The Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), said the FDR data decoding of the crashed of Saratov Airlines An-148 jet is now concluded. The preliminary findings in an ongoing investigation point to the icing of plane’s avionics as a possible cause of the fatal accident.

After decoding the FDR data of the crashed An-148, the investigation team has found that “the heating of all the three Pitot probes were in the OFF position” during the fatal flight, the IAC revealed in a statement on February 13, 2018.

The investigating team found that the emergency situation started to develop about 2 min 30 s after the liftoff, when the plane was at the height of approximately 1300 m and with the IAS of 465-470 km/h. At this point the disagreement in the values of speed received from the air data module at the left pilot’s station and from the standby air data module started to occur.

Image by the Interstate Aviation Committee 

The IAC explains that after the “single signal “MATCH IAS” was generated (annunciation for the flight crew)” for the third time, the flight crew disengaged the autopilot and the rest of the flight was conducted in the manual mode. The collision with the ground occurred at about 11:27:05 – approximately six minutes after the aircraft started its takeoff.

“Based on the analysis of the recorded data and the studies of the similar accidents in past, it could be concluded that the inflight emergency situation might have been caused by the incorrect speed readings shown on the cockpit instrument panel, which in their turn could be related to the Pitot probes’ iced condition with the heating system set to OFF,” is written in the IAC’s statement.

On February 11, 2018, the Saratov Airlines regional An-148 jet crashed shortly after take-off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, carrying 65 passengers (including three children) and six cabin crew on board. All of the 71 passengers and crew were found dead.

The Interstate Aviation Committee is a supervising body overseeing the use and management of civil aviation in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). It is responsible for the ongoing investigation of the An-148 crash.