Pilots blamed for frozen speedometer that may have caused Russian passenger jet crash

The Flight Data Recorder (FDR) data decoding of the crashed of Saratov Airlines An-148 jet is now concluded. The Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) said the preliminary findings in an ongoing investigation for possible cause of the fatal accident point to the icing of plane’s avionics.

The FDR data decoded by the investigation team has revealed that “the heating of all the three Pitot probes were in the OFF position” not activated by pilots during the fatal flight revealed IAC statement. The investigating team found that the emergency situation started to develop about 2 min 30 seconds after the liftoff, when the plane was at the height of approximately 1300 m and with the IAS of 465-470 km/h.

The IAC explained that after the “single signal “MATCH IAS” was generated (annunciation for the flight crew)” for the third time, the flight crew disengaged the autopilot and the rest of the flight was conducted in the manual mode. IAC stated that based on the analysis of the recorded data and the studies of the similar accidents in past, it could be concluded that the inflight emergency situation might have been caused by the incorrect speed readings shown on the cockpit instrument panel, which in their turn could be related to the Pitot probes’ iced condition with the heating system set to OFF.

On February 11, 2018, the Saratov Airlines regional An-148 jet collided with the ground at about 11:27:05 – approximately six minutes after the aircraft started its takeoff that killed 65 passengers (including three children) and six cabin crew on board.

The Interstate Aviation Committee is a supervising body overseeing the use and management of civil aviation in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and is currently investigating the An-148 crash.

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