Flydubai crash: Initial report confirms pilots were landing in manual mode

The report by Russian investigators also affirmed “difficult weather conditions”



BY AARTI NAGRAJ | AVIATION | PUBLISHED: 10TH APRIL 2016 AT 08:22

A preliminary investigation report has confirmed that flydubai flight FZ981 was on manual mode when it attempted to land at the Rostov on Don airport before it fatally crashed last month.

The report by Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee also affirmed “difficult weather conditions” when the accident took place.

All the 62 people onboard the Boeing 737 jet died in the crash.

“It has been established from the preliminary analysis of flight recorder data that the crew was conducting the approach in the manual mode (the auto-pilot was turned off) under difficult weather conditions (cloud base 630 meters, wind 230 degrees, 13 meters per second, gusts of wind 18 meters per second, light shower, haze, straight-in extreme turbulence and moderate wind shear),” the IAC report said.

“In the course of the initial approach at 22:42 UTC at a height of 340 meters, and having received information about windshear (a sudden change of the wind force and direction) from the onboard system, the crew decided to make a second approach and flew around the airport to wait for better weather,” it added.

While attempting the landing for a second time, the controls of the plane were changed, resulting in a nose-down deflection and an abrupt and steep descent.

The crew were unable to prevent the nose-down impact with the ground, the report added.

Investigations are underway to reproduce the circumstances of the accident with test-pilots from the Russian Federation, the United Arab Emirates and the United States assessing the actions of the crew.

The pilots were holding “valid pilot licenses and other pertinent papers, had undergone required training and had sufficient flight experience,” the IAC added.

Flydubai chief executive officer Ghaith Al Ghaith said: “We share the desire to get conclusive findings as quickly as possible… We continue to support the investigating authorities in liaison with the General Civil Aviation Authority.”

Read: After the flydubai tragedy, should we be worried about safety in the air?