Aviation accident: Possible human error in case of Antonov An-148 crash (RA-61704)

On 11 February 2018, Antonov An-148 (RA-61704) aircraft Saratov Airlines collapsed at 5 minutes after the Moscow collapse.

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Sunday, 11 February 2018, will be a black day in the history of civil aviation. Antonov An-148 aircraft (RA-61704) Saratov Airlines crashed a few minutes after taking off from Moscow. There were 71 people, 65 passengers and 6 crew members. There are no survivors.

Antonov An-148 (RA-61704)

The aircraft departed from Domodedovo airport at 14: 21, on flight 6W703. At 14: 28 (Moscow time), radio and radar contact with Antonov An-148 (RA-61704) Saratov Airlines was lost. The aircraft fragments were found near the village of Argunovo, Ramenskoye, Moscow region.

The International Aviation Committee (The Interstate Aviation Committee) formed the investigation team, which began its activity at the accident site. The investigation will be conducted strictly in accordance with the standards of Annex 13 ICAO.

The International Aviation Committee is working closely with all the right authorities in Russia. In the early days, the focus was on finding black boxes and gathering airplane fragments.

On 12 February, one day after the accident occurred, the investigators found the black boxes and sent them to the IAC laboratories for decoration. The data of the last 16 flights operated by this plane, including the tragic ending flight data, were found in the FDR (Flight Data Recorder) box.

On 13 February, the investigation team announced the decoding of data from the black box FDR and provided a preliminary analysis. It seems that in the middle was a HUMAN ERROR. The heating system of the 3 Pitot probes was in the OFF position. Investigators also analyzed the data of the other 15 flights, and the heating system of the 3 Pitot probes was in the ON position.

Possible human error in the event of a crash

In the case of the fatal flight, most likely, the Pitot probes sent erroneous data to the cockpit, these being frozen as the heating system was OFF. Temperatures were -5 degrees at take-off.

The investigators continue the investigation on the spot, but also in the IAC laboratories where all the data from the black boxes are to be studied. Data from CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder) and synchronized with those from FDR are to be analyzed. The standard operating procedures will be analyzed.

The investigation is also attended by Antonov officials, who together with the Russian and IAC officials, are trying to determine precisely if the unfortunate event could be avoided, even if the Pitot wells were frozen. Obviously, there are several causes of a plane crash, and these are to be determined by investigators.

This accident reminds us of another tragic event, which occurred in 2009. It is AF447, on the route Rio de Janeiro - Paris, when the Pitot probes sent erroneous data in the cockpit. In the case of flight AF447, investigators mentioned that the problem with the Pitot probes was a factor, but not the cause of the crash. All human error was the basis!

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