Spair Airlines Flight 3601
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|Date||August 19, 1996|
|Site||Cornfield northeast of Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, Belgrade, Yugoslavia|
|Aircraft type||Ilyushin Il-76T|
|Flight origin||Ekaterinburg, Russia|
|Destination||Malta International Airport, Malta|
Spair Airlines Flight 3601 (PAR-3601) was a cargo flight between Ekaterinburg, Russia, and Malta International Airport, Malta. On the 19 August 1996 the aircraft crashed in a corn field, 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) northeast of Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport's runway in Yugoslavia.
Flight 3601 departed from Ekaterinenburg on August 18, 1996. The Il-76T landed at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport for refueling and a routine check.
Flight 3601 tried to take off around 23:00, but when the engines were started, all electrical systems failed. The electrical malfunction was repaired and the plane took off at 00:10 on August 19, 1996 heading for Malta. About 15 minutes after takeoff, as Flight 3601 reached Valjevo, Yugoslavia, pilot Vladimir Starikov contacted Belgrade air traffic control and said the plane was again having electrical system problems; that was the last contact air traffic control had with Flight 3601. The assumption is that the plane lost all power for navigation and communication systems. Flight 3601 then turned 180 degrees and tried to come back to Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport.
Flight 3601 appeared over Belgrade about one hour after take off. Many Belgrade residents saw the plane fly over the city and observed that there were no lights active on the aircraft. The weather over Belgrade was very bad that night with heavy clouds. Since there were no electricity aboard the aircraft, the only way to find the runway was by sight.
At about 01:30, Flight 3601 circled central Belgrade at a very low altitude; witnesses said that the plane was seen flying very low over New Belgrade. At 03:14, the flight crew tried to land, first making a 180-degree turn and then aiming for Runway 12 on a course of 121 degrees.
The aircraft plummeted into a corn field as it attempted an emergency landing at Surcin International Airport, exploding and killing the Russian crew of 11. According to The New York Times, the aircraft was illegally carrying weapons for Libya.
- Dulovic, Jovan; Vasic, Milos; Vukelic, Ilija; Stosic, Branko; Kuznetsov, Sergei (August 24, 1996). "Last Flight Over Belgrade". Vreme News Digest Agency. Archived from the original on July 4, 2013.
- "Plane crash near Belgrade kills 12". CNN. August 19, 1996. Archived from the original on July 12, 2001.
- "IL-76 crash". Flightglobal. Flight International. August 28, 1996. Archived from the original on July 4, 2013.