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.