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Aeroflot Flight 1492

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Aeroflot Flight 1492
Photograph of the aircraft involved
The aircraft involved seen in 2017
Accident
Date5 May 2019 (2019-05-05)
SummaryCrash landing; under investigation
SiteSheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, Russia
55°58′09″N 37°24′11″E / 55.96917°N 37.40306°E / 55.96917; 37.40306Coordinates: 55°58′09″N 37°24′11″E / 55.96917°N 37.40306°E / 55.96917; 37.40306
Aircraft
Aircraft typeSukhoi Superjet 100
Aircraft nameMustai Karim
OperatorAeroflot
IATA flight No.SU1492
ICAO flight No.AFL1492
Call signAEROFLOT 1492
RegistrationRA-89098
Flight originSheremetyevo International Airport
DestinationMurmansk Airport, Russia
Occupants78
Passengers73
Crew5
Fatalities41
Injuries11
Survivors37

Aeroflot Flight 1492 was a scheduled passenger flight from Moscow–Sheremetyevo to Murmansk, Russia. On 5 May 2019, the Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft operating the flight was climbing after take-off when it was struck by lightning. The radio and other equipment failed, and the flight crew made an emergency landing at Sheremetyevo. Flight 1492 bounced on landing and touched down hard, causing the undercarriage to collapse and a fire to erupt, which quickly engulfed the rear of the aircraft. Forty-one of the 78 occupants died, as they were unable to evacuate in time.

Aircraft[edit]

The aircraft was a Russian-built Sukhoi Superjet 100, MSN (manufacturer's serial number) 95135, and was registered as RA-89098.[1] It was delivered new to Aeroflot on 27 September 2017 and had built up 2,710 flight hours and 1,658 cycles (a take-off and landing make for one flight cycle) before the accident.[2][3] Aeroflot Superjets are configured with 87 passenger seats, 12 in business and 75 in economy.[4]

Accident[edit]

Flight 1492 took off from runway 24C at Sheremetyevo International Airport, bound for Murmansk Airport, on 5 May 2019 at 18:02 local time (15:02 UTC). Towering cumulonimbus clouds were observed in the vicinity of the airport with a base of 6,000 ft (1,800 m) and peaking at about 29,000 feet (8,800 m). Five minutes after take-off, the aircraft was climbing through 7,900 ft (2,400 m) when it suffered an electrical failure. The primary radio and autopilot became inoperative and the flight control mode changed to DIRECT – a degraded, more challenging mode of operation.[5] The aircraft was struck by lightning but a definitive link between the strike and the electrical failure has not been established.[2] The crew were able to make a pan-pan call on the emergency frequency and maintain some form of communication with air traffic control.[a][7][8] The transponder code was changed to 7600 (to indicate radio failure) at 15:11 UTC[9] and subsequently to 7700 (emergency) at 15:26 UTC while on final approach.[8]

The aircraft stopped its climb at flight level 100 and came around to land at Sheremetyevo. It overshot the runway centreline, completed a circle and inititiated a second approach for runway 24L. The crew tuned into the instrument landing system and the captain flew the approach manually. Upon capturing the glideslope, the aircraft's weight was 43.5 tonnes (96,000 lb), 1.6 tonnes (3,500 lb) over the maximum landing weight. The flaps were lowered to 25 degrees, which is the recommended setting for an overweight landing in DIRECT mode. The wind was blowing from 190 degrees at 30 knots (15 m/s) – a 50-degree crosswind – and the speed stabilised at 155 knots (287 km/h).[8][1] Between 1,100 feet (340 m) and 900 feet (270 m) AGL, the predictive windshear warning sounded repeatedly, advising the flight crew to go around. Descending through 260 feet (79 m), the aircraft began to deviate below the glideslope and the "GLIDESLOPE" aural alert sounded. The speed increased to 170 knots (310 km/h) at 16 feet (4.9 m) AGL in response to an increase in engine thrust. As he reduced the thrust to idle for the flare, the captain made several large, alternating side-stick inputs, causing the pitch to vary between −2 and +6 degrees.[8][1][2]

The aircraft bounced twice on landing. The first touchdown occurred 900 metres (3,000 ft) beyond the runway threshold at a speed of 158 knots (293 km/h) and a load of 2.55 g. The aircraft bounced to a height of 6 feet (1.8 m). Automatic spoiler deployment is inhibited in DIRECT mode and the spoilers were not extended manually. The aircraft made a second touchdown two seconds later, nose-first, and at a speed of 155 knots (287 km/h), experiencing a load of 5.85 g and bouncing to a height of 18 feet (5.5 m) AGL. The aircraft impacted the ground at a speed of 140 knots (260 km/h) and with a vertical load in excess of 5 g; the landing gear collapsed, fuel spilled out of the wings and a fire erupted, which instantly engulfed the wings, rear fuselage and empennage. Fire alarms were triggered in the cockpit for the aft cargo hold and the auxiliary power unit, and the latter's fire bottle was discharged. The aircraft slid down the runway, veered to the left and came to a standstill on the grass between two runway-adjoining taxiways, about 27 minutes after take-off.[8][1][10]

An evacuation was carried out from the front passenger doors and their slides were deployed. Aeroflot claimed the evacuation took 55 seconds, though video evidence shows the slides still in use 70 seconds after their deployment.[4] The rear half of the aircraft was destroyed by the fire, which was extinguished about 45 minutes after landing.[8][11][12]

Passengers and crew[edit]

Five crew and 73 passengers were onboard on the aircraft. The crew consisted of the captain, a first officer and three cabin crew members. The captain, aged 43, held an Airline Transport Pilot Licence and had 6,844 flying hours, including 1,570 on the Superjet. The 36-year-old first officer held a Commercial Pilot Licence and had 773 hours of flying experience with 623 on the Superjet.[8]

Forty passengers and the flight attendant seated in the rear of the aircraft were killed. Forty of the victims were Russian and one a US citizen, and 26 resided in Murmansk Oblast, including a 12-year-old girl.[13][14]

Investigation[edit]

The Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) opened an investigation into the accident. The French BEA is participating as representative of the state of design of the aircraft engine and EASA will offer technical advice to BEA.[15][16] On 6 May 2019, the IAC said in a press release that both flight recorders had been recovered. The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was found in satisfactory condition, but the flight data recorder (FDR) casing was damaged by exposure to extremely high temperatures and IAC specialists were working to extract the data.[8]

On 17 May, the IAC announced that data from the flight recorders had been read out and their analysis was in progress. The IAC sent a follow-up accident report to Rosaviatsiya, the Russian civil aviation authority.[17] Rosaviatsiya issued a safety information bulletin containing a summary of the accident and a number of recommendations.[18]

Criminal proceedings[edit]

A criminal investigation was opened into a fatal “violation of the rules of safe movement and exploitation of air transport”. The Investigative Committee said on 6 May it was considering insufficient skill of the pilots, dispatchers and those who performed the technical inspection of the plane, along with mechanical problems and poor weather, as a possible cause of the accident.[19] A high-ranking law enforcement source told Lenta.ru that experts would examine the actions of Sheremetyevo's fire and rescue service. The source said air traffic control were late with raising the alarm and fire engines had not left the fire station at the time of the accident. Only two of the six available engines were involved within the first six minutes and they were not filled with foam, which is more effective against a fuel-fed fire than water. Experts will have to answer more than 50 questions.[20]

Aftermath[edit]

Response from Aeroflot[edit]

On 6 May 2019, Aeroflot announced that they would compensate surviving passengers and the families of the deceased. One million rubles (US$15,320) were to be paid to passengers that did not require hospitalization, two million rubles ($30,640) to passengers who were hospitalized and five million rubles ($76,600) were to be paid to the families of the deceased.[21]

Following the release of the accident summary by Rosaviatsiya on 17 May, it was reported in the media that the pilots had failed to set some of the sufaces of the wing – variously referred to as the "flaps", "brakes" and "air brakes" in news reports – for landing.[22] On the same day, Aeroflot issued a statement in which it denied the pilots had violated company procedures. Aeroflot said the flaps were properly configured for landing and that the spoilers should be extended manually only when reverse thrust is applied and the aircraft has settled on the runway. The airline said preliminary information by Rosaviatsiya are not evidence of pilot error and criticised the media for jumping to conclusions.[23][2]

Cancellations and public perception[edit]

On 5 May, a petition to ground Superjet 100 during the investigation was created on Change.org. By May 8, it was signed by 140,000 people and Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov commented that the decision should be taken by "competent aviation authorities" and not by citizens who sign petitions on the portal.[24][25] The Ministry of Transport of Russia decided against grounding the Superjet 100, stating there was no obvious sign of a design flaw.[26] Aeroflot cancelled approximately 50 Superjet flights in the week after the accident. Kommersant cited industry sources as saying the Superjet 100 had lower dispatch reliability than Airbus and Boeing aircraft in the airline's fleet historically and attributed a rise in cancellations to "increased safety measures" at Aeroflot while the accident is investigated.[27][28] The Superjet suffered a number of technical failures in the weeks following the accident which attracted media attention in Russia. On 18 May, an Aeroflot Superjet 100 from Ulyanovsk to Moscow–Sheremetyevo aborted its take-off due to a hydraulics failure indication following which the passengers refused to fly on the Superjet.[29]

On 17 May Russia’s regional airline RusLine has abandoned its plans to purchase 18 Superjet 100. According to the carrier’s owner, this decision is due to the likely reputational risks after the 5 May accident.[30]

Evacuating with luggage[edit]

During the evacuation, passengers were seen carrying hand luggage down the evacuation slides, leading to speculation that passengers retrieving their luggage delayed the evacuation.[31][32][4][33] According to TASS's law enforcement source, the majority of passengers in the tail end of the aircraft had practically no chance of rescue, many of them did not even have time to unfasten their seat belts. He added that those passengers from the tail section of the aircraft who managed to escape had moved to the front of the aircraft even before it stopped, and that he had no confirmation that retrieval of luggage had slowed the evacuation.[34] Speculation that the observed retrieval of luggage caused an evacuation delay was also refuted by witnesses.[35][36][37][33]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The crew said: "Requesting return. Loss of radio communication, the plane is in direct mode". The phrase "aircraft in direct mode", spoken in a mixture of Russian and English (samolyot v direkt mode), was originally mistakenly interpreted as "the plane is burning in lightning" (samolyot gorit v molnii).[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Aircraft accident Sukhoi Superjet 100-95B RA-89098 Moskva-Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO)". Aviation Safety Network. 8 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Kaminski-Morrow, David (18 May 2019). "Crashed Superjet's pitch fluctuated before fatal touchdown". Flightglobal.com.
  3. ^ "RA-89098 Aeroflot - Russian Airlines Sukhoi Superjet 100". www.planespotters.net. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Kaminski-Morrow, David (9 May 2019). "ANALYSIS: Superjet fire puts focus on evacuation threat". Flightglobal.com.
  5. ^ Bjorn, Fehrm. "Aeroflot SSJ100 crash at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport". Leeham News and Analysis. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  6. ^ Достоевский, Генри. "Direct mode вместо «летим в молнии»: в расшифровке переговоров с SSJ 100 нашли ошибку". Daily Storm. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  7. ^ News, A. B. C. "Crashed Russian plane communication leaks: 'The plane is burning in lightning'". ABC News. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Hradecky, Simon (6 May 2019). "Accident: Aeroflot SU95 at Moscow on May 5th 2019, aircraft bursts into flames during rollout and burns down". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  9. ^ @flightradar24 (6 May 2019). "Flightradar24 tweet regarding squawk codes of SU1492" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ "41 Confirmed Dead After Russian Aeroflot Plane Lands With Fire On Board". The Moscow Times. 5 May 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  11. ^ "Aeroflot indicates Superjet engines caught fire on landing". Flight Global. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  12. ^ "Aeroflot plane crash: Russia jet 'struck by lightning'". BBC News. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  13. ^ "«Мама, мы взлетаем»: как один полет прервал жизнь пассажиров SSJ-100". Газета.Ru.
  14. ^ "Jeremy Brooks of New Mexico ID'd as American killed in Russia plane crash". ABC11 Raleigh-Durham. 6 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Франция включилась в расследование ЧП с SSJ100 как разработчик двигателя". РИА Новости. 14 May 2019.
  16. ^ BEA. "Accident to the Sukhoi RRJ95 registered RA-89098 and operated by Aeroflot on 05/05/2019 at Moscow [Investigation led by MAK / Russia]". BEA - Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la sécurité de l'aviation civile.
  17. ^ "RRJ-95B RA-89098 05.05.2019". mak-iac.org. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Росавиация не делала выводов по расследованию катастрофы SSJ «Аэрофлота» — ведомство". Рамблер/новости. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  19. ^ Luhn, Alec (7 May 2019). "Russia to investigate whether pilot error caused fiery emergency landing that killed 37". The Telegraph. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  20. ^ "Раскрыты ошибки спасателей при тушении SSJ-100". Lenta.ru. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  21. ^ "Aeroflot to pay compensation to all passengers, victim's families after plane crash". TASS (in Russian). Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  22. ^ "Report: Brakes unused on fiery Russian plane that killed 41". Washington Post (2019-05–17). Associated Press.
  23. ^ "Новости компании - Аэрофлот опровергает информацию о нарушении инструкций экипажем рейса SU1492 - Аэрофлот". www.aeroflot.ru. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  24. ^ "Песков: приостановить эксплуатацию Sukhoi Superjet могут только авиационные органы". ТАСС.
  25. ^ "Петицию за запрет полетов SSJ 100 подписали больше 130 000 человек - Общество". Forbes.ru. 7 May 2019.
  26. ^ "Aeroflot plane crash: Pilot error theory probed". BBC. 7 May 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  27. ^ "SSJ 100 придержали на земле" – via Kommersant.
  28. ^ "Russia's Aeroflot Cancels Dozens of Flights Following Tragic Plane Crash". The Moscow Times. 13 May 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  29. ^ "Все пассажиры рейса в Москву отказались от полета на SSJ-100" [All passengers in the flight to Moscow refused to fly on the SSJ-100]. Lenta.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  30. ^ Prokopovič, Karolina. "RusLine Ditches its Big Superjet 100 Plans". Aviation Voice. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  31. ^ "Were lives lost at the cost of carry-ons in Aeroflot plane crash that killed 41?". USA TODAY.
  32. ^ Mzezewa, Tariro (6 May 2019). "In the Event of an Emergency, Leave Your Luggage on the Plane. Really". Retrieved 14 May 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  33. ^ a b "What We Know About the Deadly Aeroflot Superjet Crash Landing". The Moscow Times. 6 May 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  34. ^ "Данные о проблемах с эвакуацией из SSJ-100 из-за ручной клади не подтвердились". TASS (in Russian). 11 May 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  35. ^ "ТАСС: версия о спасении багажа из сгоревшего SSJ-100 ценой жизней людей не подтвердилась". NEWSru.com (in Russian). 11 May 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  36. ^ "«Я снял, как горел наш самолёт»: пассажир Sukhoi Superjet 100 рассказал о смертельном рейсе" ["I shot movie while our plane was burning": a passenger of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 told about the deadly flight] (in Russian). 14 May 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  37. ^ ""Я смотрел в иллюминатор и думал: мы сейчас взорвемся или нет?"" ["I looked out the window and thought: are we going to explode or not?"]. Сибирь. Реалии (in Russian). Retrieved 16 May 2019.

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