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Russian 737 elevator concerns rooted in Tatarstan crash

Russian authorities’ concerns over Boeing 737 elevator controls appear to be rooted in a dispute over the cause of the fatal Tatarstan Airlines Boeing 737-500 crash at Kazan.

Rosaviatsia had initially signed off the April 2015 draft final report, along with other members of the inquiry team, into the November 2013 accident.

But the Interstate Aviation Committee says that Rosaviatsia withdrew its signature in June.

It claims that Rosaviatsia reverted to a previous position, suggesting that the 737’s elevator control system had contributed to the crash and that the Boeing jet contained a design flaw.

Rosaviatsia adopted this stance, the committee says, despite a comprehensive series of tests carried out on the elevator – including borescope and tomography inspection – which revealed no evidence of system failure.

The Interstate Aviation Committee points out that Rosaviatsia, having declared its concerns over 737 elevator safety, has not taken steps to restrict the type’s operations in Russia.

While the Interstate Aviation Committee says prohibition of flights by Russian carriers is outside of its scope of authority, its airworthiness division has been pressing to address the safety concerns raised.

Rosaviatsia is due to meet with Russian carriers on 6 November to discuss the situation. The Interstate Aviation Committee says it will “not interfere” with the federal regulator’s decisions.

While some 737s feature on the Russian aircraft registry, many of the jets operated by Russian carriers are registered in external locations such as Bermuda and Ireland.

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