13 MAY 2019
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Conflicting statements about Russia’s Sukhoi Superjet 100 programme continued to emerge at the weekend as investigations continued into last week’s accident at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport in which 41 people were killed.
The Russian Transport Ministry has said it sees no immediate reason to ground the aircraft. This followed a briefing after the incident where officials from the Investigative Committee of Russia (RIC) said a lightning strike was the most likely primary cause.
This was later amended, with Russia’s Pravda news website reporting that the committee was now saying the pilots exceeded the speed limit for landing an aircraft with full fuel tanks. This led to the damage of the fuselage and ensuing fire.
The Sukhoi aircraft, which has engines under the wings, went into production after it won a design competition against a new version of the rear-engined Tupolev Tu-334 regional jet, designated the Tu-414.
Pravda said experts now believed engine placement may have been a factor, adding: “If a Tu-414 had performed an emergency landing instead of the Superjet 100, the engines of the Tupolev aircraft would not have touched the ground and the fire could have been prevented.”
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