Russian authorities decode Superjet 100 accident flight recorders
Russian authorities have finished decoding flight recorders of Aeroflot Superjet 100, which left forty-one people dead and eleven injured after crash landing in Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) on May 5, 2019.
Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) confirmed having recovered both flight recorders from the accident scene on May 6, 2019. The Flight Data Recorder (FDR), however, was “subjected to intense temperature exposure and was seriously damaged,” the committee stated at the time, also noting that the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was in “satisfactory condition”.
On May 17, 2019, IAC released a short update, noting that the accident investigators have “completed the interpretation of on-board parametric recorders (emergency and operational) data. An analysis of the information received”. IAC has also noted that a follow-up accident report was sent to the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya).
On the same day, Rosaviatsiya sent a letter, called Flight Safety Information Nr.7, to civil aviation organizations, informing about IAC operational proposals, which are “recommended to be considered and accepted for implementation by the operators”.
Rosaviatsiya stresses that the letter “does not contain the conclusions and results” of the flight SU1492 accident investigation and that a “brief description of the circumstances of the event, included in Flight Safety Information Nr. 7, is not an assessment of the crew's [...] actions [by Rosaviatsiya]”.
The address of the non-final nature of conclusions comes in the light of Russian media reports. On May 17, 2019, RIA Novosti, the country’s state-operated news agency stated it had obtained a copy of the document sent by Rosaviatsiya. The document allegedly instructs aviation organizations to conduct additional training on emergency landings and actions in case of fire on board.
Another publication by the agency states that initial findings point to a pilot mistake. It references several examples of how SU1492 pilots allegedly failed to follow landing procedure during the accident: by entering into the glide path when the mass of the aircraft was about 42,600 kilograms -1,600 kilograms over the maximum permissible landing mass and not releasing brake flaps (interceptors) during the emergency landing.
In response, Aeroflot denied that the flight crew violated landing procedures. In a statement issued on May 17, 2019, the airline states that “flaps were in a position consistent with the landing procedure and in accordance with the existing system failure”.
Furthermore, “according to the procedure, the reverse is switched on first, and then on a steady run along the runway, spoilers are produced,” the statement read. “Therefore, in view of the absence of a stable path, the release of the interceptors was impossible. It is necessary to add that the requirements for airworthiness standards for aircraft certification are designed in such a way as to prevent the situation from deteriorating to catastrophic in any event”.
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