View Full Version : 14 survive mid-air break-up

3rd Mar 2003, 01:53
The Times - 3 March:
14 survive as parachutists' plane snaps in half.
From Robin Shepherd in Moscow

THERE was no turning back for a group of amateur parachutists when their aircraft broke up in mid-air as they were still preparing to jump.

Twenty-three people were aboard the plane over the Tver region, northeast of Moscow, when catastrophe struck. Remarkably, 14 were able to float to safety after the tail and left wing snapped off from the main body of the aircraft. As they drifted down, they could only watch as the stricken plane carrying their friends and two crew spun out of control and crashed.

According to witnesses on the ground, the Czech-made Let 410 broke up spectacularly at 13,000ft. The passengers from an aviation club near the village of Barki were still about 90 seconds from their planned jump zone.

Officials believe that the survivors were swept out of the main body of the aircraft after it began to fall. Aleksandr Parfyonov, deputy head of the Tver region’s emergency department, told Rossiya television: “By a miracle they were pulled out by a stream of air and they landed.” Three of the survivors were reported to be seriously injured.

Parachuting is enjoying huge popularity among Russia’s new class of bankers and entrepreneurs. In many cases, the greatest risk can be the old and poorly serviced aircraft that they go up in.

The twin propeller, overwing craft in the weekend crash was made in the former Czechoslovakia. The Soviet Union was the biggest buyer of L410s, which are often used for short passenger trips and mail delivery. The aircraft are still popular among amateur pilots and are frequently used for parachute jumps. “Anyone who flew these could tell you it was much more reliable than anything else in its class,” said Dmitri Sukharyov, a pilot at an aviation club in the Moscow region.

3rd Mar 2003, 03:13
It's vital that we all know why this LET 410 broke up !

Anyone have any clues ?

I suppose crash investigators will eventually find out & hopefully
publish findings

3rd Mar 2003, 04:45
"I suppose crash investigators will eventually find out & hopefully
publish findings"

Do not count on it any time soon, flyboy.

Here is the link to this nightmare:


3rd Mar 2003, 08:04
FDR was recovered on March 2


3rd Mar 2003, 12:34
Since the Let 410 was operated by the FLARF organization who will do the investigation? Had it been on the Russian civil register then, I guess, it would have been the CIS Commision for Flight Safety but, with FLARF, who knows. I understand, as of this morning, it was still unclear who would read the FDR.

Just what is the status of FLARF in Russia these days? Who regulates them? What controls do they operate under? In 2002 another FLARF aircraft (an AN2) was lost on a parachute flight. Who investigated that accident?

3rd Mar 2003, 14:34
How incredibly fortunate (if you could possibly EVER say that about a fatal crash) that it was full of parachutists ready to jump. What a damn shame they couldn't all get out.

Presumably the flight crew wouldn't have had chutes on though?

4th Mar 2003, 13:39
Very Frightening as they use one of these at Headcorn Airfield (Kent) for sky diving.

4th Mar 2003, 13:56
"A small plane carrying skydivers crashed Saturday in the Tver region, killing 11 people. But 14 other people survived. NTV television said investigators were considering the possibility that the plane had been overloaded. The station said the L-410 was meant to carry only up to 19."

...sounds like it was being driven by a Johannesburg taxi driver! Let410 carries either 17 or 19 pax ...but possibly with the seats removed (as they would be for paradropping) it would still be within limits with 21 aboard. And with no cargo, another 4. And with minimum fuel, possibly more.

Quite worrying, the tail falling off like that. Was it the vertical stab or the whole tailcone with the elevators & VS ?

Jump Complete
4th Mar 2003, 14:03
In this country jump pilots tend to only where emergency 'chutes if the aircraft they are flying is considered to have a higher risk of a tail strike (by a jumper.)
In the case of a L410, imagine trying to get out from the flight deck back to the door (left rear) or in this case, out of the hole in the tail. With aircraft presumably in a vertical dive and if the wing also came off, rotating rapidly, I can't see how it woud have been possible. Anyway, assuming the aircraft achieved over 300 kts straight down from FL130, they would have had about 20 secs to impact, so they wouldn't have had time.
I fly for a parachute club myself and have thought what would happen if one of them took the tail out (either with themselves or with a accidently deployed reserve canapy etc). Just pointing out that I don't think wearing rigs would have saved the pilots. Besides, I understand that there were more skydivers inside who didn't get out.
I wonder what effect this accident is going to have on the operation of L410's worldwide?

RIP those who lost their lives doing what they loved.....

Onan the Clumsy
4th Mar 2003, 16:24
I wear a rig when I fly jumpers in a 182. Partly because it's common sense and partly because I've seen a reserve deploy under the strut (jumper sat in the Vee) when I was jumping. Fortunately another jumper caught it and we all got down ok. I heard a story of a similar thing that ended in a full deployment which slowed the a/c down so much, so fast that a jumper exited forward into the prop, but I don't know if it's a true story or not.

Still, like someone here said, if the door's at the back, a rig's not going to do you too much good.

FWIW - here's a picture of an L410 (http://www.airliners.net/open.file?id=314147&WxsIERv=TGV0IEwtNDEwVVZQLUUxMCBUdXJib2xldA%3D%3D&WdsYXMg=V2hpdGUgRWFnbGUgQXZpYXRpb24gLSBXRUE%3D&QtODMg=U3pjemVjaW4gLSBHb2xlbmlvdyAoU1paIC8gRVBTQyk%3D&ERDLTkt=UG9sYW5k&ktODMp=SmFudWFyeSAyMCwgMjAwMw%3D%3D&WNEb25u=TWFyaXVzeiBCYXNpYWs%3D&xsIERvdWdsY=U1AtRlRY&MgTUQtODMgKE=&YXMgTUQtODMgKERD=OTU%3D&NEb25uZWxs=MjAwMy0wMS0yNg%3D%3D&static=yes&size=M)

4th Mar 2003, 17:58
One of the prototypes also lost its tail during testing. Here's a list (http://aviation-safety.net/database/list.php?field=typecode&var=320%&sorteer=datekey&kind=A&cat=acc&page=1) of L-410 accidents from ASN. 57 losses seems on the high side, but I don't think there's much doubt that they are subject to more abuse than other comparable types.

4th Mar 2003, 19:54
A few points to consider:
During a jump-run the 'jump-master' (skydiver in charge of the lift) will open the AC door 1-2 minutes before the expected exit point (according to the GPS).
On a L410 the (fairly heavy) rear door swings inward and slides back into the tail section. There are not usually any kind of shock absorbers at the end of the door tracks so care must be taken.
Of the few drop zones still using this AC most consider it to be 'full' with one pilot and 16-19 jumpers (including parachute equipment, each parachute weighing 20-30 lbs).

I don't wish to speculate about exact cause of the incident but these factors may well have contributed to it.

5th Mar 2003, 19:37
So sorry to hear of this terrible accident.

Would be interested to read any reports from the investigation. The jumpers at Sibson, Cambs use the L410 too.....


18th Mar 2003, 10:22
Have seen a picture of a L410 just after it stalled having had too many people behind the CG. That time the pilots recovered it, but the picture of the aircraft falling past the skydivers (one of them being the cameraman - hence the photo) is sobering...

Maybe the aircraft stalled with too many 'floaters' (skydiver talk), and it broke up on recovery??

I speculate.

18th Mar 2003, 11:21
According to witnesses on the ground, the Czech-made Let 410 broke up spectacularly at 13,000ft.

I'd have thought that would require bloody good eyesight from the ground.

18th Mar 2003, 11:33
......or binoculars!

Quite likely some spectators at the airfield had a pair or two wouldn't you say?


18th Mar 2003, 16:10
Most dropzones do have high powered binoculars, and if you have 23 skydivers on jump run within two minutes of jumping, then you typically have a lot of peope watching. It's been discussed at length here:


Click on "incidents", then scroll down and click on "The aircrush in Russia... There were 25 parashutists on the board "

Another link: