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Zurich 2000.

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10 January 2000 of the year. Zurich International Airport. Passengers aboard the Сrossair 498 are waiting for takeoff. The flight to the city of Dresden is popular with business travelers. This is one of the most popular destinations of the fast-growing Swiss airline.

In the cockpit of the two pilots who came to work in Switzerland from Eastern Europe. Captain - Pavel Gruzhin will lead the plane. Rostislav Koriser will be the co-pilot. The plane they fly on is Saab 340.

Expert: Saab 340 This short-haul aircraft of the Swedish production. It is equipped with a digital autopilot, which provides highly accurate flight. This airplane is simple and obedient in management.

The aircraft easily accelerates along the runway and takes off. The flight was supposed to last about one hour. At the last minute, the dispatcher slightly changes the trajectory of their flight. On a new route, they must turn to the south of the airport, and passing over the navigation beacon, fly further to Dresden. The plane starts to turn, but something goes wrong. The aircraft should turn to the left, but instead turn to the right. The captain tries to restore control of the aircraft. He did not work and they fall.

Witness: I was driving home and saw something on the left side. I was sure that this aircraft. He quickly declined. Incredibly fast. When he fell, it was a terrible explosion, and then a series of small. I could not get closer because it was too hot.

The 498 board fell to the ground just 7 km. from the airport. 10 All passengers and crew were killed. The next morning, arrived at the crash site investigators. They saw that from the little that remains of the aircraft.

Expert: When I arrived, I saw a smoking hole. I could not find a single major unit of the aircraft.

But still, the investigators had to find evidence that could explain what had happened. Most of the aircraft was buried in the funnel, and the rest is scattered around in the form of small fragments. It was obvious that the plane hit the ground at a high angle and at high speed. The position of the wreckage also indicated the direction of flight. Flight 498 turned the wrong way during the fall.

Investigators questioned the dispatchers about an unusual flight path. They said that that night they gave flight 498 a slightly shorter way.

Expert: The new route is shorter way to Dresden. Managers provide a shorter route whenever possible. This makes a difference in 3-4 minutes. Pilots, and the rest is value.

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Negotiations and data from the radar did not give anything unusual. Just take off, then the dispatcher’s team used to turn left. But for some reason, the crew did not follow the instructions of the dispatcher. Instead of this the plane fell on the right wing and went into a tailspin. If the stall was caused by the malfunction of the plane, investigators had to fix it as soon as possible. After all, if there was a defect in the airplane, it could mean that thousands of passengers flying in the Saab 340, at risk every day.

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At the crash site, experts were looking for signs of mechanical failure. Eyewitnesses said they saw the flame in the sky for a few moments before the plane crashed.

Expert: We had the impression that there was a fire on board, because some of the witnesses said that they saw the plane falling burning.

The answers that the investigators were looking for could have been in the two flight recorders. They record what they say and what the pilots do in the cockpit. Their search continued.

At this time, the investigators speculated that the pilots had lost their course because they did not understand the dispatcher. English was not their native.

Expert: One of the most important factors in the flight crew in the cockpit of this negotiation. Possession of a common language are extremely important.

Investigators studied the personal files of the pilots. They are immaculate. Both pilots were highly qualified and fluent in English to the extent sufficient to perform the flights. At that stage, the investigators did not come close to understanding why the pilots turned the wrong way and lost control of the aircraft.

Finally, searches at the crash site were crowned with success. Investigators found both black boxes. They were immediately sent to the laboratory for research. The remaining wreckage was brought to the hangar in Zurich. There, investigators studied the damaged parts of engines.

Judge: If a plane falls from the sky on a spiral path, perhaps the reason for the refusal of the engine.

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But in both engines there are characteristic damages that say one thing: the engines worked at high revs. They were working. In the same way, the assumption of flap malfunctioning turned out to be untenable. The wreckage of the aircraft allowed the experts to investigate another hypothesis. Eyewitnesses talked about the fire on board before hitting the ground. The fire left well visible marks on the aircraft trim. If the plane burned before hitting the ground, traces of soot should coincide along the edges of the wreckage, like a drawing on puzzle pieces. This does not happen when the plane has already crashed into pieces.

Judge: If a fire starts after the fall, the debris had scattered traces of them will not be the same.

This is a very hard work. Investigators determined to which part of the aircraft this or that fragment belongs, in order to later compare them. It took a long time, but the results left no doubt. Investigators determined that the fire was exactly after the fall. Eyewitnesses were wrong. There was no fire on board.

Debris from the crash site gave another clue. The pilot's bag fell away from the crash site and therefore did not burn. It was quickly determined that the bag belonged to Captain Gruzhin, and its contents were surprising. The bag contained personal items, as well as medicine without a label or package. If the pilot was under the influence of drugs, this could explain the cause of the disaster.

Expert: It's always a cause for concern, because everyone knows that before a flight can not be used medicines.

An analysis of the drug showed that it is "Phenazepam"- A powerful sedative used to treat anxiety disorders. This is a very strong medicine and it may affect the ability to maintain the aircraft. To determine whether the pilot took the medication immediately before departure, it was necessary to undertake a study of its tissue.

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In the meantime, data from the flight data recorder became available to the investigators. From them it was clear that there were no problems with the aircraft.

Expert: the engine is running, they are well gained altitude, but suddenly the pilot changed the left turn to the right and then lost control. Plane as if no one ran.

Investigators went to Moldova to meet with the widow of the captain. They wanted to know why he took a sedative with him. She explained that her husband was under stress. The captain worked away from home, sending money to his family. He suffered from separation from his family. He missed, and he had a hard time.

Analysis of the pilot's tissue turned out to be ambiguous. Traces of the drug in his body were found. But whether it was enough to influence the control of the aircraft is unknown. However, the investigators did not give up and found another way to determine the status of the captain during his last flight. They invite friend Captain Gruzhin, and ask him to listen to the recordings from the recorder of conversations in the cockpit. But he did not hear anything unusual. Gruzhina's voice sounded absolutely natural.

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Listening to the voice recorder recording again, the investigators noticed something strange. It was interference from a working mobile phone. The effect of mobile phones on the plane was not completely known. Could this interference affect the devices? If it affected the performance of the artificial horizon, this may explain why the pilots did not know that they were turning the wrong way. Investigators conducted a series of experiments on an identical aircraft. Studies have confirmed that the signals phones can cause interference. However, they did not confirm that the interference may affect the operation of devices in the cockpit. Also, phone records showed that all calls from the aircraft have been completed before takeoff. It was possible to conclude that in addition to the noise on the recording recorder, mobile phones have not affected the flight.

Investigators returned to the records of voice recorders. They hear the captain say at the beginning of the fatal maneuver: “Oh no, no!” This could not be a coincidence.

Expert: artificial horizon system is designed so that when bank angles become too large, it takes away unnecessary information to the pilot to make it easier to respond.

The time of the captain's remarks convinced the investigators that the instruments worked, but he did not understand what they were informing. He was confused.

The search for the answer led the investigators to Russia, where Captain Gruzhin learned to fly. They met with Russian aviation specialists. They studied the working biography of the pilots. Both were highly qualified, and there was no reason to suspect them. However, Russian researchers have proposed a version that changed everything. They reported a number of incidents caused by confusion in the interpretation by Russian pilots of the testimony of one of the instruments. Pilots in the USSR learned to fly along the horizon, which was very different from that used on Western aircraft. On the western liners arrow in the form of a silhouette in the middle of the plane, remains in place and moving background. In the Soviet artificial horizon all the way around. The arrow shows the airplane changes its position relative to a fixed horizon. It is understood that the pilot could easily get confused. Left turn on the Soviet display looks almost the same as the right to the west.

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Expert: In the west and in the east there are two different approaches to the artificial horizon. The difference between these systems could really confusing. This discovery was a turning point for us. We found a possible cause of the crash.

In a state of stress, and possibly under the influence of a medication, Captain Gruzhin could turn to the skills acquired at the flight school. Due to confusion, he was confident that the plane was turning with a strong roll and turning right to correct it. Manager also just made the situation worse.

Expert: Manager said: «498 confirm a left turn." It could not possibly help the crew.

The instruction could sound like a confirmation of a turn to the left, although this was not the case. Attempts by the captain to level the plane, as he thought strongly leaning to the left, in fact led to stalling to the right.

Investigators found another important difference between the Russian and Western approaches in aviation. Russian pilots had a different attitude to autopilot.

Expert: East approach inherited from the Soviet Union - as much as possible to control the aircraft manually. Just to confirm the pilot's ability to maintain the aircraft. In western philosophy is very different.

The captain of the Crossair 498 led the plane manually. If he had turned on the autopilot, there would have been no catastrophe.

There remained the last unresolved issue. In the cockpit were two pilots. Why didn't the co-pilot notice that the captain got confused in the devices? The explanation turned out to be banal. Saab 340 is a small aircraft. There is not enough space in the cabin, and it was very difficult to arrange all the devices rationally. The operations that the co-pilot performed at the beginning of the development of an emergency did not allow him to look at an artificial horizon. At first, he simply did not notice that the plane was moving incorrectly. An additional problem was that the pilots did not have enough English.

Expert: Their English was basically "air." They were difficult to communicate fluently, and the more quickly report problems. The co-pilot was not able to tell his captain that he turns the wrong way.

After the crash of flight 498, the airlines reviewed the training of pilots from the former socialist countries. Now they are provided with additional 3 months of training. They must also pass an exam in professional English. In addition, according to the new instructions, all pilots of Swiss airlines are required to turn on the autopilot immediately after takeoff and closely monitor the readings of the instruments.

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