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Rus Airlines grounded after Il-76 accident

A Rus Airlines Ilyushin Il-76MD crashed, killing all 10 people on board, as it took off from Chkalovsk air force base near Moscow on 14 July. The aircraft (RA-76588) hit the ground in a small forest about 400m (1,300ft) from the runway end, having reached a maximum height of 150ft.

The Il-76 was bound for Norilsk with a cargo of consumer goods, and was carrying a crew of nine along with a State Service of Civil Aviation (GSGA) flight check pilot.

Following the accident, Rus, which has been growing rapidly, had its air operator's certificate suspended pending the initial investigation reports. These should be available soon because the flight data recorder information is now understood to have been downloaded. A European Civil Aviation Conference Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft audit of one of Rus' fleet at Ostend, Belgium, resulted in an allegation that the airline had extended the life of some components without doing the required work.

The investigators say that the first analysis of the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) indicates that the person at the controls may have been the GSGA check pilot. GSGA sources state that their check pilots are authorised to take any cockpit position, but Rus says that this pilot was experienced on the Ilyushin Il-62, a passenger jet with a very different profile. Unconfirmed reports indicate that there was heavy fog at the time and that the aircraft was overweight.

This is the second accident this year in which an Il-76 has been written off, though the 18 April loss was not fatal. Since 1990 there have been 20 Il-76 accidents, taking into account both military and non-military operations. One involved a mid-air collision.

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