The Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) has published preliminary results of the investigation of the March 19 crash of Flydubai’s Boeing 737 near Rostov, which resulted in the deaths of all 62 people on board. The report is based on a variety of information sources, including meteorological data and cockpit recorders. All the fragments of the crashed airliner have now been laid out.
The IAC reports that the actual weather in the vicinity of the airport at the time of the incident was consistent with the forecast, and that the weather equipment was operational. The investigators admit that the weather conditions were marginal: the cloud base was at 630 meters, while the wind blew at 230 degrees at 13 meters per second, reaching a maximum 18 meters per second. Also at the time there were light rain showers, mist, severe turbulence on straight-on and moderate windshear.
As was derived from the flight data recorder (FDR), the crew was conducting a manual approach. “In the course of the initial approach at 22:42 UTC at a height of 340 meters, after getting a windshear (abrupt change in wind speed and direction) alert, the crew decided to go around and then continued on holding pattern waiting for improved weather conditions,” the report reads.
As the crew were proceeding with another manual approach, they decided to go around again at a height of 220 meters (4 km short of the runway) and initiated climb setting the engine to takeoff thrust. At a height of 900 m there was a simultaneous control column nose down input and stabilizer 5-degree nose down deflection, resulting in abrupt descent with negative vertical acceleration of -1g. The crew’s actions to recover were not sufficient to avoid impact with the ground, which occurred at the speed of over 600 km/h, over 50 degrees nose down pitch.
It has been established that the crew had received appropriate training, had all the necessary documents in place and valid and sufficient flight experience on the aircraft type. Assessment of the crew’s action is now being done with the contribution of experienced airline pilots and test pilots from Russia, the US and the United Arab Emirates.
Presently, the IAC is completing a two-hour-long transcript of data from the cockpit voice recorder (CVR). The investigation team is planning to engage investigators from the UAE, the USA and Spain to proceed at the IAC laboratory with clarifying the content of the CVR transcript, translating it from English and Spanish and identifying the speakers.
After the IAC released its preliminary report, the Federal Air Transport Agency obliged all Russian operators of Boeing 737s to check their pilots’ skills in terms of performing go-around maneuvers and recovering from an upset.
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