Aeroflot Flight 821

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Aeroflot Flight 821

An Aeroflot-Nord Boeing 737-500 similar to the one that crashed
Fatal accident summary
Date14 September 2008 (2008-09-14)
TypePilot error
SitePerm, Russia
57°58′17″N 56°12′54″E / 57.97139°N 56.215°E / 57.97139; 56.215Coordinates: 57°58′17″N 56°12′54″E / 57.97139°N 56.215°E / 57.97139; 56.215
Passengers82
Crew6
Fatalities88 (all)
Survivors0
Aircraft typeBoeing 737-505[1]
OperatorAeroflot-Nord
RegistrationVP-BKO
Flight originSheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, Russia
DestinationBolshoye Savino Airport, Perm, Russia
 
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Aeroflot Flight 821

An Aeroflot-Nord Boeing 737-500 similar to the one that crashed
Fatal accident summary
Date14 September 2008 (2008-09-14)
TypePilot error
SitePerm, Russia
57°58′17″N 56°12′54″E / 57.97139°N 56.215°E / 57.97139; 56.215Coordinates: 57°58′17″N 56°12′54″E / 57.97139°N 56.215°E / 57.97139; 56.215
Passengers82
Crew6
Fatalities88 (all)
Survivors0
Aircraft typeBoeing 737-505[1]
OperatorAeroflot-Nord
RegistrationVP-BKO
Flight originSheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, Russia
DestinationBolshoye Savino Airport, Perm, Russia

Aeroflot Flight 821, operated by Aeroflot-Nord in a service agreement with Aeroflot and as its subsidiary, crashed on approach to Perm Airport on 14 September 2008 at 5:10 local time (UTC+06). All 82 passengers and 6 crew members were killed. A section of the Trans-Siberian Railway was damaged by the crash. Flight 821 is the most deadly accident involving a Boeing 737-500 to date, surpassing the 1993 crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 733.

The main reason for the crash was that both pilots had lost spatial orientation due to their lack of proficiency with the Western type of attitude indicator on the aircraft. Fatigue from lack of adequate rest, poor CRM and alcohol in the Captain's tissues also contributed to the accident.

This air disaster resulted in the rebranding of Aeroflot-Nord into Nordavia, effective on 1 December 2009.

Contents

Accident

The Boeing 737-505, registration VP-BKO, an aircraft belonging to the Aeroflot subsidiary Aeroflot-Nord but operating as Aeroflot flight SU821[2] from Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport to Perm (Russia) crashed into a railway line southwest of Perm 5:10 AM local time (or 13 September 2008, 23:10 PM UTC).[3][4][5][6][7] The weather at the time of accident was rainy and foggy (unbroken clouds at 240m, light rain). City police said the crew attempted emergency landing due to an engine failure.[8]

According to an interview given by the air traffic controller shortly after the disaster, the crew did not respond correctly to ATC commands: after going around, it turned eastward instead of turning westward. However, the crew reported no emergency onboard and confirmed all commands given by ATC.[9] At 5:10 AM, radio contact with the plane was lost; minutes later it crashed in the outskirts of Perm.

Aeroflot-Nord officially stated that: "The Boeing-737 carried 82 passengers on board — including 7 children — and 6 crew... All passengers were killed. As the plane was coming in for landing, it lost communication at the height of 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) and air controllers lost its blip.[10] The airplane was found within Perm's city limits completely destroyed and on fire." Investigator Vladimir Markin said that "there were 82 passengers plus a baby and 5 crew on board, and by preliminary information, they are all dead as the airplane fell into a ravine near the city limits." RIA Novosti however reported that "it was possible that 3 people who bought a ticket for the ill-fated flight 821 to Perm did not get on board."

Both flight recorders were found and successfully decoded. The airline stated "it pledged to pay compensation on obligatory accident insurance in full, which would make up to 2 million rubles per victim." The crash damaged and shut down a section of the Trans-Siberian Railway; rail traffic was temporarily re-routed via Chusovaya station, and was restored by the evening of September 14. The aircraft was leased by Aeroflot-Nord from Dublin-based Pinewatch Limited from July 2008 to March 2013.[11][12][13]

It was reported that its engines caught fire at an altitude of 1,000 metres (3,300 ft). Eyewitness reports stated that the plane was visibly on fire prior to crashing, and hit the ground at a 30-40 degree angle.[4] However, the low clouds (at 240m) must have prevented any witnesses from seeing the plane for more than a few seconds and the report was subsequently discounted by the accident enquiry (see below).

The final enquiry report stated that "after the base turn, approaching the landing course at 600 m with both autopilot and autothrottle disengaged, the aircraft started climbing up to 1300 m, rolled 360° over the left wing and collided with the ground".[14]

The aircraft involved in the crash was delivered on September 8, 1992 to Braathens, and was operated by China Southwest Airlines subsidiary Xiamen Airlines from September 1992 to March 1993. The 737 was then operated by China Southwest Airlines itself until the airline merged with Air China, who operated the aircraft from March 2003 until it was stored in March 2008. Aeroflot-Nord leased the aircraft from Pinewatch Limited, and had operated it since May 29, 2008.[1][15][16] Pinewatch was incorporated in 1995.[17]

Investigation

Russia's Air Accident Investigation Commission of the Interstate Aviation Committee led the investigation, with US assistance from the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Authority, and Boeing.[18] As the aircraft was registered in Bermuda, that government was represented by the UK's Air Accident Investigation Branch. The engines were made in France, so that state was represented by the Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la sécurité de l'Aviation Civile (BEA).[19]

According to the data in flight recorders, the engines did not catch fire and continued working until the impact. The latest official reports are published in Russian on the Air Accident Investigation Commission website. An English translation of the final report is available at the United Kingdom Air Accidents Investigation Branch website; the AAIB states that it is not an official English translation.[14]

The final investigation report stated the following reasons for the crash:[14][20][21][22]

Lawsuit

On 1 October 2008, the mother of a 27-year-old female passenger who died in the accident sued Aeroflot and Moskva Insurance Company for 7.7 million rubles (approximately US$300,000) in punitive damages.[24]

Last minutes of the flight

Irek Birbov, the ATC controller on duty the night of the incident gave an interview where he told about his communication with Flight 821. He said that on final approach the aircraft was too far right of the landing course, and the controller informed the pilot about that, who corrected the approach course.

But instead of descending to land, the plane then went up. ATC controller noticed this also and reportedly radioed the aircraft with this message: "According to my data, you are climbing. Confirm current altitude 900m." The aircraft should have been at an altitude of 600m at that time to descend further 300m. The pilot replied "Affirmative, we are descending" and initiated a climb to about 1200m, at which point he could no longer catch the glideslope. The controller instructed the pilot to turn right and go around. The pilot acknowledged but did not execute this instruction - instead, he turned left and asked to continue his approach. The controller asked whether everything was all right; the pilots confirmed that it was. The controller then insisted that the aircraft circle, instructing them to switch to another ATC controller. The pilots, however, never contacted the other ATC and started to descend quickly. When they were at about 600m, the controller radioed the plane to maintain 600m. The only thing he heard from pilots was "Aaa shit!" A moment later the controller saw the explosion in the outskirts of the city.[25]

Crew

According to early claims of Aeroflot-Nord representatives, the crew was described as very experienced and one of the best in the company. Captain Rodion Medvedev had a flight record of 3689 hours while First Officer Rustam Allaberdin had 8713. Later it was revealed that Medvedev's flight record as a captain was 452 hours and that Allaberdin's experience of Boeing 737's piloting was just 219 hours. For the most part of their careers Medvedev and Allaberdin were piloting Tu-134 and An-2 respectively. Gennady Kurzenkov, head of the State Aviation Inspection Service, stated that the flight crew submitted falsified documents to the airline showing that they had passed preflight courses.[26][27][28]

Casualties

Nationality[29]Casualties
 Russia66
 Azerbaijan8
 Ukraine5
 Belarus1 [30]
 People's Republic of China1 [31]
 France2
 Germany1
 Italy1
 Latvia1
 Turkey1
 Uzbekistan1
Total88

Notable death

See Also

References

  1. ^ a b "VP-BKO Boeing 737 MSN 25792 - Planesregister.com". planesregister.com. 17 September 2008. http://www.planesregister.com/aircraft/b737-25792.htm. 
  2. ^ "A Boeing-737 belonging to Aeroflot-Nord crashed today at the airport of Perm" (Press release). Aeroflot. 2008-09-14. Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. http://www.aeroflot.ru/eng/about.aspx?ob_no=549&d_no=11497. Retrieved 2008-09-14. [dead link]
  3. ^ Final report, synopsis (page 8)
  4. ^ a b "Passenger plane crashes in Russia". BBC News. 2008-09-14. Archived from the original on 14 September 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7614951.stm. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  5. ^ "88 человек погибли при крушении "Боинга-737" под Пермью" (in Russian). Lenta.Ru. 2008-09-14. Archived from the original on 15 September 2008. http://www.lenta.ru/news/2008/09/14/aircrash/. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  6. ^ "Самолет в Перми упал недалеко от жилых домов" (in Russian). 2008-09-14. Archived from the original on 14 September 2008. http://www.gazeta.ru/news/lenta/2008/09/14/n_1270150.shtml. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  7. ^ "При падении Boeing 737 повреждена Транссибирская магистраль" (in Russian). Gazeta.ru. 2008-09-14. Archived from the original on 14 September 2008. http://gazeta.ru/news/lenta/2008/09/14/n_1270144.shtml. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  8. ^ "Crash: Aeroflot-Nord B735 at Perm on Sep 14th 2008, impacted ground while on approach to Perm". Aviation Herald. http://avherald.com/h?article=40cba259. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  9. ^ "Диспетчер: экипаж Boeing вел себя неадекватно - Газета.Ru: Хроника дня" (in Russian). Gazeta.ru. Archived from the original on 16 September 2008. http://www.gazeta.ru/news/lenta/2008/09/14/n_1270291.shtml. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  10. ^ "88 die in Russian jet crash". Associated Press (Toronto Star): p. 26. 2008-09-15. 
  11. ^ "88 including 21 foreigners killed in airplane crash in Russia's Urals". Agence France Press. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gJgjC63RTDeMPUx-47gaOd3xnRFg. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Plane crash kills all on board". ukpress. http://ukpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5h5n82mQKM3elWCDfl_6mM8GnSjpg. [dead link]
  13. ^ reuters.fr/news "Russian Aeroflot plane crashes, 88 people killed". 2008-09-14. http://www.reuters.fr/news/articlenews.aspx?type=newsOne&storyID=2008-09-14T055621Z_01_LE463005_RTRUKOC_0_US-RUSSIA-CRASH.xml&WTmodLoc=Home-C2-TopNews-newsOne-1 reuters.fr/news. 
  14. ^ a b c http://www.aaib.gov.uk/sites/aaib/publications/foreign_reports.cfm
  15. ^ b737-25792 Airfleets.net
  16. ^ "[Clarifying information"] (in Russian) (Press release). Aeroflot-Nord. 14 September 2008. http://www.aeroflot-nord.ru/news/actual/?file=5000171409200829. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Pinewatch Limited"[dead link]
  18. ^ "NTSB assists government of Russia in aviation accident" (Press release). US National Transportation Safety Board. 2008-09-14. http://www.ntsb.gov/Pressrel/2008/080914.html. [dead link]
  19. ^ "Factual report, NTSB ID: DCA08RA097" (PDF). US National Transportation Safety Board. http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/GenPDF.asp?id=DCA08RA097&rpt=fa. [dead link]
  20. ^ http://www.mak.ru/russian/investigations/2008/boeing-737-500.html
  21. ^ "Боинг-737-500 VP-BKO 14.09.2008." Interstate Aviation Committee. Retrieved on 19 February 2009.
  22. ^ IAC - Final report B 737-505 VP-BKO (full text)
  23. ^ http://www.avia.ru/news/?id=1233561507
  24. ^ "[Former Moscow Youth Palace deputy director has her sentence reduced"] (in Russian). Kommersant. 2008-10-02. http://www.kommersant.ru/doc.aspx?docsid=1034392. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  25. ^ "Диспетчер о последних минутах перед авиакатастрофой в Перми" (Press release). rian.ru. 2008-09-15. Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. http://www.rian.ru/society/20080915/151274111.html. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  26. ^ Perm Crash Pilots Used Fake Papers Moscow Times 31 October 2008 (archived 21 November 2008)
  27. ^ "Все нормально в экипаже? - Первым заподозрил неладное диспетчер аэропорта Большое Савино" Novaya Gazeta (in Russian)
  28. ^ Aeroflot Nord pilots reported to have used false papers Aero News Net 3 November 2008
  29. ^ Final report, section 1.1
  30. ^ "МЧС России: На борту разбившегося в Перми самолета находилась гражданка Беларуси" (in (Belarusian)). tut.by. 2008-09-16. Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. http://news.tut.by/society/117322.html. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  31. ^ "在俄客机空难中遇难中国公民为26岁浙江籍女性" (in Chinese). Xinhuanet.com. 2008-09-15. Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. http://news.xinhuanet.com/overseas/2008-09/15/content_10009070.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  32. ^ "Russian plane crash kills 88, faulty engine blamed - Yahoo! News". News.yahoo.com. 2008-09-14. http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080914/ts_nm/russia_crash_dc. Retrieved 2008-09-15. [dead link]

External links