Flydubai accident update from MAK

Russian accident investigator MAK has released preliminary information from the flight data recorder suggesting that there was no mechanical or aircraft systems fault in the Flydubai Boeing 737-800 at the time it appeared to go out of control and crash on final approach to Rostov on Don (see details in blog entry for 20 March).

Also since the previous blog story was written, video imagery has been released indicating that the final trajectory of the aircraft to impact was a nose-down high speed dive, which matches closely the flight profile of a Tatarstan Airlines 737-500 before it crashed on approach to Kazan, Russia in November 2013 (see also 20 March story for details).

If the MAK confirms these details in a fuller release soon it will highlight a need for the industry to train crews better for all-engines go-around manoeuvres because of the potentially dangerous combination – especially at night or in IMC – of the strong pitch-up moment caused by go-around power from underslung engines, plus “somatogravic illusion” in the pilots. Somatogravic illusion is the feeling induced by rapid forward acceleration that the nose has pitched up when it has not.

Another factor in this lack of crew familiarity with all-engines-go-around risks is believed to be that the go-arounds most practiced during recurrent training involve an engine-out abandoned approach, in which the power, pitch-up moment, climb rate and airspeed acceleration are all much more gentle.

The Flight Safety Foundation has been alerting airlines to this risk for many years now, and some airlines have modified their recurrent training accordingly.

Pilot groups in Dubai are also alleging that crew fatigue may have played a part in this accident. If this is true, it will emerge in the MAK final report.

7 thoughts on “Flydubai accident update from MAK

  1. Post Tatarstan 737-500 crash the MAK withdrew airworthiness approval for the B737 citing pitch control problems on the aeroplane. Have you heard anything similar from the MAK regarding the FZ981 crash?

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      • Curious; given the homogeneity between the two accidents, the investigation findings and post investigation actions by the MAK with regards to the B737 elevators and pitch control systems, one would expect this to be of foremost interest?

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      • I understand your puzzlement. I also am puzzled. The FAA didn’t seem to take the pitch control system finding in the Tatarstan case seriously. Let’s see what happens.

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      • Excerpt from http://avherald.com/h?article=495997e2&opt=0

        On Apr 5th 2016 Russia’s Ministry of Transport reported that on first approach to runway 22 the aircraft went around, the crew reported a wind shear on final approach, climbed to FL050 then FL080 and entered a hold to wait for improvement of weather. The crew subsequently requested and was cleared to FL150 in the hold. When air traffic control provided information that the visibility was 5000 meters, cloud ceiling at 630 meters/2000 feet, winds from 230 degrees at 13m/s gusting 18m/s (25 knots gusting 35 knots), no wind shear, the crew requested another approach clearance. On final approach at about 220 meters/720 feet the crew went around again and climbed, at 900 meters/3000 feet the stabilizer moved nose down causing the aircraft to stop climbing at about 1000 meters/3330 feet and entering a descent. The aircraft impacted ground about 120 meters from the runway threshold. Preliminary examination results of flight data and cockpit voice recorder do not reveal any evidence of a technical malfunction of engines or aircraft systems or any evidence of an explosion. The investigation is focussing on how the pitch control system works and crew actions during the go around. The captain (ATPL, 5,965 hours total, 2,597 hours on type) was certified for CATIIIa approaches.

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  2. Excerpt from http://avherald.com/h?article=495997e2&opt=0

    On Apr 5th 2016 Russia’s Ministry of Transport reported that on first approach to runway 22 the aircraft went around, the crew reported a wind shear on final approach, climbed to FL050 then FL080 and entered a hold to wait for improvement of weather. The crew subsequently requested and was cleared to FL150 in the hold. When air traffic control provided information that the visibility was 5000 meters, cloud ceiling at 630 meters/2000 feet, winds from 230 degrees at 13m/s gusting 18m/s (25 knots gusting 35 knots), no wind shear, the crew requested another approach clearance. On final approach at about 220 meters/720 feet the crew went around again and climbed, at 900 meters/3000 feet the stabilizer moved nose down causing the aircraft to stop climbing at about 1000 meters/3330 feet and entering a descent. The aircraft impacted ground about 120 meters from the runway threshold. Preliminary examination results of flight data and cockpit voice recorder do not reveal any evidence of a technical malfunction of engines or aircraft systems or any evidence of an explosion. The investigation is focussing on how the pitch control system works and crew actions during the go around. The captain (ATPL, 5,965 hours total, 2,597 hours on type) was certified for CATIIIa approaches.

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