30 Years ago today: On 13 October 1992 an Aeroflot Antonov 124 crashed into a forest near Kiev during a testflight, killing 8 of the 9 crewmembers.
|Date:||Tuesday 13 October 1992|
|Operator:||Antonov Design Bureau|
|Engines:||4 Lotarev D-18T|
|Crew:||Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 9|
|Passengers:||Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0|
|Total:||Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 9|
|Aircraft fate:||Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||1,5 km (0.9 mls) S of Kodra, Makarov District ( Ukraine)|
|Departure airport:||Kiev-Gostomel Airport (GML/UKKM), Ukraine|
|Destination airport:||Kiev-Gostomel Airport (GML/UKKM), Ukraine|
The third prototype of the Antonov An-124 cargo plane was destroyed when it crashed in a forest near Kodra, Ukraine. One of the nine crew members survived the accident.
The aircraft performed a certification flight out of Kiev’s Gostomel Airport. The mission for the flight was to carry out tests to determine the characteristics of controllability at maximum speed. In the test flight zone at an altitude of 5800 m (19000 feet), the crew proceeded to accelerate from 530 km/h to 650 km/h with the steering wheel completely deflected to the right. At a speed of 614 km/h, the radome disintegrated. This caused the nose to break open and separate, leading to a sudden loss of airspeed along with strong vibration and noise in the cabin. Debris was ingested in engine no. 3. The engine shut down automatically and, as a consequence, the 3rd hydraulic system failed. This, in turn, led to numerous failures of aircraft systems, including the flight management system. The crew did not get valid data about speed, altitude and angle of attack while trying to manage the emergency.
When increasing power to engines no. 2 and 4, there was a surging of engine no. 4, the air intake of which also contained fragments of the nose fairing.
The crew increased power on engine no. 1 to 58%, which led to a significant lateral slip. Control became very difficult with the aircraft oscillating. The captain instructed the engineers to leave the aircraft with parachutes. One engineer who was in the back cabin, left the aircraft through the emergency hatch. He survived with serious injuries.
The flight continued back towards Gostomel for an emergency landing. An Antonov An-22 began flying in a parallel course, helping the crew to determine their airspeed. Because the speed was much higher than the landing speed, the captain ordered to select flaps. However, due to asymmetrical release of flaps, descent rate increased. The aircraft collided with trees up to 30-40 m high, fell into a forest 43 km west of Gostomel. All the eight remaining crew members and engineers were killed.
Unconfirmed reports suggest the initial failure of the nose radome was caused by a bird strike (with the bird weighing about 1.8 kg).