequately trained and experienced, and had received accurate information on weather conditions. Flydubai said in a statement that it was “aware of the information that has been released by the Interstate Aviation Committee.” “We share the desire to get conclusive findings as quickly as possible,” the airline said. “We continue to support the investigating authorities in liaison with the General Civil Aviation Authority.”

Russian state television earlier broadcast what it said was the transcript of the pilots’ last words, which suggested they frantically tried to pull the plane out of the dive but did not realise what was causing it.

The investigators said today they were transcribing the plane’s speech recorders and would bring in specialists from the United Arab Emirates, United States and Spain to help.

Russia’s Investigative Committee is carrying out a separate criminal probe into the crash focusing on possible technical problems, weather conditions and human error.
The country’s civil aviation agency has recommended that domestic airlines check the skills of pilots flying Boeing 737s, Kommersant business daily reported today.