Fri, Sep 26, 2008
Says Pilots Need Additional Training Immediately
Russia's aviation authority has
called for the immediate grounding of all passenger flights on
Boeing 737 airliners, following the September 14 downing of an
Aeroflot-Nord aircraft that claimed the lives of 88 passengers and
It was not clear whether the ruling applies to all 107 Boeing
737s in service in Russia, or only older Classic models similar to
the -500 that crashed on approach to land in Perm, in the Ural
Mountains. It's also unclear how long the suspension will last.
Citing statements by RIA Novosti, the Associated Press reported
Thursday that Federal Agency of Air Transport spokesman Sergei
Samoshin said pilots need additional training on the differences
between Russian attitude indicators, and the Western-style AIs used
in Boeing planes.
Though investigators have not yet determined a cause of the
accident, officials note the captain of the Aeroflot-Nord flight
has relatively little experience in the 737, having flown
Soviet-made planes for most of his career.
As ANN reported, the focus of the accident
investigation has shifted from earlier witness reports of an engine
fire, to an air traffic controller's claims the 737's pilot acted
strangely in the moments leading up to the crash.
Irek Bikbov told Russia's Channel One network last week the
pilot disobeyed instructions as the plane was on final approach to
land in Perm. Bikbov says the 737 climbed after he told the pilot
to descend, and that the aircraft turn in the wrong direction after
going missed on the first approach. The jet crashed shortly
The pilot, whose name has not been released, reportedly told
Bikbov all was normal onboard the plane. Investigators hope the
plane's cockpit voice and data recorders -- both heavily damaged in
the fiery crash -- may still shed light on what was happening in
the cockpit during the flight's final moments.
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