Alexander Velovich/MOSCOW

THE CIS INTERSTATE Aviation Committee has grounded 15 Russian-operated Tupolev Tu-154Bs because of information emerging about the 7 December 1995, Khabarovsk Air Tu-154B crash in the Russian far east (Flight International, 20 December, 1995-2 January). The aircraft are to remain grounded until the investigation is complete.

Evidence from the recently recovered cockpit-voice recorder has led the investigators to believe that an unknown technical fault on the 20-year-old aircraft led to the out-of-control dive which caused the deaths of all 97 people on board.

Victor Ishayev, heading the investigating commission, has said that the aircraft developed a progressive tendency to bank to the right, but this was counteracted by the auto-pilot and remained unnoticed by the crew. When the crew was about to initiate descent for Khabarovsk Airport from 35,000ft (10,700m) the aircraft stalled and entered a steep spiral dive.

A McDonnell Douglas DC-8F-55 of Zimbabwean cargo carrier Affretair landing at Harare Airport, Zimbabwe, in heavy rain on 28 January overran the runway and stopped in mud, destroying the under- carriage and forward fuselage.

Source: Flight International