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An-148 simulations to check warning system effectiveness

Russia's federal air transport regulator is to use a full-flight Antonov An-148 simulator to examine whether the type's warning systems on in-flight upset are adequate.

Rosaviatsia is to conduct flights using a simulator at St Petersburg's civil aviation university, in the aftermath of the fatal Saratov Airlines accident on 11 February.

The An-148 secured certification in 2009.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the crew received unreliable airspeed alerts, possibly as a result of pitot-static icing, and attempted to fly the aircraft manually before it crashed shortly after take-off from Moscow Domodedovo.

Rosaviatsia says it will use the simulator to examine the An-148's behaviour in abnormal flight situations.

It will focus particularly on whether the warning systems in such situations are effective, and whether there are sufficient advisories in the An-148's flight manuals.

"The simulator is able to replicate almost all expected flight conditions," says the authority.

Rosaviatsia says it will also use the results of the simulation work to introduce additional measures to improve the interactions between crew members when faced with failure scenarios.

The Interstate Aviation Committee has conducted an initial analysis of pilot communications from the Saratov accident, having successfully retrieved data from the cockpit-voice recorder.

While it has yet to disclose details, the committee says the cockpit recording "confirmed" information which had previously been extracted from the An-148's flight-data recorder.

Preliminary findings from the inquiry, based on the flight-data recorder information, have pointed to the pitot-static system's heater not being active during the departure and climb. None of the 71 occupants of the jet survived the crash.

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