The Federal Air Transport Agency of Russia has dismissed an initial report published regarding the investigation of the incident involving a Ural Airlines Airbus A320, which landed in a cornfield back in September.
According to the Russian-language publication Izvestia, the dismissal of the report follows direct orders given by Vyacheslav Fedorov, the Head of the West Siberian Interregional Territorial Administration.
It is alleged that the report was cancelled due to “newly discovered circumstances”, although no further information is currently available as to what those circumstances might be.
Instead, Fedorov has allegedly appointed a commission to produce a new report into the accident, said to have occurred when the flight ran out of fuel during a diversion.
Federov has appointed the chairman of the commission, which is reported to include representatives from Aeroflot Airlines, the Aeroflot Aviation School, Ural Airlines and the Ural representative of the Federal Air Transport Agency.
Fedorov has also reportedly granted permission for the chairman of the new commission to involve any other specialist parties that the commission deems appropriate in the conduct of the investigation.
The original investigation findings
The initial report on the results of the investigation into the forced landing of the A320 was originally approved on October 31 by the acting head of the aviation authority of Rosaviatsia, Ivan Belov. This investigation into the circumstances of the landing was carried out by a commission of six people.
That commission also included representatives of the Ural and North-West divisions of the Federal Air Transport Agency, Ural Airlines, the Western Siberian branch of the State Corporation for Air Traffic Management and the S7 Airlines subsidiary for aircraft maintenance, S7 Engineering.
The conclusion of the original report stated that the forced landing occurred as a result of a combination of several factors. Those mistakes include that the pilots made mistakes in determining the actual position of the landing gear and doors after the failure of the green hydraulic system. The crew also erred in calculating the required amount of fuel required for the diversion flight and made an “unfounded decision” to leave for an alternate airfield in Novosibirsk.
Additionally, the commission pointed out a non-optimal distribution of workload between pilots when flight conditions became more complicated and that there was a lack of timely control over fuel consumption and remaining fuel when diverting to the alternative airfield.
According to Izvestia’s source in the Russian aviation authorities, the instigation of the new investigation was initiated by the leadership of the Federal Air Transport Agency, who were said to be “dissatisfied” with the quality of the investigation.
The incident itself occurred on the morning of September 12. The A320 with registration RA-73805 landed in a cornfield outside Novosibirsk in southern Siberia after running low on fuel.
The aircraft had been flying from Sochi International Airport (AER) to Omsk Tsentralny Airport (OMS), but the aircraft experienced a loss of hydraulic pressure as it approached Omsk. The flight was unable to land at Omsk and requested to divert to Novosibirsk instead.
Fearing that the flight would not reach the diversion airport due to excessive fuel burn due to stronger winds than anticipated, the captain elected to land the plane in a remote cornfield.
The flight had 167 people onboard, including 23 children and six crew members. Preparations are currently ongoing to remove the A320 from the field by flying it out, although no timetable has been set for the recovery attempt.