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Mon, Nov 03, 2008

Aeroflot-Nord Pilots Reported To Have Used Fake Papers

Pilot Error And Lack Of Experience Led To Fatal Crash

A Russian aviation safety inspector said Thursday the pilots of the Aeroflot-Nord jetliner that crashed during its approach to the Perm airport last month had falsified documentation of their qualifications.

Gennady Kurzenkov, head of the State Aviation Inspection Service, said the pilots of the Boeing 737 had submitted false documents to the airline showing that they had passed preflight courses, Itar-Tass reported. The flight attendants on the plane also had false documents saying they were qualified to fly on international flights, Kurzenkov said.

A subsidiary of state-owned Aeroflot, Aeroflot-Nord officials could not be reached for comment after office hours Thursday. The airline has previously denied allegations that its pilots lacked necessary experience.

The 737 had no technical problems, Transportation Minister Igor Levitin said, and that both of its engines were in proper order before the flight. He also said there was no evidence of a midair explosion. Post-crash investigation has revealed both engines were operating at the time of impact.

The crash was caused by "a lack of coordination by the crew and their insufficient preparation for flights," Kurzenkov said.

As ANN previously reported, the September 14 accident killed all 88 people on board. The plane was making a second attempt at landing in difficult weather conditions when something went awry. Reports are conflicting, but controllers said the pilot appeared to be under stress and was not responding to their instructions.

Aeroflot-Nord is based in Arkhangelsk, Russia and operates (primarily) scheduled domestic and regional services, with a main base at Talagi Airport, Arkhangelsk. The airline was formed in 1963 as Arkhangelsk United Aviation Squadron and went on to become AVL Arkhangelsk Airlines in 1991.

Aeroflot acquired 51% of the airline in August 2004, with the company being renamed Aeroflot-Nord, taking its place as Aeroflot's second regional airline. In December 2005, Aeroflot-Nord became the first Russian airline to join the European Regions Airline Association.

FMI: www.aeroflot-nord.ru/english/

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