Aeroflot’s Sukhoi Superjet 100, which crashed at Sheremetyevo airport, Moscow, proved to be too heavily loaded. The investigation confirmed that.

On May 5, 2019, a Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) of the Russian airline Aeroflot departed from Sheremetyevo Airport, one of the six airports around the Russian capital, Moscow, suspecting nothing. The flight with flight number SU1492 departed around 16:55 local time heading for Murmansk, a city in the northwest of Russia.

Soon after take-off, the pilots warned the air traffic controllers that there were some faults in the aircraft. There was no fire before, but there was a failure of the systems. The pilots decided to return to the airport immediately. In itself this went smoothly, but just before they wanted to land the plane, it went horribly wrong.

Various videos show that the Russian aircraft makes various bumpy movements and eventually touches the ground with its tail and engine. This caused a violent fire in one of the engines. The aircraft slid in the grass along the runway where it burned out further. While the evacuation was started, several people took their hand luggage outside. This had very serious consequences for the evacuation of the passengers who were sitting in the back of the aircraft. In the end, as many as 41 people died. A total of 78 people, including 5 crew members, were on the crashed airplane.

The investigation has confirmed that the SSJ100 was hit by a lighting strike, which caused the autopilot to disengage. Shortly after the lightning strike, the communication system also broke down, forcing the pilots to set up an emergency frequency in order to maintain contact with the air traffic controllers. At that time, everything still seemed to indicate that the pilots were able to land the aircraft without any problem.

The investigators made a reconstruction of the landing and then they saw that the aircraft was approaching the runway with a very high speed and that it was also heavily loaded. It is remarkable is that the pilots did not fly the aircraft in an ‘abnormal’ way. It would therefore not be their fault, but the official report will soon reveal the cause of the strange landing behavior.

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 is quite a popular plane in Russia, but unfortunately not in Europe because of the difficulties the difficulties of accessing spare parts. So far, the Russian type has only had two accidents.

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