Helios flight sequence to be simulated for investigators

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Later re-enactment will include interception of Boeing 737-300 by Greek F-16 fighters

The Greek Air Accident Investig­ation and Aviation Safety Board (AAIASB) is to simulate the entire sequence of the 14 August Helios Airways Boeing 737-300 flight that ended with the aircraft crashing north-east of Athens airport.

AAIASB chief investigator Capt Akrivos Tsolakis says the “flight” will be carried out on 30 September using an Olympic Airways 737-300 simulator on the island of Crete.

When the results of some expert wreckage analysis is complete, Tsolakis says the board will mount a real re-enactment of the flight, complete with the interception by Greek air force Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters that occurred when the aircraft approached Greece on its flight from Cyprus.

Tsolakis says he has “about 60% of the data we need” to understand in detail what happened to the aircraft, which failed to pressurise (Flight International, 13-19 September). The flight data and cockpit voice recorders have provided first-class information, he says, but now the investigators are awaiting assessment of some significant parts of the aircraft wreckage that are being studied in the USA by the National Transportation Safety Board and Boeing.

Tsolakis has just returned to Greece from the UK, having interviewed two British aircraft engineers who had been working for Helios at the time of the accident.

The engineers were “very helpful”, says Tsolakis, who regrets there is no recording of a conversation between the pilots and Helios engineers using the management frequency early in the aircraft’s climb to discuss the remedy for an “air conditioning” problem.

DAVID LEARMOUNT/LONDON