Russian Air Disasters

A BBC chronology of 2006 air disasters reads in its entirety as follows:

22 August: A Russian Tupolev-154 passenger plane with 170 people on board crashes north of Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine.

9 July: A Russian S7 Airbus A-310 skids off the runway during landing at Irkutsk airport in Siberia. At least 124 people on board die, but more than 50 survive the crash.

3 May: An Armavia Airbus A-320 crashes into the Black Sea near Sochi, killing all 113 people on board.

Given that I am about to start regular flights on shaky old Antonovs and Tupolevs with Vladivostok Air, I am more than a little nervous.  Despite clocking up some 70,000 airmiles in three years, I am a nervous flier even when I’m with a decent airline who maintain their fuel pumps (a fear which is totally irrational).  My intention is to do the short hop to Tokyo and catch a decent plane from thereon, or take the Aeroflot Boeing to Moscow.  But the Yuzhno-Tokyo flight is not going to be much fun at all.


For those of you who can read Russian, here’s a report which just fills me with confidence:

В аэропорту Южно-Сахалинска вчера совершил аварийную посадку «Боинг-737», принадлежащий компании «Сахалинские авиатрассы». Никто из пассажиров не пострадал. Пилоты удачно посадили самолет, у которого при посадке не сработали закрылки.

Roughly translated as:

Yesterday a Boeing 737 belonging to Sakhalin Airways made an emergency landing at Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk airport.  The pilots managed to land the plane successfully after it was found the flaps were not working.  None of the passengers was hurt.

(Hat tip: Tatiana V.)

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7 thoughts on “Russian Air Disasters

  1. While I am ready to believe that Boeings and Airbuses were not designed for Siberian and Northern Russian airports, where TUs and ILs should be used instead, the latest crash is mind-boggling. It was a 1992 TU-154, quite new by all standards, and Pulkovo is hardly the most negligent air carrier in the world.

  2. At this particular time, I don’t recommend Googling for Russian airline disasters.

  3. When I lived in Vietnam in the mid-90s I flew regularly in Tupolev 134 aircraft between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. I understand they got most of the more modern amongst them from the former East German airline when it was replacing its fleet after reunification. The East German aircraft were said to be better-maintained than Soviet/Russian aircraft; I’ve no idea if that’s true, but I never had a problem except that before take-off the cabin always used to fill with a dense fog from the air-conditioning system, probably because it wasn’t designed for the VERY high humidity most of the time in Vietnam.

    Good luck in Sakhalin!

  4. I had also read that piece before coming here, Tat. It’s a bit too personal — if I thought my dad had died because of somebody’s negligence, I’d be close to nuking the whole world and my objectivity would be impugnable. Yet there must be a grain of truth in that.

  5. Ah, but on Russian airlines do the passengers bring their goats and chickens along as hand luggage?

    The only reason you don’t read about more african air disasters is that a plane generally has to get airborne (or at least moving) before it can crash.

    Overheard from an Air Gromboolia cockpit just after landing:

    Co-pilot: Haw! Captain that was a very short runway.

    Captain: I am very much in agreement with you Phineas. But I am also wondering why they are making it so wide.

    Laugh? I vowed never to fly again.


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