View Full Version : Spanish Aircraft down in Turkey?

26th May 2003, 13:28
CNN has just announced that a Spanish aircraft carrying peacekeeping troops from Afghanistan to Madrid has gone down in North Western Turkey. Not much else on the CNN report unfortunately. Anyone else got any info? I would presume that they were well established in the cruise part of the flight unless they made a tech stop in Turkey. Faintly hoping that CNN has got a bad case of journo and got this one wrong.

26th May 2003, 13:38
Plane crashes in Turkey

An Ukrainian plane has crashed near the Black Sea resort of Trabzon in north-west Turkey.

There were 74 people on board, most of them Spanish military personnel serving in Afghanistan, the Associated Press news agency reported.

The plane had been due to make a refuelling stop in Trabzon, but went down 50km (30 miles) south of the town early on Monday, according to local media reports.

The plane was flying from the Kyrgyz city of Bishkek to Zaragoza in Spain.

Local officials quoted by AP said that the plane crashed during its third attempt to land in thick fog.

The pilot had said that he was unable to see the runway, and the plane then disappeared from radar screens.

26th May 2003, 17:04
here's a link to the sad news:


26th May 2003, 18:08
Yet another one crashing in extremely poor visibility. When will responsible authorities put an end to this "press on-itis"? It seems to me that, should weather reporting be poor in the region (and I do not know), either the A/C should have had a suitable alternate, or enough fuel to divert back to it's place of departure.
If the A/C was unable to do so, it should not have flown that route with that payload.

We take these measures every day out on the North Sea, where local weather reporting is extremely inaccurate at times, both due to lack of properly trained observers as well as rapidly changing conditions. If it is good enough for oil workers, it should be good enough for the troops.

26th May 2003, 18:21
Raises a couple of queries, eg:

Why a Yak42 which doesn't have the range for non-stop?
Why via Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan?
Why not use Iberia or at least a Spanish or EU charter aircraft?

I predict a number of very angry mummies and daddies will be in touch with Madrid.

Condolences to all.

26th May 2003, 18:25
Former USSR airliners seem to turn out more and more into Russian roulette.

Condolences to all families involved.

"More than 70 people, most of them Spanish peacekeeping forces who had been serving in Afghanistan, were killed when the Ukrainian plane they were travelling in crashed in north-west Turkey this morning.
It is believed that 74 people died when the aircraft, which belonged to a Ukrainian company, Sredizemnomorske, came down in thick fog while attempting to make a refuelling stop.

Turkish aviation officials said that the plane had been flying from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to Zaragoza, in Spain, with a stop in the Black Sea port of Trabzon.

The Russian-made YAK-42 aircraft hit a mountain slope near the town of Macka, which is 50km (30 miles) south of Trabzon.

Officials at Spain's defence ministry said that 62 Spanish soldiers were among the victims. A statement said: "We can confirm that 62 Spanish soldiers returning from Afghanistan died in the crash."

Reports in Spain said that the army troops were from an engineers regiment that had finished a four-month spell in Afghanistan.

Turkish officials reported that 12 crew members had been aboard, and military personnel who reached the scene said that there were no survivors.

Aviation officials believe that the plane crashed as it made a third attempt to land at Trabzon airport in foggy conditions.

They said that the pilot had reported being unable to see the runway during two landing attempts, before the aircraft disappeared from radar screens at 4.45am.

Turkish soldiers retrieved more than 25 bodies from the wreckage, CNN-Turk television reported. The soldiers also found the plane's black box flight recorder.

Eyewitnesses said that most of the bodies recovered from the scene had been left "in pieces or dismembered" by the plane's explosion on impact.

Turkish soldiers discovered unexploded hand grenades among the wreckage. They evacuated the crash scene amid fears of a possible explosion, CNN-Turk said.

One witness said that the plane had been burning before it crashed. "When I looked at the skies I saw a burning airplane, then two minutes later I heard two big explosions," Ergin Koyu told the Anatolia news agency.

Local official Mehmet Akkaya told the same agency that there had been no sign of any survivors as rescuers rushed to the scene.

"We looked for injured but there were only burned or torn bodies. Most of the bodies were unrecognisable," he said."

Guardian Unlimited

26th May 2003, 18:49
It's not only the poor Ukraines or Khyrghiz or whatever Babyflot, that's come into being after the demise of the USSR... It is also the corrupt UN, NATO, etc officials who give contracts to these people and get a hefty kick-back from it!

ATC Watcher
27th May 2003, 04:52
The answer lies in the hourly wet charter price of a Ukrainian YK42 compared to that of a spanish B737.
Cheap lives..
My real condolences to the famillies of those young men and women , who were treated cheaply ...

27th May 2003, 05:36
I flew on a Ukrainian wetleased Yak-42 last year in Pakistan (Shaheen Airways). Weather was good.

As an SLF, only observed 2 differences from 'usual' flying:
1. Steep angle of ascent
2. Pilot did not appear to follow a constant bearing but continually made small adjustments. Possibly to avoid turbulence? (but I speculate)

pilot looked like an ex-mil type.

I chose to fly. The Spanish soldiers were not given the option. Poor guys.

hope this is useful (otherwise I will delete post)

27th May 2003, 05:40
Does anyone know what type of approach they were trying to make e.g. ILS,NDB,VOR etc.
Is this another non precision approach accident?
If you type CFIT into your search engine you will be reading for the next week.
Very Very Sad

Loose rivets
27th May 2003, 06:09
Err.....eye witness sees plane alight in sky; hand grenades found at crash sight. Am I missing something?

27th May 2003, 06:45
Treat the eyewitness reports with a big pinch of salt.

According to the US NTSB investigation into the AA A300 crash in New York, 30% of eyewitnesses reported the aircraft on fire in flight and another 30% were adamant that it was not!

Human nature causes people to embroider the story every time they retell it - we enjoy the attention - and I doubt that many/any eyewitnesses will have any aviation experience.

Investigators place almost no weight upon eyewitness statements - they work it out for themselves.

Sadly, how many times has an airliner go into the ground after the third attempt at an approach in poor weather? This is depressingly common and I doubt that this will be the last. At the risk of being Non-PC, it seems to be a phenomenon that affects the Far East and less developed nations more than the "West".

Two approaches is enough for anyone - give up and go somewhere with better weather.

And please................let's get rid of non-precision approaches at international airports. Surely ICAO, IATA, JAA, FAA, UN, IMF whatever can scrape together enough cash for a bundle of ILS transmitter?

Load Toad
27th May 2003, 10:07
Just a thought and I maybe well off the mark here...

...I recall a news item a few months back about the weapons inspectors in Iraq. Apparently there was a delay in getting them helicopters as the UN had to give the contract to the lowest bidder (surely there would be some other stipulation).
Now it certainly seems a bit weird to me that Spanish peacekeepers were flying on a Ukrainian Yak-42 on a flight from Afghanistan to Spain that required 2 refueling stops...am I right about that?
And quite why the pilot chose a third attempt (one report (BBC) states pilot saying just before crash that he couldn't see the runway).

If I was next of kin I'd want some very swift and accurate answers.

27th May 2003, 14:26
Cant help but wonder if the Airline in question was EAST LINE. They used to do a lot of UN charter work and I have been witness to several very near crashes (particularly on over wieght take-offs) from various UN operstions.

As a military pilot and having worked with the UN I can safely say that my biggest fear on a UN job was getting to/fm the theatre on these charter aircraft.

The UN uses the cheapest option...end of story (often, if rumours are to be believed, with significant backhanders to various corrupt individuals)

In my (humble) opinion there should be a thorough investigation into the ridiculous number of UN charter aircraft crashes...and yes, those so called "diplomats" drinking their bubbles and pink gin on Manhatten Island should swing by their nutz when the negligence/corruption is proven.

I have no time at all for the UN...they are corrupt and ineffective...and too many people die as a result of diplomatic in action and corruption.

RIP to the Spanish soliders, sadly your names are added to the UN hall of shame.

In the meantime responsible Governments around the world should out-right refuse to have their troops flown on such charters....and then extract the costs for proper, safe air transport from the UN bill.

27th May 2003, 16:06
ATC-watcher is right, a tragic but avoidable accident which should not have had happend. The spanish charter aircraft are modern aircraft equiped with EGPWS. Yes they are more expensive than a YAK 42, which has a bad safety record, not so long ago a same aircraft slammed into the Olympus while set for approach at Thessaloniki. It is a pitty that lives of people are lost, the very people who really care about others doing their difficult UN tasks. The should be safegarded more from their superiors who like to be penny wise but pound foulish!.

What a waste,QTA!

27th May 2003, 19:39
Cant help but wonder if the Airline in question was EAST LINE.

Lots of confusion about the operator. It was Ukrainian-Mediterranean Airlines (UM Air) which operates a mix of Soviet and Western aircraft.

The name "Sredizemnomorske" which is being banded about is an east European word meaning "middle earth sea"...namely the Mediterranean.

28th May 2003, 16:39
Saw on television last night that the remains/bodies of the crash victims were being flown back to Spain by Spanish Airforce C130.
When they were all dead, and only then, there was money available to deploy the C130. When they were all alive, there was no budget. So sad and how bizar.
I am with Jungly here, you have to have experienced it to believe it.

On a more technical note,
Trabzon has RWY 11-29 with an ILS/DME 1 on RWY 11.
The entire ILS approach is over water, glide intercept at 3000'
When you have to go missed you climb left turn (over the sea) to 3500' via TBN VOR R-030. Then, either follow the published procedure or go by ATC instructions. The procedure sets you up to intercept the ILS again at DME 9. (VOR/DME is on the field.)
Now, I don't now where the crash site is other then it is on a mountain side and if they hit a mountain then they were at a position where they should not have been in the first place.

I make three assumptions here.
1. They did the ILS/DME 1 RWY 11
2. After they missed, ATC did not vector them towards hazardous raising terrain.
3. As there was heavy fog, they did not do the approach on RWY 29. That would be pointless re. minimums.

Does somebody know where the crash site is exactly? If so let me know and we can have another look at it.
Anyway, the FDR and CVR will tell the tale.


30th May 2003, 00:47
A terrible, terrible tragedy.
As usual the spanish authorities are blaming everyone else.
My heartfelt sympathy to all the families in pain.

30th May 2003, 04:37
Aerovision, your assumptions may be premature. I understand that the approach being made was VOR to RWY 29.

The accident occurred at 0420 local, 0120Z.

Weather was as follows:

LTCG 260120Z 27011KT 230V300 9999 -SHRA SCT012 BKN030 18/17 Q1012 NOSIG RMK RWY29 28012KT=

Now maybe I'm reading this wrongly, but doesn't that "9999" basically mean 10km visibility? In which case, where's this alleged fog?

30th May 2003, 14:45
Konkordski, thanks for that.

They were assumptions, as I said, based on what was retrieved from statements by local officials and the consequent press releases.
(Pictures of smoking wreckage on misty hillside, came down in thick fog, third attempt to land in thick fog, pilot said unable to see runway, vis les than 10 meters etc. etc.)

So, if we go by the weather report you submitted than you have a point, where is the fog? And an approach on 29 could be made.
Why go missed twice? And if you go missed, then it is climbing right turn. Over the Water.

Allow me to take it one step further.
The crash site is about 30 miles south of the field, thats were the high terrain is. The MSA for that sector is 11500'. What were they doing there, sureley not the place to be for a new approach on 29. Could it be, (assumption), that they were not attempting a third approach but instead trying to get to the alternate, Yerevan?/ T'Blisi ? But then you need more than 11500' in the direction they were going. The "thick" fog then was inland on the hills and not at the airport.
But why go missed twice in the first place with that weather ?
And the transmission; "can not see the runway"?
So, what does not add up here?


30th May 2003, 16:11
I cannot speak for Turkey, but around the North sea actual do not always depict the weather as it is actually there..forecasts have been seen to be amended AFTER the WX has changed for the worse..would not be surprised if something similar happened here.

30th May 2003, 17:34
I understand that time of the crash was closer to 01:45 GMT so this report is closer

LTCG 260150Z 27010KT 230V310 9999 -SHRA SCT008 BKN030 18/17 Q1013 NOSIG RMK RWY29 27011KT=

Now from my understanding of METAR reports that suggests scattered clouds (1/8-1/4 coverage) at 800 feet altitude at the airport - which is pretty low - given the crash site was inland some distance in quite a mountainous area don't see any problems here

31st May 2003, 02:16
But why go around TWICE in SCT 008? It reads 800'over Airport elevation, ans I expect the ILS minimums to be lower than that.

31st May 2003, 05:08

I could be wrong, but I believe that the early reports mentioned an 0145Z time while later information from Turkish ATC stated that the last approach was made at 0110Z and that radar contact was lost at 0120Z.

31st May 2003, 07:34
Costal airport at dawn, temp and dew one degree spread, wind falling off before dawn.
Such airports can go zero zero from 9999 in a flash as the fog rolls in.
IMHO...Poor arrival time planning badly served the crew and troops.
A later arrival time after any fog would have burned off would have seen them better placed.