French investigators want further study following Armavia crash report

London
Source: Flightglobal.com
This story is sourced from Flightglobal.com

More detailed study into the factors behind the 3 May 2006 Armavia Airlines Airbus A320 crash near Sochi, Russia, is needed, according to the French accident investigation agency (BEA) in comments that it has appended to the final report.

The aircraft crashed during a go-around manoeuvre ordered by the Sochi approach controller at night in bad weather.

In March, investigators from the CIS Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) reported the probable cause as follows: "While performing the climb with the autopilot disengaged, the Captain, being in a psycho-emotional stress condition, made nose down control inputs due to the loss of pitch and roll awareness."

Poor crew resource management also contributed, says the report, because the copilot's failure to monitor the flight performance parameters.

The BEA comment demonstrates broad agreement with the MAK report's causal and technical findings, but the recommendations show a widely differing approach to what action should be taken as a result.

The MAK has taken a traditional approach, listing the mistakes made and recommending specific fixes for each one, while the BEA suggests the reasons why the mistakes were made need to be better understood.

The French investigators comment: "The dysfunctions noted in the crew's performance are too significant for them to be merely circumstantialit would be desirable to widen the scope of the report to include the structure of operations."

The BEA suggests detailed checks on training procedures and standard operating procedures as practised by Armavia. Specifically, the BEA says: "This failure to follow SOPs and [failure in] teamwork led to the pilots losing situational awareness and made it impossible for them to regain control of the airplane in time."

When the approach controller told the crew to abandon the approach because the weather had gone below minimums, he gave the crew instructions to carry out a climbing turn to the right, but he did not explain this or use standard terminology.

The BEA comments: "Even though this was an international flight, the Sochi controller managed the flight as if it were a domestic flight, with the tacit agreement of the captain, which led him to intervene in the latter's decisions."

The BEA attempts to explain what the report had described as the captain's "psycho-emotional state" by pointing out that the aircraft had been cleared to land at 8.5km(4.6nm) from the Sochi beacon, the normal go-around point.

The agency explains: "The crew, now sure that they were going to land, did not expect any more disturbances. The order to stop the descent, which arrived 46s later, was thus completely unexpected and ran counter to the pilots' mental representation of the situation.

This destabilised the crew, already annoyed [with] the controller, in particular the Captain, who reacted to this instruction rapidly and, it appears, without developing any strategy."

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