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The Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) has made public the results of the investigation into the air crash of the Yak-42 plane with men of the famous Locomotive ice hockey team on board, which took place on September 7. According to the experts, the air crash was the result of a human factor. IAC officially reiterated the version about the “braking during the take-off.” The involuntary braking of the plane during the take-off by one of the pilots was explained by the insufficient training of the pilots and by polyneuropathy syndrome, from which the second pilot suffered. The disease did not allow him to coordinate the movements and the position of his feet. The second pilot should not have been permitted to operate planes at all.
The first and the second pilots were not trained properly, The Rossiiskaya Gazeta writes. Along with being re-trained for operating Yak-42 planes, they continued to work on Yak-40 planes. The design of the braking pedals of Yak-40s is entirely different from that of the Yak-42s. This is why the pilots, accustomed to operating Yak-40s, placed the feet on the braking pedals the way they had used to do. It is impossible to establish who of the two pilots pressed the braking pedal during the take-off, but it resulted in the disruption of the take-off process, a list to the left, the destruction of the left wing, the pouring out of fuel, the collision with the mast of a radio beacon and the air crash.
Aside from it, one of the pilots had regularly visited a neurologist over the past 11 years, The Kommersant writes. In 2000 he was diagnosed the worsening of reflexes in his feet. Hands also became a problem after 2005. “Those symptoms were indirect evidence of the fact that something was wrong with peripheral nerves, i.e. of the development of polyneuropathy syndrome,” said IAC President Alexei Morozov. According to his information, the disease affected the coordination of the movement of feet and control over their position. The investigators established that, trying to improve his health, the pilot used to take neurodermin, which stimulates the peripheral nerve system, and, probably began to take sedatives recently. “Phenobarbital was found in the blood of the second pilot. It makes a hampering effect on the central nerve system. Pilots in active service are not allowed to take phenobarbital,” the IAC report said.
According to Ruben Yesayan, a test pilot, whose words are quoted by The Moskovsky Komsomolets, the crew of the Yak-42 violated the key aviation rule: after the decision-making point the flight commander is given three seconds for making a final decision – to take off or not. If in that situation the pilots had stopped the take-off, seeing that something was wrong with the plane, both the passengers and the crew would have been alive today. Yesayan believes, however, that on the ground such actions would have been regarded as “preconditions for a flight incident,” which would have been followed by an investigation, the study of recordings in the flight recorder, which were full of obscene language, and the evaluation of the actions taken by the crew. So, the pilots preferred to take off at all costs.