Named guilty of icing an S7 aircraft in December 2021

The crew of the S7 airline and the staff of Magadan airport did not fulfill the concept of “clean plane” and did not clear the fuselage of snow before the flight. Rosaviatsia came to such conclusions based on the results of an investigation into a serious plane crash with an S7 Airbus A321 flying from Magadan to Novosibirsk on December 2, 2021. Vedomosti read a copy of Rosaviatsia’s report signed by Alexander Neradko. A source in Rosaviatsia confirmed the authenticity of the document.

Shortly after the start of the flight due to rising ice in front of the instruments on the fuselage, the speed in the cockpit diverged, the control system switched to direct mode and the crew was forced to manually fly the board. As a result, the plane was forced to land at Irkutsk airport. There were 199 passengers and seven crew members on board, none of whom were injured. The S7 has temporarily disqualified the crew from flights and has promised to tighten control over flight maintenance at Magadan airport.

Before the departure of the aircraft in heavy snow, the crew decided to clean from precipitation and treat de-icing fluid only the surface of the wing and stabilizer, which was done, according to a report by Rosaviatsia. “Requirement to remove snow from the upper surface of the fuselage and the bow of the aircraft neither the aircraft crew nor ground personnel [аэропорта] did not stand out. This decision was explained by the expectation that the snow is “fluffy” (not wet, the outside temperature minus 10 degrees) and he will fly in the process of takeoff, “- said in a statement. Neither side insisted on the need to treat the plane’s fuselage from snow, the report said.

Airport officials interviewed by Rosaviatsia added that fuselage handling is ordered by carriers “rarely”, usually for aircraft with engines located in the rear, or “local carriers after long parking of aircraft”. The A321 S7 was parked under heavy snow for 2.5 hours.

According to the report, the decision not to remove snow from the fuselage does not comply with the concept of a clean aircraft: aviation is not allowed to lift the board into the air if there are any contaminants on its critical surfaces, including snow and ice. The crew and airport staff did not take into account that the snow from the top of the fuselage will melt during acceleration, water will flow down, and form a barrier ice in front of important devices with full pressure receivers. As a result, the devices inaccurately recorded the speed, which disabled the ship’s system.

Rosaviatsia also noted that during piloting in the mode of limited operation of the control system, the commander of the aircraft “made inappropriate deviations from the controls, which led to the dismissal.” And the operator of the AHA special vehicle did not control the consumption of anti-icing fluid for the treatment of wings – instead of the prescribed 230 liters, only 99 liters were used.

The regulator advised the management of Magadan Airport and the management of S7 to monitor the implementation of the concept of a clean aircraft. Airport staff must be able to make their own decisions about the need for anti-icing treatment and “insist on it, even if the ship’s crew refuses it.” In turn, S7 crews will need to monitor the absence of snow or slots on the front of the aircraft before takeoff.

Rosaviatsia also reminded that Russia still does not have approved federal aviation rules on ground handling of aircraft. Requirements for the development of these rules were included in the Air Code back in 2015. The Ministry of Transport is instructed to accelerate their development. In the meantime, “this contributes to the low quality of the organization of ground handling,” the document said.

S7 spokeswoman Tamara Nikiforova told Vedomosti that after the incident, the carrier conducted an unscheduled ground service audit at Magadan airport and found many problems. She confirmed that “the airport used 99 liters of liquid instead of the required 230 liters” to process the board, and added that its viscosity was below normal. This can lead to the fact that the liquid is “worse retained on the surface of the aircraft,” says Nikiforov.

The S7 also invites its pilots to undergo additional practical training and include in the program training videos on driving an aircraft in a difficult spatial position, said a representative of the airline. However, she insists that the S7 has adopted “strict requirements” for ground handling of aircraft to ensure the concept of a clean aircraft. “During the winter season, the airline undergoes more than 8,000 anti-icing treatments in full compliance with this procedure. More than 500 of them a month in the Siberian and Far Eastern regions, ”Nikiforova said.

Vedomosti sent a request to Rosaviatsia, the Ministry of Transport and the press service of Magadan Airport.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.