MOSCOW, February 13 (RIA Novosti) – The pilots of a Red Wings Tu-204 airliner which crashed at a Moscow airport in December had not received sufficient simulator training, Russian prosecutors said on Wednesday.
The passenger jet overshot the runway at Vnukovo airport and crashed into a main highway on December 29, splitting into three pieces and killing five people on board and injuring the other three.
Moscow Region transport prosecutors said they found deficiencies in Red Wings’ simulator training while investigating the accident.
“The examination unveiled that the airline’s crew members did not get enough flight simulator training involving situations where the ground proximity warning and airborne collision avoidance systems were activated,” Moscow’s Deputy Chief Transport Prosecutor Murad Kekhlerov said on Wednesday.
Kekhlerov did not say specifically whether poor training was to blame for the crash. Prosecutors are also considering pilot error, technical malfunctions and bad weather conditions as possible factors in the accident.
The Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK), which is investigating the crash, said in a provisional statement that the aircraft’s thrust-reversers did not deploy properly, but did not say why.
The crash prompted an airworthiness directive instructing crews to engage reverse thrust in stages, by initially selecting a low-thrust setting and checking that the reversers have activated before committing to maximum reverse thrust, FlightGlobal reported.
The prosecutors’ findings come just days after Russia’s aviation safety watchdog, Rosaviatsia, grounded Red Wings on February 4, after an earlier inspection revealed numerous violations in organization of flights, aircraft servicing and pilot training.
The budget-fare airline is owned by billionaire Alexander Lebedev, a former KGB officer whose business empire also includes UK and Russian newspapers.