Aeroflot has published a list of survivors of the emergency landing of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 in Sheremetyevo. In addition to 33 passengers (the list is incomplete and specified), four crew members survived.
As the pilot of SSJ-100 Denis Evdokimov told, lightning struck the plane: “Bright flash, cotton”. Because of this, the liner lost radio communication and went into direct control mode, the pilot noted.
Flight attendant SSJ-100 Tatiana Kasatkina also confirmed that the plane was struck by lightning: “We were in a cloud, there was a strong hail — there was a noise overboard. And at that moment there was a clap, in the course of the plane — on the left.” After that, she said, it was decided to return to the airport.
According to the source of “Interfax” in the airport services, the liner refused automation when re-entering the landing.
“During the first attempt to approach the plane was too high speed, and he could not land. In a second attempt, all the automatic control systems that provide landing failed,” the interlocutor of the Agency said the plane hit the strip three times and broke the rear landing gear. Her wreckage hit the engine, it caught fire, and the flames instantly engulfed the rear fuselage.
There will be a temptation to write off the accident on the crew’s mistake. Like, the pilots are to blame, once failed in manual mode to sit down normally. But try in difficult weather conditions to put half de-energized, tucked to the eyeballs liner — flying tank weighing under 50 tons, which rushes to the ground at a speed of 300 km/h. And add here that the designers on the SSJ-100 abandoned the traditional steering wheel in favor of the side “joystick”, they refused to mechanical shock absorbers that protect the aircraft from touching the runway tail.
There is another question: how did it happen that, having stayed in the air for only four minutes, and gaining a height of only 3600 meters, the liner fell into a cloud with hail? Who laid the route in the thick of the storm front?
After all, it is clear what the end of such a situation. In 2006, Ukraine crashed Tu-154M airline “Pulkovo”, EN route from Anapa to St. Petersburg. On Board were 159 passengers, including 39 children and 10 crew members. They all died. According to one version, the accident could have occurred due to weather conditions: the plane was in strong turbulence, and then in a thunderstorm. In the end, the high-energy discharge knocked out the electronics of the aircraft.
The fall of the Tu-154M was observed by several local residents. They recall that just at this time, a thunderstorm started, then the wind picked up and went to the shower. And the barrel so that the rain was almost horizontal. And then, through the thunder, the residents heard a rumble — right on them from the clouds flew the plane.
And in the case of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 major General, honored military pilot Vladimir Popov, who was near Sheremetyevo shortly before the disaster, said: “not Knowing anything about the accident, I noted for myself that the situation is difficult. During this period, there were a lot of planes that tried to a thunderstorm to land. There was a very large load on the dispatching service — and approach, and landing, and taxiing. In such circumstances, the human factor can be very acute.”
So why was the SSJ-100 in a thundercloud?
— We — professionals — are concerned about the disaster in Sheremetyevo for one reason: not a single external reason, which would portend this tragic event, — said the former Deputy Minister of civil aviation of the USSR, honored pilot of the USSR Oleg Smirnov. — The weather was excellent, daytime — everything is perfectly visible. The plane is new, the crew is prepared. Why is this final?
We are also concerned about how the investigation of the disaster will proceed. The decision to establish the state Commission was made by Vladimir Putin and appointed the Minister of transport as its Chairman. This allows us to hope that the investigation will be objective.
We are also concerned that the SSJ-100 will suffer — and is already suffering — huge image losses. As you know, the liner is built on public money and has not yet worked. The disaster in Sheremetyevo is also a loss for the Russian budget and our economy as a whole.
The state Commission must answer two main questions. First: why did the regular flight, which was carried out on the route Moscow-Murmansk, a few minutes after take-off returned to Sheremetyevo? Second: why the plane at landing began to collapse and formed a fire, which we saw on all channels of television, and as a result of which 41 people were killed?
I think we will find flight recorders — the so-called “black boxes” — and the Commission will establish the true causes of the disaster.
“SP”: — How likely is the version that there was a pilot error?
— Answer so. The story of the Boeing 737 clearly showed that modern aircraft are so computerized that they eliminate the commander of the ship from control. In fact, they make the commander of the computer operator.
In my opinion, this approach is a mistake on a global scale. And this mistake has already claimed hundreds of lives. Judge for yourself: the disaster of “Boeing 737” in Ethiopia and Indonesia happened in exactly the same scenario. Plus the catastrophe of the French Airbus — he flew from Brazil to Paris, and in the middle of the Atlantic dived into the ocean. The French Commission on the results of the investigation made a stunning conclusion: the accident occurred due to the lack of training of the crew to manual piloting of the aircraft in the event of electronics failure.
Here we are, as they say, and flew.
Our state Commission should find out whether the so-called SSJ-100 landing in Sheremetyevo belongs to this series. The so-called — because landing it, in my opinion, can not be called. It’s a plane hitting the runway. Which the design of the liner does not withstand, is destroyed, and the fuel flows out of all the cracks and lights up.
“SP”: — Immediately after takeoff, the airliner caught in a storm front. Why did this happen, who decides on the route?
— In recent years, the rules of interaction between the dispatcher and the commander of the ship have changed. Previously, the dispatcher had the right to prohibit takeoff or landing. Now he is deprived of such right, all decisions are made by the commander of the ship.
Before each flight, the commander studies the meteorological situation on the route, the situation at the alternate airport and the arrival airport — this is a separate mandatory procedure. And if there is a thunderstorm front on the way — it is the commander who decides whether to cross it or not.
But at the same time, there are documents — both international and Federal Russian Federation — which categorically prohibit the aircraft to enter the powerful cumulonimbus, where thunderstorms are possible.
This Cumulus cloud is fixed by the onboard radar. Right in front of the commander of the ship, as well as in front of the co-pilot, a bright spot is displayed on the screens of the so-called “illumination”, where it is forbidden to enter. Because a powerful storm is fraught with forces that plane the solid metal product — break, like a matchbox. In addition, you can catch icing, very strong, which is also dangerous for the flight. Plus catch lightning.
“SP”: — Why is the SSJ crew went to storm front?
— Most likely, he didn’t see this front: such things happen. The plane flies, and every second more and more electrified — increases the electrical voltage on its surface. And next to the cloud, which also accumulates static electricity. And then, at a certain distance, there is a lightning discharge between the cloud and the aircraft.
This phenomenon is well known. The lightning bolt itself is not a fatal event in the life of the pilot. In my practice, there were dozens of lightning strikes in the plane — and everything ended well.
But you have to understand: lightning in 90% of cases can damage the radio, electrical and electronic systems. This should be taken into account when making decisions about flying near electrified powerful clouds.
The decision, again, takes the commander of the ship. And the dispatcher is obliged — can’t, namely is obliged — to inform the commander about the threatening meteorological hazards. To say, you have a route, there is an intense flare of a powerful storm. What the commander is obliged to respond: Roger, take action.
Moreover, the dispatcher can tell that the illumination can be bypassed — for example, North or South — to specify a course. And the commander himself, guided by his locator, chooses a route around the storm activity.
“SP”: — it Turns out, the pilots did not have enough skill — both in assessing the situation and when landing the aircraft in manual mode?
— The Emergency Committee will deal with it.