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Weather likely factor in UTAir crash as analysis shows no technical flaw

Initial analysis of flight recorder data from the UTAir Tupolev Tu-134 that crashed on a domestic flight at Samara on 17 March suggests the aircraft was not experiencing any obvious technical malfunction before the accident.

Six passengers on board the aircraft, which was arriving at Samara from Surgut, were killed when the aircraft apparently touched down short of the runway, broke up and overturned on landing. The accident happened in freezing fog at 10:40. The Tu-134 had been operating flight P2 471 on the domestic Surgut-Belgorod route via Samara in southern Russia, with 50 passengers and seven crew.

 
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The Tu-134 landed short of the runway in freezing fog and overturned

Both the cockpit voice and flight data recorders were retrieved from the wreckage in working order, and Russia's interstate aviation committee MAK says a preliminary assessment shows the twinjet's Aviadvigatel D-30 engines were both operating up to the point of impact.

The undercarriage had been lowered and the aircraft's flaps were positioned at 30°, says MAK: "At the moment of its destruction the aircraft was in landing configuration." It adds the aircraft did not suffer fire or other damage while airborne.

MAK is collating and synchronising the records from on board the aircraft with those obtained from air traffic control.

UTAir is based in Khanty-Mansiysk and operates a large fleet of Tu-134s among a wide range of primarily Soviet-era types. The airline is among nine carriers restricted since February by the Russian government from operating into Europe.

 




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