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24 Sep, 2008 07:01

Pilot error blamed for Perm plane crash

Investigators have made a breakthrough in trying to find out why a passenger jet crashed near the Russian city of Perm earlier this month. They've managed to decipher information from the Boeing 737's badly-damaged fligh

The data will now be analysed along with evidence from the crash site.

Aeroflot Nord flight 821 came down on September 14, killing all 88 people on board, including 20 foreign nationals.

Some Russian newspapers have blamed the pilots for the crash, suggesting they misjudged the situation because they didn't have enough experience of flying a 737. One of them spent most of his flight time on a Tu-134, while the other was an AN-24 master.

According to Kommersant daily, the initial claims that there was a fire on board and an auto throttle system failure are now rejected by the experts. It has been unveiled that both engines were working till the moment the flying vessel hit the ground, while the auto throttle system – sort of an air version of cruise-control – isn’t absolutely necessary for handling the aircraft.

Earlier it was reported that the air traffic controller, who was the last person in contact with the plane, claimed the pilots were not reacting properly to instructions.

They could’ve misjudged the unfamiliar three-axis indicator, which works differently on Boeings and most of Russian planes. Western indicators show the actual view from the cabin, while Russian ones have a fixed horizon and a moving picture of a plane. While the landing didn’t go smooth enough this could’ve easily disoriented the pilots.

However the final expert verdict is yet to be made.