Due to Western sanctions, Russian Aeroflot aircraft are being forced to operate without their brakes activated, and told to land using only reverse thrust.
After carrying out an alternate braking system check on one aircraft, it was reported that the test failed. However, this was not the first flight of the day, meaning the aircraft had flown several legs without an adequate operational alternate braking system.
The company’s minimum serviceable equipment list (MEL) highlights that aircraft should not fly for over 10 days with such a failure, but it was reported by 37,000 feet that ‘several brake related MEL items [were] unsafe because they [allowed] aircraft to be dispatched without an operational alternate braking system’, reinforcing the unsafety of the fleet of Boeing B777 aircraft, multiple Airbus A321, and single Airbus A330 and A320 aircraft.
Pilots have been warned of the danger of flying with aircraft in such a condition, with the latest aviation safety bulletin reading, “The aircraft will tend to turn to the side where the brakes are not deactivated. Pay attention to this fact, especially when landing on a wet runway with a crosswind!!! There are restrictions on the width of the runway. The risk of overrunning the runway!!!”
Due to such sanctions, this could lead to Aeroloft having to sacrifice healthy aircraft in order to maintain a working fleet.
Founded in 1923, Aeroflot is one of the oldest active airlines in the world. Comprised of both Russian-made and internationally-made aircraft, their fleet is made up of 346 planes as of the end of 2022. However, due to sanctions imposed on Russia because of their invasion of Ukraine, this could reduce significantly due to the potential necessity of recycling functioning aircraft parts in order to keep others in the air. This comes after their plan to grow their fleet and have 70% of their Russian fleet made by 2030.
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