Information from the crashed Tatastan Air Boeing 737-500′s flight data recorder released by Russian investigator MAK shows the crew initiated a go-around by reducing the flap from 30 to 15 and setting full power.
So far so good. But they then let the nose rise to 25deg above the horizon so the speed began to drop, and the crew subsequently lost control.
This is becoming a familiar scenario, although it has not always been fatal. Examples of fatal accidents of this type are as follows: China Air Lines Airbus A300-600 at Nagoya, Japan in 1994; Gulf Air A320 in Bahrain in 2000; Airmavia A320 at Sochi, Russia in 2006; Afriqiyah Airways A330 at Tripoli, Libya in 2010.
But there have also been non-fatal but near-disastrous go-around events involving a 737 at Bournemouth, England and an Airbus A310 at Paris Orly in which the problem was the strong pitch-up moment introduced at go-around by the high thrust from the underwing-mounted engines. In March this year I gathered some international expertise on the go-around risk in modern airliners and you can find it here.
My colleague David Kaminski-Morrow provides the full Kazan story according to the MAK’s just-released information.
The Kazan event is interesting in that the aircraft never did stall, according to the MAK, and it may have been recoverable had the crew not seemingly become disorientated by somatogravic illusion (which the DKM story explains). It was a dark night, and at the zenith of the go-around manoeuvre the aircraft would have been in cloud.