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http://www.freelancedirectory.org/?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation, keynote presentations and workshops for corporate organisations on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, cybercrime and DoS issues, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. He operated at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. (PR WEEK TOP 150) Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and featured in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book. Investigative Journalist and Broadcaster. After-dinner speaker and presenter. NUJ LIFE MEMBER & FULL EQUITY MEMBER.

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Sunday, 11 February 2018

UPDATE: WAS PITOT TUBE CAUSE OF SARATOV AIRLINES (Antonov An-148) FLIGHT 6W703 CRASH SHORTLY AFTER TAKEOFF FROM RUSSIA MOSCOW AIRPORT ?

The AN-148 passenger plane was en route from Moscow to the Russian provincial city of Orsk
and was operated by Russia’s Saratov Airlines.


Example of a Pitot Tube - this one from an Airbus. Most Airbus Pitot tubes have now been replaced with an alternative Thales ice detection system

 
Update Wednesday February 14 2018 : Reuters are reporting that a plane crash near Moscow on Sunday which killed all 71 people on board could have been 'caused in part' by instruments showing incorrect speed, the TASS news agency quoted investigators as saying on Tuesday.  The instruments could have malfunctioned because sensors had iced over, said the Russia Interstate Aviation Committee, which is investigating the crash.

The AN-148 passenger plane was en route from Moscow to the Russian provincial city of Orsk and was operated by Russia’s Saratov Airlines.

Julian Bray Aviation Expert writes: The instrument concerned could refer to a pitot tube which is a small calibration sensory device protruding from the fuselage.
 
There have been over the last few years, several major incidents which have put the pitot tube at the centre of the investigation.

These sensitive devices need careful regular maintenance and in severe weather or operational conditions a full detailed technical check before each rotation. Clearly in some regions the technical facility might not be available so it then falls back on the commander (captain) to make an inspection and consider if he /she wants to taker command of the aircraft or declare it technical (out of service) until the pitot tubes ( or other sensory instruments) can be declared safe and functioning normally. The Pitot Tube can ice up, rendering the data from the device virtually useless.   
 
It has to be said that it in many parts of the world (not just the Russian Federation) the pitot tube function can be overlooked in the rush to turn round an aircraft. Hopefully the results of this investigation, will translate into revised worldwide directives to tighten up the rules surrounding this.    

Reports from Russia confirm that an Antonov An-148 passenger jet, carrying 71 passengers/crew, has crashed outside Moscow.  

The authorities initially maintained they were searching for survivors, but during the night the task was changed to that of a recovery operation with the near certainty that all 71 people on board were killed.

Working in difficult climatic conditions, and exceptionally high winds, local sources backed up by video footage show the aircraft was in flames and broke up in the air and not on impact.
 
 A Russian passenger plane carrying 71 people  crashed in the outskirts of Moscow on Sunday after taking off from the  capital's Domodedovo airport.
 
The Antonov An-148 flight number 6W703 operated by the domestic Saratov Airlines was flying to Orsk, in the Urals, Ramensky region  some 65 miles from Moscow.  Russian sources reported 65 passengers and 6 crew were on board and the majority of passengers were residents of Orsk.

Orsk is in the Orenburg region located at the southern tip of the Urals  

The aircraft, in addition to passengers and crew was a scheduled mail flight and also carried some air freight. Local authorities have conducted several police raids, and recovered documents relating to the aircrafts engineering service and operational records.  
  
News agencies said witnesses in Argunovo 'saw a burning plane falling from the sky.'  One source claimed that an engine had exploded, and that a thick black smoke trail followed the 'flaming fireball' but this has to be viewed as speculation,
 
A source from Russia's emergency services told Interfax that the 71 people  on board "had no chance" of survival.

As is customary within Russia, a full criminal inquiry / investigation has already been started although it would initially concentrate on weather conditions, human error and technical factors. No mention of terrorism, but clearly nothing will be ruled out by the teams of investigators.  

One of the cockpit data recorders has already been recovered. Much of the debris field which extends for a radius of 20 miles is already covered with a deep carpet of snow, not helped by blizzard conditions in the crash site area.

Convoys of heavy all wheel drive specialist rescue vehicles and equipment have been mobilised, and seen on roads leading to the crash site. The site is closed to media organisations, so current information cannot be fully verified.   
 
Sources also report that wreckage of the plane was spread  over a very wide area around the crash site; suggesting the aircraft was fragmented in flight and not on impact with the ground. 

The Saratov airline faced sanctions, temporarily  banned from operating international flights, some two years ago, for safety violations, following a snap inspection by the Russian Federation Aviation Regulatory Authority - Rosaviatsia. Inspectors found 'an airline employee' who was not a flight crew or cabin crew member was present in the cockpit during a flight, contrary to regulations.

It later transpired the 'employee' was a 'close relative' of the airlines general manager. The airline disputes some of the findings and claims that policy changes will ensure 'a repeat of events' will never happen again.   
Note: All early incident reports are speculative and must at this stage be treated with caution. 
    

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