Aeroflot Flight 593

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Aeroflot Flight 593
Aeroflot Airbus A310-300 F-OGQS CDG 1993.png
F-OGQS, the aircraft involved in the accident, on an apron at Charles de Gaulle Airport in 1993
Accident summary
Date 23 March 1994 (1994-03-23)
Summary Pilot error, untrained minor in command of controls
Site 20 km (12 mi) E of Mezhdurechensk, Russia
53°30′N 88°15′E / 53.500°N 88.250°E / 53.500; 88.250Coordinates: 53°30′N 88°15′E / 53.500°N 88.250°E / 53.500; 88.250
Passengers 63
Crew 12
Fatalities 75 (all)
Aircraft type Airbus A310-304
Aircraft name Glinka
Operator Aeroflot – Russian International Airlines
Registration F-OGQS
Flight origin Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, Russia
Destination Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong

Aeroflot Flight 593 was a MoscowHong Kong passenger service operated by Aeroflot – Russian International Airlines, flown with an Airbus A310-300, that crashed into a mountain range in Kemerovo Oblast, Russia on 23 March 1994. All 63 passengers and 12 crew members perished in the accident.

No evidence of a technical malfunction was found.[1] Cockpit voice and flight data recorders revealed the presence of the pilot's 12-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son on the flight deck.[2][3][4] The son had unknowingly disengaged the A310's autopilot control over the aircraft's ailerons while seated at the controls. The aircraft rolled into a steep bank and near-vertical dive. Despite managing to level the aircraft, the pilot over-corrected when pulling up, causing the plane to stall and go into a corkscrew dive; the pilots managed to level the aircraft off once more, but by now the plane had descended greatly in altitude and crashed into the Kuznetsk Alatau mountain range.[5]

Background

Aircraft

The aircraft involved in the accident was a leased Airbus A310-304, registration F-OGQS, serial number 596, that was delivered new to Aeroflot on 11 December 1992.[6] Powered with two General Electric CF6-80C2A2 engines, the airframe had its maiden flight as F-WWCS on 11 September 1991, and was one of five operating for Russian Airlines, an autonomous division of Aeroflot – Russian International Airlines that was set up for serving routes to the Russian Far East and Southeast Asia.[7][6] On average, the crew of three operating the aircraft had logged 900 hours on the type.[7]

Crew

The captain of Flight 593 was Andrey Viktorovich Danilov (Андрей Викторович Данилов), 40, who was hired by Aeroflot in November 1992. He had over 9,675 hours of flight time, including 950 hours in the A310; of these, 895 hours were as captain. The first officer was Igor Vasilyevich Piskaryov (Игорь Васильевич Пискарёв), 33, who was hired by Aeroflot in October 1993. He had 5,885 hours of flight time, including 440 hours in the A310. The relief pilot was Yaroslav Vladimirovich Kudrinsky (Ярослав Владимирович Кудринский), 39. He had experience in the Yakovlev Yak-40, Antonov An-12, and Ilyushin Il-76, and was hired in November 1992. He had over 8,940 flying hours, included 907 hours in the A310. There were also nine flight attendants aboard.[8]

Accident

On 23 March 1994, the jet was en route from Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow to Hong Kong Kai Tak International Airport with 75 occupants aboard, of whom 63 were passengers.[9][10][11] Most of the passengers were businessmen from Hong Kong and Taiwan who were looking for economic opportunities in Russia.[8]

Relief pilot Kudrinsky was taking his two children on their first international flight, and they were brought to the cockpit while he was on duty.[2] Five people were thus on the flight deck: Kudrinsky, co-pilot Piskaryov, Kudrinsky's children Eldar and Yana,[12] and another pilot, Vladimir Makarov, who was flying as a passenger.[13]

With the autopilot active, Kudrinsky, against regulations, let the children sit at the controls. First, his daughter Yana took the pilot's left front seat. Kudrinsky adjusted the autopilot's heading to give her the impression that she was turning the plane, though she actually had no control of the aircraft. Shortly thereafter, Kudrinsky's son Eldar occupied the pilot's seat.[2] Unlike his sister, Eldar applied enough force to the control column to contradict the autopilot for 30 seconds. This caused the flight computer to switch the plane's ailerons to manual control while maintaining control over the other flight systems. A silent indicator light came on to alert the pilots to this partial disengagement. The pilots, who had previously flown Russian-designed planes which had audible warning signals, apparently failed to notice it.[citation needed]

The first to notice a problem was Eldar, who observed that the plane was banking right. Shortly after, the flight path indicator changed to show the new flight path of the aircraft as it turned. Since the turn was continuous, the resulting predicted flight path drawn on screen was a 180-degree turn. This indication is similar to the indications shown when in a holding pattern, where a 180-degree turn is intentional to remain in one place. This confused the pilots for nine seconds. During this confusion, the plane banked past a 45-degree angle to almost 90 degrees (steeper than it was designed for). The A310 cannot turn this steeply while maintaining height, and the plane started to lose altitude quickly. The increased g-forces on the pilots and crew made it extremely difficult for them to regain control. The autopilot (which no longer controlled the ailerons) used its other controls in a bid to compensate, pitching the nose up and increasing thrust. The plane began to stall. The autopilot, unable to cope, disengaged and its display went blank. To recover from the stall, an automatic system lowered the nose and put the plane into a nosedive.[8] The reduced g-forces enabled the captain to re-take his seat. The co-pilot then managed to pull out of the dive, but over-corrected, putting the plane in an almost vertical ascent, again stalling the plane, which fell out of the sky into a corkscrew dive. Though the captain and the co-pilot regained control and leveled out the wings, their altitude by then was too low to recover, and the plane crashed at high vertical speed, estimated at 70 m/s (160 mph).[14] All 75 died from impact.[9]

The aircraft crashed with its landing gear up, and all passengers had been prepared for an emergency, as they were strapped into their seats.[14] No distress calls were made prior to the crash.[7] Despite the struggles of both pilots to save the aircraft, it was later concluded that if they had just let go of the control column, the autopilot would have automatically taken action to prevent stalling, thus avoiding the accident.[8]

The wreckage was located on a remote hillside in the Kuznetsk Alatau mountain chain, approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of Mezhdurechensk, Kemerovo Oblast, Russia; the flight data recorders were found on the second day of searching.[7] Families of western victims placed flowers on the crash site, while families of Chinese victims scattered pieces of paper with messages written on them around the crash site.[8]

The airline originally denied that the children were in the cockpit. The Moscow-based magazine Obozrevatel (Russian: Обозреватель, Observer) published the transcript on the week of Wednesday, 28 September 1994. The Associated Press said that, according to the transcript, "the Russian crew almost succeeded in saving the plane".[12] The New York Times said that "A transcript of the tape printed in the magazine Obozrevatel shows that the Russian crew nearly managed to save the Airbus plane and the 75 people on board, but that it was hampered by the presence of children and its unfamiliarity with the foreign-made plane."[3] The New York Times said that an analysis by an aviation expert published in Rossiiskiye Vesti (Российские вести) supported that analysis.[3]

Full transcript

(N.B.: All timestamps refer to the flight data recorder time, not GMT or local time.)[15][16]

2258 Eldar: Why's it turning?
2259 Kudrinsky: Is it turning by itself?
2260 Eldar: Yes ... it is
2261 Kudrinsky: I don't know why it's turning
2266 Eldar: Is it going off-course?
2266 Makarov Could it be some kind of zone?
2267 Piskarev: We've gone into a zone, a holding pattern
2268 Kudrinsky: Have we?
2269 Piskarev: Of course we have.
2270 Makarov: Guys ...

The plane exceeds a 45-degree bank angle. The g-forces increase, making it difficult for Kudrinsky to return to his seat.

2272 Kudrinsky: Hold it! Hold the control column
2275 Makarov: The speed ...
2276 Piskarev: The other way!
2277 Kudrinsky: To the left! To the left!
2281 Piskarev: Left!
2281 Kudrinsky: Left... The other way!
2281 Makarov: Turn it, to the left!
2282 Piskarev: Left!
2284 Eldar: I am turning it left!
2284 Piskarev: To the right!
2285 Kudrinsky: To the right
2288 Piskarev: Can't you see, or what?

Altitude warning and autopilot disengage warnings sound in quick succession. The plane begins to descend at speeds of up to 1000 feet per second.

2291 Piskarev: Turn right. Turn right! Turn right!
2297 Kudrinsky: RIGHT!
2298 Piskarev: To the left, There's the ground!
2303 Kudrinsky: Eldar, get out ... Climb back out ... Climb back out, Eldar. You see the danger, no?
2314 Piskarev: Throttles to idle!

The first officer pulls out of the dive, but over-corrects. The aircraft now starts climbing almost vertically.

2319 Kudrinsky: Eldar, get out! Get out, Eldar, get out ... Get out, Eldar, get out, get out ... get out ... [gasping] get out ... Get out, I say!
2334 Piskarev: Full power! Full power! ... Full power!
2336 Kudrinsky: Got full power, got it
2337 Piskarev: Full power!
2338 Kudrinsky: Got it ...
2340 Piskarev: Full power!
2346 Kudrinsky: I gave it full power, I gave it
2348 Piskarev: What's the speed?
2350 Makarov (?): Look on the left, it's three-forty
2354 Kudrinsky: ... Okay ... [sobbing] Full power!
2365 Piskarev: Speed is very high
2367 Kudrinsky: High, is it?
2368 Piskarev: Yes, isn't it?
2369 Kudrinsky: I switched it off
2371 Piskarev: We're coming out, coming out!
2377 Kudrinsky: Done
2382 Piskarev: Gently! ... Shit, not again
2388 Kudrinsky: Don't turn it right! The speed [unintelligible]
2392 Piskarev: There!
2393 Kudrinsky: We'll get out of this. Everything's fine ... Gently [unintelligible], gently ... Pull up gently!
2400 (17:58:01 UTC) [Sound of impact, end of recording]

Dramatisation

An episode of the Canadian-produced TV series Mayday (Air Emergency, Air Crash Investigation) entitled "Kid in the Cockpit", featured this crash.

Flight number

The airline has modified its schedules and reassigned flight numbers; as of December 2014, the only flight servicing Hong Kong is numbered SU212, and is operated on a daily basis.[17]

See also

References

  1. ^ "A310 crash findings imminent". Flight International: 8. 15–21 June 1994. Archived from the original on 27 April 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Transcript reveals cockpit anarchy". Flight International: 5. 5–11 October 1994. Archived from the original on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Tape Confirms The Pilot's Son Caused Crash Of Russian Jet". The New York Times. 28 September 1994. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Velovich, Alexander (13–19 April 1994). "A310 crash: Conflict over child at controls' report (Page 4)". Flight International: 4–5. Archived from the original on 27 April 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
    "A310 crash: Conflict over child at controls' report (Page 5)". Flight International. Archived from the original on 27 April 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Learmount, David; Velovich, Alexander (27 April – 3 May 1994). "FDR backs A310 crash allegations". Flight International: 5. Archived from the original on 7 October 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "Aeroflot F-OGQS". Airfleets.net. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Airbus A310 crashes in Russia". Flight International: 5. 30 March – 5 April 1994. Archived from the original on 7 May 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Kid in Cockpit," Mayday (also known as Air Crash Investigation)
  9. ^ a b Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
  10. ^ "Airline safety review – Fatal accidents: scheduled passenger flights". Flight International. 20–26 July 1994. Archived from the original on 27 April 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "75 Dead in a Crash Of a Russian Airbus On Hong Kong Run". The New York Times. 23 March 1994. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "Tape Reveals Kids Got Flying Lesson Before Crash". Seattle Times. Associated Press. 28 September 1994. Archived from the original on 3 February 2013. 
  13. ^ Official accident investigation report (Russian)
  14. ^ a b Velovich, Alexander (6–12 April 1994). "Aeroflot A310 crash continues to puzzle". Flight International: 8. Archived from the original on 3 May 2012. 
  15. ^ "Official accident report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 September 2014. 
  16. ^ Aeroflot Flight 593 cockpit voice recording
  17. ^ "Aeroflot Online schedule". Aeroflot. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 

External links

  • (in Russian) Official accident report (Archive)
  • "Airdisaster.com account of the crash, with wreckage photo". Archived from the original on 7 November 2015. 
  • Aeroflot Flight 593 cockpit voice recording on YouTube
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