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Experts find human factor behind Lokomotiv tragedy

Published time: October 19, 2011 11:49
Edited time: October 19, 2011 15:49
A Yak-42 aircraft carrying Yaroslavl's ice hockey team Lokomotiv crashed during take-off at the Tunoshna Airport, Yaroslavl Region. (RIA Novosti)

A Yak-42 aircraft carrying Yaroslavl's ice hockey team Lokomotiv crashed during take-off at the Tunoshna Airport, Yaroslavl Region. (RIA Novosti)

Specialists from the Gromov Flight Research Institute have completed a series of tests to establish the likely causes of the Yak-42 disaster with the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team on board. The investigation found one of the pilots was at fault.

The flight test has provisionally proved that the Yak-42, with 45 people on board, had no technical failures or problems with the quality of fuel. Braking torque on the wheels apparently caused the crash. This was created by the chief pilot, who for some reason was applying brakes during take-off.

A special device dynamometer was attached to the plane column during the tests to measure the efforts of the pilots’ hands. As it followed from the flight data recorder, the plane’s elevating rudder was inclined at first to 10 degrees during the acceleration, and then up to 13 degrees during the take-off.

The testers claim that, when they tried to reproduce such deviation, they were required to take a strain of tens of kilograms in their hands according to the dynamometer. They could allow for it only by pushing their feet into the brake pedal. The pilot managed to keep the same elevating rudder in position at 13 degrees to within a few seconds. In order to provide the required force of 64 kg, the tester had to apply the brakes with full force.

After speeding and installing the elevating rudder in to the regular position of five degrees, the testers simply removed their arms and legs from the machine controls, and the Yak-42 rose into the air with ease.

This fact suggests that if the pilot of the crashed plane had removed himself from the management in general, the take-off would have been effected normally. The results of flight tests will form the basis of the report of the technical committee on the causes of the Yak-42 disaster.

The tragedy happened on September 7 just outside the city Yaroslavl. A Yak-42 aircraft carrying the players, coaches and the personnel of one of the KHL’s top squads crashed immediately after takeoff from the local airport. Only one flight crew member survived the crash.

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