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B-738 Crash in Russia Rostov-on-Don

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B-738 Crash in Russia Rostov-on-Don

Old 20th Mar 2016, 13:27
  #261 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by B737Pilot3
For those wondering, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7orMIfJx-uw
a FZ low vis approach into BTS, from cockpit. As can be seen here, it's Single CH all the way until the AP disconnect. Also what's interesting is the VSD on both sides, Pm and Pf.

Also, as I read somewhere, Rostov is captain's airport only, so capt was PF i'd guess.
Whats wrong with VSD on both sides?
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 13:51
  #262 (permalink)  
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 14:04
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Reluctant to even suggest this, but could the rapid descent have been caused by a deliberate input of one of the pilots? Most unlikely, I think.

The FDR should reveal all, assuming the recording is intact. But never take anything for granted in this business, until a proper analysis and report are undertaken.
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Both of the cockpit crew's wives were pregnant. FO's wife with twins. It was supposed to be one of the captain's last flights with FZ, he had resigned, intended to move back to his home in Cyprus to raise his children, and start flying wit Ryan Air on Monday...

Sad day...
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 14:28
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Originally Posted by microscalewx
Just decided to sign up to inject some extra weather information into an already compelling discussion, and to back up some of weatherdude's input.

I am an amateur, not a professional, and do not hold any kind of pilot/aviation credentials.

The METAR report is a good source for surface conditions and observations from there, and I'd like to add that the CB report is quite likely correct. Any cumulus cloud (Cu) that rains is by definition a cumulonimbus (Cb), the discriminator for a thunderstorm is in METAR code as TS, with +/- for each to indicate rain rate. The reason for this is that any Cu is technically convective and thus can cause upset, with TCu also used to warn of non-raining but potentially strong updrafts. The METAR reports around the accident time correctly state showers and broken low clouds, hence CB's, with stratiform cloud cover at 10k ft. Given the immediately pre-frontal nature of that night's weather at Rostov this is a likely cloud pattern.

A better source for weather conditions, if you can find one nearby to an accident time/location, is a sounding; it just so happens a balloon was launched from Rostov-on-don at 00z (likely just prior, so perhaps 1hr before accident). The lowest levels up to 700mb are available here: 34731 URRR Rostov-Na-Donu Sounding in which on either side of the diagram you can see the height of a recorded measurement and wind information (bearing, strength) from this you can infer a wind shear difference of 40kts within ~600m of the surface. Additionally, there is slight vertical directional shear (difference in wind bearing with height), both of which would suggest shear-induced wave action, ie: turbulence. This amount of low level shear is quite extreme, and on an airfield already known for turbulence.

The synoptic scenario on the night was a strong frontal zone advancing from the NW that had just reached the Black Sea area at 00z, and was at it's strongest point for that location. Here is the 850mb wind chart for that part of Asia taken from the initial chart of the GFS model (note: this would be mostly assimilated actual data, just gridded, before the model started to compute anything): http://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analy...850_asia_1.png A quick look on Google maps at the local terrain shows that the wind fetch was coming straight off the Black Sea up into a valley where Rostov is with an elevation change of 78m. Adding to the vertical turbulence effects would have been the possibility of further horizontal eddying from orographic wind effects of the valley coupled with the approaching front maxima. All in all a very bad weather situation to head into.

As for icing, the complete diagram for the 00z Rostov sounding shows saturation between 0C and -20C: 34731 URRR Rostov-Na-Donu Sounding (note for non-weather folk, that diagram is a skew-T which means temperature on the x-axis relates to the blue lines that are the most skewed to the right from immediately above their labels, the black lines are the instrument measurements so to read off the temp see where they intersect at your chosen height) which means riming was possible. It also shows that at above 5.5km there was less saturation (separation between the lines of temp and dewpoint measurements), so quite possible there was minimal icing risk in the hold (esp being off to the SW of this reading) but perhaps some icing in the descent to the 2nd attempt.

brb an associate is running a GFS-WRF simulation at 2km grid scale
No. Most parts of the text are not correct. especially the assumption, that a raining CU is automatically a CB - in most cases the other layers are the rain producers (as/ns) and the Russian assumption, that the sky is overcast with CB doesn't match the truth anyway. In most rainy weather situations the lower atmosphere is saturated, again: This weather pattern is being handled worldwide hundreds of times and it is beyond me why we would create non existing weather drama out of the situation at Rostov. If this created someting automatically, we'd see planes crashing every day.
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 14:36
  #265 (permalink)  
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My professional opinion is that weather probably had little to do with this tragedy. For example the idea that 40 kts shear [with little directional shear] in the bottom 600m of the atmosphere is at all unusual is risible.

My opinion is based on a long career as a weather forecaster with the British service, and retiring as a PSO, Chief Met Officer British Forces Germany
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 14:41
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Originally Posted by airman1900
From the U.S. Federal Meteorological Handbook Number 1 - Surface Weather Observations and Reports:

Again: They do that in Russia with any shower cloud. In the night, nobody sees if it was a CB cloud. The cloud top temperature of -26 degrees at the time of the event means that the cloud never reached heights where you would expect to see a well developed CB. It just doesn't make sense and I can't follow the agenda to create a weather drama out of a situation which is mastered by pilots many times every day.

Last edited by weatherdude; 20th Mar 2016 at 14:42. Reason: Typo
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 15:17
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Thinking about the somotographic illusion question posed by some posters. Lets not discount the fact that flying around in circles for hours on end, no doubt fatigued and anxious by this point is going to degrade performance significantly. Anyone who has experienced this phenomena in a high performance jet at night will understand that you must rely on your excellent instrument flying skills in order to stop yourself screwing up. I remember feeling disorientated for a number of seconds, tired and during the throes of a windshear escape manoeuvre in a 737 at night. Body telling me one thing, eyes the other, fatigue a factor, its always on the last sector and at night when these things happen. Were these guys aviating navigating and communicating? Or was this a loss of control due to the loss of situational awareness by a fatigued crew? Never mind the supposed calm manner of the pilot over the RT, that really tells us nothing. You have to question the commanders reasoning for the 2 hour hold over the field. If he was under commercial pressure do you think he would have been worried? By all accounts this chap had resigned and was leaving for Ryanair in the morning. Somehow I don't think tea and biscuits in Dubai the following day factored in his decision making somehow. Murphy was out that night, time will tell.
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 15:21
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Originally Posted by GooneyCaptain
Both of the cockpit crew's wives were pregnant. FO's wife with twins. It was supposed to be one of the captain's last flights with FZ, he had resigned, intended to move back to his home in Cyprus to raise his children, and start flying wit Ryan Air on Monday...

Sad day...

Very pertinent input relevant to the discussion of there being a corporate policy which inhibited diversion. If this was the captain's last flight with the carrier, would he not feel free to ignore a counterproductive policy?
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 15:31
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"Some of the victims were from rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine where fighting between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian government troops has killed more than 9,100 people since April 2014. The war has turned the region’s main airport of Donetsk into a wasteland, and many locals have been using the airport in Rostov across the border".
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 15:31
  #270 (permalink)  
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JJ, bag's from the first flight wouldn't be on the return.
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 15:32
  #271 (permalink)  
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Listening to the ATC tape, I can't understand why one of the pilots asked the controller to look out the window, to tell if the weather looked better or not. The first landing attempt was 1:41AM local time and the second attempt 3:43AM local time, so the sky would have been pitch black. How can a controller look at a dark sky and say "oh yes, the conditions look better now". To me, the fact that the plane made this call suggests the pilots were already fatigued, perhaps disorientated, and desperate to get the plane on the ground.
Absolutely to the contrary! The fact that they ask the controller to look outside illustrates to me that they were able to think out of the box, which would be the first to go when fatigued (or under stress).
To have the best situational awareness you use all the information you can get.
I think asking for an observation was a very professional thing to do (albeit it yielded little).

And having flown into and over their airspace often for 25+ years I hardly read a Russian tag, meter or runway state msg anymore, they are notoriously unreliable and just generic for the time of the season. Do what you like but for me discussing them would be a waste of time..

Last edited by golfyankeesierra; 20th Mar 2016 at 15:42.
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 15:38
  #272 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Centaurus
Somatogravic Illusions are often used as the catch-all excuse for crashes like these because it's hard to believe there are airline pilots out there simply cannot fly on instruments when most of their career has been watching an autopilot do its work.
I might have thought that too until one of the military stovepipe drivers on our base (NTU) pulled up into the overcast after a normal takeoff and then came right back down and did a lawn dart, still in afterburner. And that was with a crew of two-two sets of eyes, but one set of controls!

I've been looking at possible causes for piloting failures under stressful conditions, and there is one common thread that I keep seeing:
  • A startling event.
  • A perceived need for quick action.
  • Action taken on the basis of incomplete information, perhaps using improvised methods.
  • Action continued beyond an appropriate duration.
I am not a professional psychologist, but I do have a lifetime of my own experiences to reflect upon, and what I see is a form of what is called attention tunneling.
I am posting the above observations so that others can perhaps distill their own experiences in that light, and perhaps learn from them.

Last edited by Machinbird; 20th Mar 2016 at 18:40. Reason: Clarification of Location
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 15:55
  #273 (permalink)  

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This was a BIG day, even as rostered. Two long 4 hour sectors and a report, one turnaround and a check out.
I don't know where you work, AtomKraft, but it must be a cosy operation. I'm not going to get into fatigue issues, because I have no idea of their previous work/rest schedules, but two four-hour sectors is hardly a big day.
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 16:17
  #274 (permalink)  
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Somatogravic illusion the culprit?

I have experienced performing go-around on an A320 and A330 both engines aircraft during the day in good visibility and can say that it is most uncomfortable feeling I ever want to experience. I had a very strong urge to push forward on the joystick but thankfully did not. Imagine the same situation but at night in rain and with pitch up of at least 17 degrees you have no visual que, in strong turbulence the illusion is even more pronounced, you have to trust the instruments.

I have practiced the manoeuvre in a sim and it does not even come close to replicating the real thing in the aircraft in weather conditions described. Hopefully the data recorders will reveal the truth. I wonder what the results would show if research was done to evaluate the pilot reactions to similar situation as that in the Kazan and fly Dubai.

My feeling is that the pilot in flydubai had even more unstable approach extreme weather and visual ques such that on this second Go/Around his own perception was very different from that of the aircraft with the resultant mismanaged control.

We need to replicate this most dangerous manoeuvre in aviation in the sim and train pilots to fly it safely 100% of time every time. How hard can it be to train pilots in basic power/attitude flying to get out of trouble ?
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 16:48
  #275 (permalink)  
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Here's a brief update today from Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee:

20 march 2016

On 20th of March 2016 the flight recorders from Boeing 737-800 A6-FDN ("FlyDubai" Airlines United Arab Emirates) after an accident at Rostov aerodrome on 19th of March 2016 were delivered to the Interstate Aviation Committee.

The flightrecorders are significantly damaged.

The Interstate Aviation Committee specialists jointly with the specialists from the United Arab Emiratesand France have started inspection, opening and extraction of the memory modules from the protecting casing in order to continue work on recovery of the interface cables and preparation for the data downloading. The preparation works are planned to be completed by the end of today.
From the somatogravic/disorientation discussion:

I might have thought that too until one of the military stovepipe drivers on our base pulled up into the overcast after a normal takeoff and then came right back down and did a lawn dart, still in afterburner. And that was with a crew of two-two sets of eyes, but one set of controls!
Are you perhaps referring to the short tragic airshow on a weekend cross country at BNA twenty years ago? Sadly, in addition to the crew, three people in a house were killed as well.

Interestingly, 'Scary' Mary Schiavo says the FR24 ground plot supports the pilot disorientation theory:

Pilot disorientation?

CNN aviation expert Mary Schiavo said radar suggested the plane had flown three large, looping circles around the airport before it crashed.

"The poor visibility is probably the biggest clue," Schiavo said. "But this runway was lighted, it had good lighting at one end and passable lighting at the other and it did have an instrument landing system."

"With the clue of bad weather and making at least three different circles trying to reorient to this runway, it does look like pilot disorientation."
Flydubai plane crashes in Russia; 62 dead - CNN.com
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 18:02
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Just thinking about their flight duty.
This was a BIG day, even as rostered. Two long 4 hour sectors and a report, one turnaround and a check out.
Pretty much every single short/medium hall UK based pilot has done this sort of duty multiple times in a week at some point. 5 canary return flights in a row from the UK is around a 4:30-5:00 block each time round. Wake up 4am, land at 5pm straight into rush hour traffic on the way home, freshened up and ready for dinner by 6:30. Bed straight after that and attempt to get some decent sleep before the alarm goes again around 8 hours later at 4am. Thats if your neighbours or young kids play ball. Repeat this 4 times over. Done on multiple occasions myself and whilst all within limits absolutely draining.

If it is found that fatigue did play a part then remember these guys were on their first sector! Consider the crew that is up at 4am, 5 hours down to Tenerife and picks up a 2 hours slot and goes into discretion. 5 hours after that approaching home base where the weather is gusting 50 knots, you're both tired and theres a distinct possibility of diversion. This happens and it happens all the time.
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 18:04
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This was a BIG day, even as rostered. Two long 4 hour sectors and a report, one turnaround and a check out.
The hour was unsociable, but a 4-hour return is more or less a 'Home to Southern Spain/Greece and back' from where I'm based. That's not big, that's actually a rather relaxed day out and done by the thousands every single day.
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 18:14
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Don't think this has been posted yet: the Russian rt.com site has published a panoramic video of the crash site:
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 19:53
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Pause this video in a precise moment between 0:06 and 0:07 so that aircraft in fall (or rather its lights) can be seen shortly becore impact.

Observe the position of landing lights.

Conclude the bank angle being close to 90 degrees left, with a steeply negative pitch attitude.

Certainly no discussion of any "wing strike", the video clearly shows the severity of the situation.

For those who cannot watch videos, here's an annotated frame (screenshot):

Very tragic for everyone involved, may the deceased rest in peace. I've got a pal in that company (low hour F/O), could've been him.

Last edited by Wrist Watch; 20th Mar 2016 at 22:12. Reason: Clearer choice of words
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Old 20th Mar 2016, 20:24
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Wrist Watch

In looking at the graphics from posts 37 and 107, it appears they made a slightly steep go around and quickly made a very steep descent to the ground.

I think your 90 degree comment is correct.

Very sad for all involved, and I hope the FDR and CVR will be readable.
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