Pilots demand live-fire curbs after Tu-154 shootdown

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Pilots are calling for stricter regulation of missile tests following the accidental shooting-down of a Sibir Tupolev Tu-154M over the Black Sea in October.

Representatives of the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) are stressing that governments must ensure that testing takes place at a safe distance from commercial air corridors.

Investigators probing the 4 October accident have concluded that a surface-to-air missile, fired during a military exercise by Ukrainian forces, brought down the aircraft with the loss of all 78 passengers and crew.

IFALPA has expressed its concern over the circumstances of the accident, and says: “IFALPA believes that there is a requirement for such tests to be more closely regulated and managed.

“If there is any doubt concerning the controllability and potential range of missiles that are being tested, then the problems must be clearly identified and resolved, to ensure that no danger exists before live firing commences.

“In addition [we] believe that a suitable geographical safety margin should be established to ensure that, if the missile does not hit its intended target, aircraft will not be in any danger from the missile.”

IFALPA adds that governments must take on the responsibility of insisting and making sure that missile tests are conducted in locations where it has been proven that failure of a missile or its components cannot jeopardise commercial flight safety.