Saturday, April 03, 2010

Update on the Aviastar-TU Tupolev Tu-204 crash at Moscow

by B. N. Sullivan

The Russian Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) has released a few more details about last month's crash of a Tupolev TU-204 (registration RA-64011) near Moscow Domodedovo Airport. The aircraft, operated by Russian carrier Aviastar-TU, was destroyed when it crashed while on approach to Domodedovo, after a ferry flight from Hurghada, Egypt. There were no passengers on board, but all eight crew members were injured in the accident. The accident occurred on March 22, 2010.

A brief report posted earlier this week on the MAK Web site states that the aircraft had taken on 16 tons of fuel before departing from Hurghada. At the time of the accident, there was "no less than 9 tons of fuel" remaining in the aircraft's tanks. MAK also has concluded that the engines were functioning normally prior to the crash.

Information obtained from the Cockpit Voice Recorder and Flight Data Recorder indicated that the crew were carrying out an ILS approach to runway 14R at Domodedovo, using the flight director and autopilot. At an altitude of about 4,000 meters, the automated systems failed, so the crew switched to manual controls. They did not notify ATC and dispatch that the automated flight control systems were not functioning, nor did they request any changes to their approach. They continued the approach, but crashed about 1 km short of the runway.

The investigation is continuing.