Cites Landing Gear, Engine Failures
Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Yahya Rahim Safavi (center),
speaking to the press about Monday's Dassault Falcon Jet crash,
said that the aircraft suffered both landing gear and engine
problems before crashing.
Safavi, a Brigadier General in the IRGC, said that the
twin-engine Falcon 20 was enroute from Tehran to Oroumiyeh near the
Turkish border, when the pilot, Brigadier General Abbas
Karbandi-Mojarrad (some sources: Karvandi-Mojarrad), informed the
control tower that he could not extend the landing gear.
It seems from Safavi's statements that Karbandi-Mojarrad and his
copilot, Brigadier General Ahmad Elhaminejad, were able to cycle
the landing gear partially, but were then unable to get them fully
up or fully down.
"The plane's pilot then asked permission to return [to Tehran],
and before getting far from the [Oroumiyeh] tower, he contacted the
tower again to say that both engines had also failed."
"That was the last transmission between the plane and the tower,
after which the IRGC Falcon crashed in a garden."
Another IRGC spokesman, Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, speaking on
Iranian state radio, offered a fundamentally identical story --
trouble with, first, the landing gear, and then an engine flameout
in bad weather.
The Iranian officers did not speculate about whether the problem
might have been caused by icing or something simpler, like fuel
exhaustion (the wreckage does not seem to show any signs of fire).
They both stressed that there were no signs of sabotage or other
foul play. "We don't think so at present," Safavi said,
"unless if the technicians investigating the matter were to have a
The IRGC has been on the defensive about its aviation program
since the December 6 crash of an IRGC C-130 in Tehran.
Finger-pointing in that accident continues, with IRGC maintenance
and training and the US Arms Embargo both getting some of the blame
in Iranian public opinion.
The IRGC operates a number of Dassault Falcon 20 light
transports which were purchased directly from France. The separate
Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force also operates Falcons in the VIP
transport role, but those were among the fleet of jets flown from
Iraq to Iran during the first Gulf War.