A crew handling error which made the aircraft stall on approach to landing appears to have caused the 4 July Vladivostok Avia Tupolev Tu-154 crash at Irkutsk, according to an initial report by the Interstate Aviation Committee's commission for air accident investigation. The information was obtained from the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder which were taken to Moscow for analysis.

Delivering the news, deputy prime minister Ilya Klebanov says that the co-pilot, who was the pilot flying the aircraft at the time, had "inexplicably raised the angle of attack". He says that the crew's actions were "perfectly normal until they received an audio warning from the aircraft's flight control system that the angle of attack was too high. Then the co-pilot turned the aircraft sharply, and it entered a 22s spin before hitting the ground."

The aircraft hit the ground in a virtually flat attitude, and all nine crew and the 136 passengers on board were killed.

The co-pilot had been given control at 2,500ft (800m) on approach in good weather and pulled back the control column too far, causing the stall and spin. Klebanov explains that when the captain took control again he had applied full power on all three engines, and that they and the aircraft systems were working properly until the impact.

The investigators say that they are going to analyse the pilots' activities during the last four days to understand why they made the error, but they are also expected to raise the question of recurrent training in smaller Russian airlines.

Source: Flight International