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January 10 2000 years. Zurich International Airport. Passengers aboard the flight "Srossair» 498 waiting for takeoff. Flight to Dresden is popular with travelers. This is one of the most popular fast-growing Swiss airline.
In the cockpit the two pilots, who came to work in Switzerland from the countries of eastern Europe. Captain - Paul Gruzhin lead plane. Rostislav Koriser will co-pilot. The plane on which they are flying, it Saab 340.
Expert: Saab 340 This short-haul aircraft of the Swedish production. It is equipped with a digital autopilot, which provides highly accurate flight. This airplane is simple and obedient in management.
The aircraft is easily dispersed on the strip and take off. The flight was to last about one hour. At the last minute the dispatcher slightly changes the trajectory of their flight. The new route, they must turn to the south of the airport, and by way of the navigation beacon, fly on to Dresden. The plane starts to turn, but something goes wrong. The aircraft should turn to the left, but instead turn to the right. The captain tries to restore control of the aircraft. He did not work and they fall.
Witness: I was driving home and saw something on the left side. I was sure that this aircraft. He quickly declined. Incredibly fast. When he fell, it was a terrible explosion, and then a series of small. I could not get closer because it was too hot.
498 board fell to the ground just 7 km. from the airport. 10 All passengers and crew were killed. The next morning, arrived at the crash site investigators. They saw that from the little that remains of the aircraft.
Expert: When I arrived, I saw a smoking hole. I could not find a single major unit of the aircraft.
Yet, investigators had to find clues that could explain what happened. Most of the plane was buried in the crater, and the rest are scattered around in the form of small fragments. It was obvious that the plane hit the ground at a steep angle and at high speed. Position the wreckage also indicates the direction of flight. Flight 498 turned the wrong way during the fall.
Investigators questioned managers about the unusual flight path. They said that on the night they gave flight 498 slightly shorter route.
Expert: The new route is shorter way to Dresden. Managers provide a shorter route whenever possible. This makes a difference in 3-4 minutes. Pilots, and the rest is value.
Negotiations and radar data was not given anything unusual. Just take off, then the team manager before the turn to the left. But for some reason, the crew did not fulfill dispatcher instructed. Instead of this the plane fell on the right wing and went into a tailspin. If the stall was caused by the malfunction of the plane, investigators had to fix it as soon as possible. After all, if there was a defect in the airplane, it could mean that thousands of passengers flying in the Saab 340, at risk every day.
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At the site of the crash, experts looking for signs of mechanical failure. Eyewitnesses said that they saw flames in the sky for a few moments before the crash.
Expert: We had the impression that there was a fire on board, because some of the witnesses said that they saw the plane falling burning.
Answers that investigators were looking for could be in two recorders of the plane. They record what they say and what they do pilots in the cockpit. Their search continued.
At this time, investigators has been suggested that the pilots strayed off course because they do not understand the dispatcher. English was not their native.
Expert: One of the most important factors in the flight crew in the cockpit of this negotiation. Possession of a common language are extremely important.
Investigators studied the personal files of the pilots. They are immaculate. Both pilots were highly qualified and bilingual in English to a sufficient extent for operations. At that time, investigators are no closer to understanding why the pilots turned the wrong way and lost control of the aircraft.
Finally, the search at the crash site were unsuccessful. Investigators found two "black boxes". They were immediately sent to the laboratory for testing. The rest of the wreckage brought to the hangar in Zurich. There, investigators studied the damaged engine components.
Judge: If a plane falls from the sky on a spiral path, perhaps the reason for the refusal of the engine.
But in both engines have characteristic lesions that say one thing: the engine runs at high revs. They were serviceable. Likewise, the assumption of malfunction of the flaps have failed. The wreckage of the aircraft allows experts to investigate another hypothesis. Eyewitnesses said the fire on board before hitting the ground. The fire left a clearly distinguishable marks on the skin of the aircraft. If the plane was burning before it hit the ground, traces of soot should match the edges of debris, like drawing on pieces of a puzzle. That does not happen when the plane had crashed into pieces.
Judge: If a fire starts after the fall, the debris had scattered traces of them will not be the same.
It is very hard work. Investigators have determined what part of the plane is one or the other chip to later compare them. It took a long time, but the results left no doubt. Investigators determined that the fire was right after the fall. Witnesses were wrong. Fire on board was not.
Debris from the crash site gave another clue. Bag pilot fell away from the crash site and, therefore, not burned. It was quickly determined that the bag belonged to Captain Gruzhinu, and its contents were surprised. In the bag were personal belongings, as well as medicine without a label and packaging. If the pilot was under the influence of drugs, this could explain the cause of the disaster.
Expert: It's always a cause for concern, because everyone knows that before a flight can not be used medicines.
The analysis showed that the drug is "Phenazepam"- A powerful sedative used to treat anxiety disorders. This is a very strong medicine and it may affect the ability to maintain the aircraft. To determine whether the pilot took the medication immediately before departure, it was necessary to undertake a study of its tissue.
Meanwhile, investigators have become available data from the flight data recorder. For him it was clear that the problems with the aircraft was not.
Expert: the engine is running, they are well gained altitude, but suddenly the pilot changed the left turn to the right and then lost control. Plane as if no one ran.
Investigators went to Moldova to meet with the widow of the captain. They wanted to know why he carried with him a sedative. She explained that her husband was under the influence of stress. The captain was working away from home, sending money to his family. He was suffering from separation from their families. He missed, and he had a hard time.
Analysis of tissue pilot turned mixed. Traces of the drug in its body were found. But was it enough to affect the operation of the aircraft is unknown. However, the investigators did not give up and find another way to determine the status of the captain during his last flight. They invite other Gruzhina captain and ask him to listen to the recording of conversations in the cockpit recorder. But he did not hear anything unusual. Voice Gruzhina sounded completely natural.
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Again, listening to the Recording voice recorder, investigators noticed something strange. It was the interference from the mobile phone. Action of mobile phones on aircraft is not fully known. Could this affect the disturbance devices? If it affected the work of the artificial horizon, this may explain why the pilots did not know what turned the wrong way. Investigators conducted a series of experiments on an identical plane. Studies have confirmed that the signals phones can cause interference. However, they did not confirm that the interference may affect the operation of devices in the cockpit. Also, phone records showed that all calls from the aircraft have been completed before takeoff. It was possible to conclude that in addition to the noise on the recording recorder, mobile phones have not affected the flight.
Investigators returned to the voice recorder records. They hear at the beginning of the fatal maneuver the captain says, "Oh, no, no!". It could not be a coincidence
Expert: artificial horizon system is designed so that when bank angles become too large, it takes away unnecessary information to the pilot to make it easier to respond.
Time remarks Captain convinced investigators that the equipment worked, but he did not understand what they inform. He was confused.
The search for an answer led investigators to Russia, where the captain Gruzhin learned to fly. They met with Russian experts in aviation. They studied the working career pilots. Both had high qualifications and reasons to suspect they were not. However, Russian researchers have proposed a version that all changed. They reported a number of accidents caused confusion in the interpretation of the Russian pilots testimony of one of the devices. The pilots learned to fly in the USSR on the attitude indicator, which is very different from that used in Western aircraft. On the western liners arrow in the form of a silhouette in the middle of the plane, remains in place and moving background. In the Soviet artificial horizon all the way around. The arrow shows the airplane changes its position relative to a fixed horizon. It is understood that the pilot could easily get confused. Left turn on the Soviet display looks almost the same as the right to the west.
Expert: In the west and in the east there are two different approaches to the artificial horizon. The difference between these systems could really confusing. This discovery was a turning point for us. We found a possible cause of the crash.
In times of stress, and perhaps under the influence of drugs, Captain Gruzhin could appeal to the skills obtained in the flying school. Because of the confusion, he was confident that the airplane is operated with a strong roll twist and turn to the right to fix it. Manager also just made the situation worse.
Expert: Manager said: «498 confirm a left turn." It could not possibly help the crew.
Instructions could sound as confirmation of the turn to the left, although it was not so. Attempts to align the aircraft captain, he thought much heeling to the left, in fact, led to the stall to the right.
Investigators found another important difference between the Russian and Western approaches to aviation. Russian pilots have been a different attitude to the autopilot.
Expert: East approach inherited from the Soviet Union - as much as possible to control the aircraft manually. Just to confirm the pilot's ability to maintain the aircraft. In western philosophy is very different.
Captain «Crossair» 498 flew the plane manually. If he turned on the autopilot, the disaster would not have happened.
There remained the last unresolved issue. In the cockpit were two pilots. Why the co-pilot noticed that the captain caught in devices? The explanation turned out to be banal. Saab 340 a small plane. In the cockpit a little place, and arrange all the equipment efficiently was very difficult. Operations that are performed at the beginning of the co-pilot of an emergency, did not allow him to look at the attitude indicator. At first, he simply did not notice that the plane was moving properly. An additional problem was that the pilots did not sufficiently bilingual in English.
Expert: Their English was basically "air." They were difficult to communicate fluently, and the more quickly report problems. The co-pilot was not able to tell his captain that he turns the wrong way.
After the crash of Flight 498 airline revised training pilots from the former socialist countries. Now, they are provided with additional 3 months of training. They must also pass an examination of professional knowledge in English. In addition, according to the new regulations, all the pilots of Swiss airlines are obliged to include the autopilot immediately after takeoff and closely monitor the readings.
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