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Sukhoi RRJ-95B

Accident Case Study

As is usually the case with these Controlled Flight Into Terrain mishaps, there was a lot going on during this flight.

Ironically, the crew was explaining the Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) system to cockpit guests just two minutes before the first "Terrain Ahead Pull Up" warning. The captain's reaction was to dismiss it as a database problem. Had he reacted correctly, they would have lived. Instead, thirty seconds later, all aboard perished.

So ignoring escape maneuver procedures was certainly a factor. The crew also had poor situational awareness. During their TAWS explanation to their guests, the crew both noted "no problem with terrain" and "it's flat." It certainly was not.

Finally, the crew did not have terrain charts which clearly depicted the magnitude of the terrain in the local area.


 

images

Figure: TAWS Avoid Terrain Warning, from Indonesia Safety Investigation Report, Figure 2.

Accident Report

  • Date: 9 May 2012
  • Time: 14:32
  • Type: Sukhoi Superjet 100-95B
  • Operator: Sukhoi Civil Aircraft
  • Registration: 97004
  • Fatalities: 4 of 4 crew, 41 of 41 passengers
  • Aircraft Fate: Destroyed
  • Phase: En route
  • Airport: (Departure) Jakarta-Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport (HLP/WIHH), Indonesia,
  • Airport: (Arrival) Jakarta-Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport (HLP/WIHH), Indonesia

Narrative

A Sukhoi Superjet 100 passenger plane was destroyed when it struck the side of a mountain during a demonstration flight over Indonesia. All 45 on board were killed.

A flight plan had been filed for an IFR flight from Halim Airport to Pelabuhan Ratu area then return to Halim Airport.

The flight departed Jakarta-Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport (HLP/WIHH) at 14:21. It flew south and circled Mount Salak (elevation 7254 feet). After circling the mountain, the airplane began to descend from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet. Last contact with the flight was at 14:30. The wreckage was found the following morning on a near-vertical mountainside on the eastern side of Mount Salak at an elevation of 6,100 feet.

The Superjet was conducting a demonstration flight to prospective customers in several countries. Demonstrations were flown in Myanmar, Pakistan and Kazakhstan before arriving in Indonesia on May 9. Two demonstration flights were planned. The first flight was uneventful. Passengers on the second flight were reporters and representatives of several Indonesian airlines. There were six crew members on board, two representatives of Sukhoi and 37 journalists and prospective clients.

Probable Cause

The investigation concluded that the factors contributing to this accident were:

    The crew were not aware of the mountainous area surrounding the flight path due to various factors resulting in disregarding the TAWS warning.
  1. The Jakarta Radar service had not established the minimum vectoring altitudes and the system was not equipped with functioning MSAW for the particular area surrounding Mount Salak.
  2. Distraction to the flight crew from prolonged conversation not related to the progress of the flight resulted in the pilot flying did not continue to change the aircraft heading while in orbit. Consequently, the aircraft unintentionally exited the orbit.

References

(Indonesia) National Transportation Safety Committee Aircraft Accident Report, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company, Sukhoi RRJ-95B, 9 May 2012

Revision: 20140324
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