The crash of a Russian Yak-42 airliner that killed 44 people in September was caused by inexperienced pilots inadvertantly applying braking on take-off, causing the aircraft to fail to reach a safe flying speed, investigators from the CIS Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) said on Wednesday.
“The take-off speed decision by the pilot – 190 km/h – was 20 km/h less than that required for the actual take-off weight of 54 tons and nominal power regime of the engines,” MAK technical commission chairman Alexey Morozov told a news conference in Moscow.
Morozov said one of the pilots was apparently pressing hard on a brake pedal while pulling the control yoke up. It was not discovered which pilot was responsible.
The investigators established at least four causes that contributed to the crash, including a lack of pilot training, the absence of control over the crew’s preparation for flight, the pilots’ failure to follow standard takeoff procedures and poor coordination between the crew during the takeoff.
In addition, neither pilot was fit for flying, as one had traces of a sedative drug in his blood and the other had been diagnosed with a motor-skill debilitating disease.
The plane was in good technical condition before the takeoff, Morozov said.
The Yak-42, chartered by Yaroslavl-based Lokomotiv hockey team, crashed just after takeoff on September 7 as the team was heading to Minsk for their season opener against Dinamo Minsk. Forty-four people were killed including a slew of former NHL stars and future draft prospects.