Vnukovo runway friction normal after Tu-204 crash: inquiry

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Measurements at Moscow Vnukovo taken shortly after the fatal Red Wings Tupolev Tu-204 landing accident show the runway friction coefficient was suitable for the twinjet.

Five of the eight occupants were killed after the aircraft overran the runway.

While the weather conditions included light snow, the Interstate Aviation Committee says a runway visual inspection and brushing took place 1h 20min before the crash.

It adds that a runway friction check was carried out 15min after the accident, and the coefficient of friction was measured at 0.63.

This figure "meets the requirements for landing the aircraft type", the investigation authority states.

The Tu-204, powered by Aviadvigatel PS-90 engines, overran runway 19 on 29 December, careering over a steep decline before striking an embankment supporting the east-west M3 highway.

Investigators have not given a reason for the aircraft's failure to stop on the 3,060m (10,040ft) runway.

But an overrun involving another Tu-204 at Novosibirsk Tolmachevo airport just eight days earlier focused the federal aviation regulator's attention on weight-on-wheels landing-gear switches. Failure of the switches to register compression of the main landing-gear caused problems with thrust-reverser activation.

Russian federal aviation authority Rosaviatsia, according to a communication disclosed by Vnukovo's airport operator, sought "urgent preventative measures" from Tupolev on 28 December - the day before the Red Wings crash.