Faulty Flaps Identified as Cause of Russian Plane Crash

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According to the Russian Media, the black box of the Russian jet that crashed into the Black Sea on Monday has shown the disaster occurred due to faulty flaps.  The Interfax news agency claimed a source stated the flaps, part of the wing that gives an aircraft lift were not moving.

The Tu-154 airliner came down off the Russian coast killing all 92 passengers and crew.  On board was one of Russia’s best-known humanitarians, Yelizaveta Glinka, and 64 members of Alexandrov Military Music Ensemble.

Life news website stated the pilot lost control when the plane was at a critical angle.  It quoted the crew’s last words which were, “The flaps, hell…!”

The plane was heading to the Russian air base in Syria.  The Alexandrov choir was due to perform on New Year’s Eve.

News sources say the findings come from a cockpit conversation stored on the black box data recorder.  The box was found a mile away from the coast in the ocean on Tuesday.  Initially, Russian media played conversations between the crew and air traffic control which showed no sign of problems.

Later, Life, which has close links to Russian security services, published a transcript of the cockpit recording taken from the black box.

The plane had landed for refuelling at Adler airport, Sochi, and crashed soon after taking off heading out towards Syria.  According to the Russian Defence Ministry, a second black box has been found and raised from the seabed.  This is believed to be in good condition.

The Tupolev airliner is no longer used by Russian airlines but is still in service in the military.   The model that crashed is 33 years old.  Accident investigators have so far ruled out terrorism as a cause focusing instead on pilot error or a technical fault.

Fifteen bodies have been recovered from the crash site so far.

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