MOSCOW: The pilots of a Boeing 737 that plunged to earth at the Kazan airport, killing all 50 aboard, lost speed in a steep climb then overcompensated and sent the plane into a near-vertical dive, according to a preliminary report released Tuesday by Russian aviation experts.
The Moscow-based Interstate Aviation Committee, which oversees civil flights in much of the former Soviet Union, said the plane’s engines and other systems were working fine until the moment the plane hit the ground Sunday night.
The Tatarstan Airlines plane was coming from Moscow into the central city of Kazan, 720 km (450 miles) to the east. The Russian aviation experts said the plane’s two pilots had failed to make a proper landing approach on their first attempt and then began a second run.
They put the plane’s engines on maximum power, raising the plane’s nose up at a sharp angle, causing a quick loss of speed.
At an altitude of about 700 meters (2,200 feet), the crew then tried to gain speed by taking the plane into a dive but it hit the ground at a near-vertical angle in a spectacular crash.
The climb and the subsequent plunge lasted only about one minute and the plane struck the ground at about 450 kilometers per hour (280 mph), the report said.