12 september 2011

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on flight safety in civil aviation

Vladimir Putin

At a meeting on flight safety in civil aviation

“Of course, no one is insured against air accidents, which happen in all countries with an aviation industry, even those that have the latest aircraft. However, over the past few months there has been a series of plane crashes and incidents in Russia. This is yet another cause to seriously consider what is going on in that industry.”

Vladimir Putin’s opening remarks:

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today we will speak about the situation in the aviation industry. The recent tragedy – the Yak-42 crash in Yaroslavl – was a horrible blow to the entire country, and it has once again turned our attention to this issue. Once again, I would like to say: this is truly a tragedy for the entire country, but above all for the relatives and loved ones of the deceased athletes. And I would like to once again express my condolences, my heartfelt condolences to the relatives of the victims.

Of course, no one is insured against air accidents, which happen in all countries with an aviation industry, even those that have the latest aircraft. However, over the past few months there has been a series of plane crashes and incidents in Russia. This is yet another cause to seriously consider what is going on in that industry. The issue is not only the aircraft fleet. We should also consider airport infrastructure, the provision of the latest equipment for monitoring the technical safety of aircraft’s parts and recording their technical parameters. We must also highlight the training of flight crews, the provision of simulation equipment to airlines and their ability to train the crews to work in modern conditions. In fact, the size of companies does not matter; all companies, big and small, must be able to do this and to strictly comply with these requirements. Those that do so will be able to continue operating; those that don’t will be shut down. No commercial or market considerations are more important than the safety of our citizens. I would like to ask you to submit to me in the immediate future – literally, in the next 10 to 12 days – explicit proposals on resolving the issues that I mentioned.

Let me emphasise once again that security, ensuring security must be a priority. I have mentioned the problems that we must ponder over, but this list is not exhaustive. You know that there are many more questions that we must answer. Now, I would like to ask our colleague Ms Anodina (Chairperson of the Interstate Aviation Committee – IAC) to say a few words about the air crash investigation.

Tatyana Anodina: Thank you, Mr Putin. I was going to make a brief report on the investigation into the air crash, although we have been regularly informing the public about our work since the accident. I’d like to say the IAC together with the Emergencies Ministry, the Investigation Committee and the Federal Air Transport Agency have practically completed the on-site stage of the investigation. We have lifted all of the aircraft’s fragments and equipment – they are kept in a safe place at the airport, made a sketch of the accident area, collected all of the air company’s flight and technical documents, materials on the aircraft and airport services, and conducted all of the other necessary work.

The local authorities are very helpful. Industrial companies and specialised centres have started examining all of the aircraft’s remaining fragments and equipment. The IAC research and technical centre has restored and transcribed the onboard recordings, and started analysing and synchronising them with those of the ground services. Aviation, research and technical experts from the Yakovlev Design Bureau and airline transport pilots have been involved in this effort. Investigators have begun to identify the pilots’ voices.

According to the preliminary results of the transcription and analysis of the available data, we have established that the aircraft’s takeoff mass was within the acceptable range. When the crew checked all of the control channels before takeoff, everything worked normally and the elevator deflection was also normal. The weather conditions at the airport, including the side wind, did not impede the flight. The engines worked until the plane collided with obstacles. The horizontal stabiliser and the flaps were in a proper position for takeoff. No single commands testifying to the equipment’s failure have been discovered on the flight data recorder so far. At the same time, as I have already said, all of the elements of these systems are now being sent for study at specialised centres.

In addition to the continuing mathematical simulation aimed at analysing the crew’s actions and the aircraft’s performance during takeoff run, we are considering a full-scale field experiment by a flight research institute. In accordance with international rules, we have contacted the investigating bodies of all of the countries that lost citizens in this crash. We maintained all of the necessary technical contacts with them before as well, and they have expressed their readiness to take part in the investigation if need be. I would also like to emphasise that, realising the importance of this investigation, and all other investigations as well, of course, we are doing everything that we can to carry out this work with great effort and responsibly, with all of the specialists and institutes.

I would like to add that the investigations into the Tu-154 and Tu-134 crashes are almost over and we will soon publish all of the relevant materials. Thank you for your attention.

Vladimir Putin: All aircraft that do not have modern observation, control and warning systems must be re-equipped with them, and those that cannot have them must be withdrawn from the market. I’m asking you to report to me on the forms and methods of fulfilling this instruction as soon as possible, then check everything and perform all tasks. I am referring to both domestic and foreign aircraft, whichever they are: we have enough old foreign aircraft that are still operating. You must look at all of them. Wherever possible, all aircraft must be equipped with all modern systems, and those that cannot be re-equipped must be withdrawn from the market. This is the first point.

Now the second point. I would like you to discuss and submit proposals on developing modern aircraft leasing through the existing leasing packages and institutions, including Vnesheconombank. Other banks are also welcome.

And I have a request to Ms Anodina. You said all the technical parameters from the recorders show that all of the equipment worked normally. Nonetheless, please scrutinise everything requiring more detailed laboratory studies. This is the first point.

Second, it is necessary to understand why the pilots did not activate the emergency braking system after going beyond the takeoff zone.