Andrei Liakhov: “RE: FT Article on Sheremetievo disaster (JRL May 22)”

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

Subject: RE: FT Article on Sheremetievo disaster (JRL May 22)
Date: Thu, 23 May 2019
From: Andrei Liakhov <>

I am a certified aircraft accident investigator.

I have read all reports about the Sheremetievo crash which were published in the Russian press and a fair number of professional and not very much so commentaries.

I have also watched three videos of the landing and the crash widely available on the internet.

I am sure the Financial Times has enough Russian speakers to review all of this material in preparation of yesterday’s article.

While some reports released in the immediate aftermath of the crash suggested aircraft systems failure as the principal cause of the crash, flight data recorder information released later and the videos suggest otherwise.

Firstly – in flight lighting strikes are nothing unusual. They often result in deactivation of automatic flight management systems. Having said that the aircraft (including the ill fated SSJ) is perfectly capable of continuing controlled flight to its destination. Furthermore SSJ operational manual allows the captain to continue to the original destination.

Secondly – it is evident from every available video that the aircraft was performing a controlled descent and landing.

Thirdly – the flight data shows that landing was effected with serious breaches of operational procedures. The landing speed was exceeded by 35 miles; the flaps were not extended; the wing load was 5G with 3.75G allowed by operational manual and the captain was actively engaging steering column trying to neutralise bouncing off the runway.

The aircraft only got on fire after 3D bounce and its firefighting systems operated perfectly.

Having exceeded maximum allowed landing weight by almost 3 metric tons, it is no wonder that the firefighting systems could not cope with the volume of fuel which was ignited when the main landing gear smashed through into fuel tanks.

This was caused by “skillful” crew breaking every rule in the AOM.

All of these facts are easily ascertainable and verifiable.

And certainly known to the FT.

What baffles me is the conclusion the Financial Times comes to about quality of that particular aircraft. While it is not a particularly successful machine, it is certainly a well built and reliable plane.

Both fatal accidents were caused by a blatant pilot error (and with the Sheremetievo airport rescue services blunders were a substantial contributing factor).

The FT seems have written this ill informed and thoroughly misleading article with total disregard to the facts and circumstances of the disaster.

This reminded me of CNN arrogant and blatantly libellous coverage of the Boden Lake disaster. I have lost any vestiges of respect of CNN I had up to this point when a CNN presenter with a disgusting smile described a mid air collision caused by a Swiss air controller mistake as “another problem with the Russian aviation”.

The FT came very close to turning into a propaganda outlet and Boeing advertising agency capable of peddling any lies and fake news when it comes to anything remotely connected to Russia.

[featured image is file photo from another occasion]