David Kaminski-Morrow / London

The Armavia Airbus A320 that crashed into the Black Sea on 3 May began a right-hand climbing turn after aborting an initial landing approach to Sochi airport in Russia, before entering its final descent, say Russian accident investigators.

The A320 had been on an approach to runway 06, at night and in adverse weather conditions, after a flight from Yerevan. All 113 people on board were killed.


Search teams have detected two radio signals, probably from the flight recorders, at a depth of 496m (1,630ft) and 6km (3.2nm) from the coast. Although the flight recorders have yet to be retrieved, the accident investigation commission has assessed radar data and communications between the crew and air traffic controllers at Sochi.

“Because of deteriorating meteorological conditions, the air traffic controller gave a command to the crew to stop the approach and carry out a right-hand turn with a climb,” says Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK), which is participating in the joint investigation. “The aircraft began performing the right-hand turn, with the climb, but then it began to descend and collided with the surface of the water.”

MAK says the final communication from the crew was received at 02:12:34, as the aircraft headed south over the Black Sea, and the last radar contact was 28s later.

Recovery teams are focusing on a triangular area, about 150m (500ft) along each side, in their bid to find and retrieve the cockpit-voice and flight-data recorders.

Investigators employed a French-developed system, known as GPS intelligent buoys, which uses surface buoys linked with the global positioning system navigation satellite constellation to narrow the search range.

Source: Flight International