"The crew struggled with the control of the aircraft to the last. At the most extreme moment, there was not enough time, "- Hero of Russia, pilot Valentin Padalka estimated the incident with Su-24, which crashed with the crew during takeoff from the airbase Khmeimim in Syria. Experts exclude the version of the terrorist act. But what in that case was the cause of the death of the aircraft and the crew?
The front-line bomber Su-24, which set off on a combat mission, crashed during take-off from the aerodrome VKS Khmeimim. The plane rolled out of the airfield and collapsed, the crew was killed without having to catapult. This was reported on Tuesday by the Department of Information and Mass Communications of the Ministry of Defense of Russia.
The dead are pilots from Kaliningrad, pilot Yuri Medvedkov and navigator Yuri Kopylov, both captains, the source of Vesti-Kaliningrad reported.
There is no destruction on earth. From the scene reported that the cause of the accident could be a technical malfunction, stressed in the Ministry of Defense.
This is the second Su-24, lost by Russian VCS since the beginning of the operation in Syria. The first was shot down by a Turkish fighter in November 2015; his pilot - Oleg Peshkov - managed to catapult, but was shot by rebels from the ground.
According to experts, interviewed by the newspaper VZGLYAD, the version of the Defense Ministry is correct - the reason was the technical malfunction, and not the actions of terrorists (it was previously reported that the purpose of the Su-24 launch was to be an air strike on the positions of the "Islamic state").
A fairly old aircraft
"There the personnel of a stranger is not allowed, there are only those who know each other well. And none of them will commit sabotage, it is unequivocal, "former commander of the 4 Air Force and Missile Defense Forces, Lieutenant-General Valery Gorbenko, commented to the newspaper VZGLYAD.
"Given the information that we are presented, the base is very seriously protected. Meanwhile, the serious security of the base was not protected from a technical malfunction. The fact is that Su-24 is quite an age-old aircraft, "the military pilot, the Air Force Colonel Valentin Padalka said in a conversation with the newspaper VZGLYAD.
Front-line bombers with a variable sweep wing Su-24 were adopted by the Soviet Army in 1975. A number of experts call this aircraft difficult to operate by a car.
Honored military pilot (1 class), a combatant, Major-General Vladimir Popov remarked in a conversation with the newspaper VIEW:
"The plane is very difficult to manage during the takeoff and landing phases, I flew on it myself, so I know what I'm talking about. Very complicated".
There is an opinion on the increased accident rate of Su-24, in support of which are the facts of accidents, including recent ones. So, in October 2011, there was an incident with Su-24 near the Ukrainka airfield in the Amur region. The plane, making a landing, drove out of the runway, turned over and caught fire. Then the crew of the aircraft could not catapult and was killed on the spot.
In February 2012, an aircraft crashed during a training flight in the Kurgan region. In February 2015, Su-24 crashed in the Volgograd region (the cause was a malfunctioning technique or a crew error).
But, as Valentin Gorbenko points out, "any aircraft is complicated in management". And the crews with the VCS crews in Syria include "pilots not of the 3 class and not even of the 2, there is a trained aircrew - mostly pilots of the 1 class who have good experience on these types of aircraft."
But it must also be taken into account that "working conditions in this area are heavy: high temperatures, dust, sand and so on, which does not have a good effect on aviation equipment," noted Valentin Padalka.
How could the situation develop on the runway
Probably, the pilots began to stop taking off already in the second half of the take-off, so the speed was already high, and they did not have enough lanes to stop it, believes Lieutenant-General Gorbenko. "I flew for the strip and there, apparently, either turned over or exploded - the destruction may be different," he added. The expert points out:
"The chairs on the Su-24 allow you to eject from the ground at a speed of more than 140 km / h. It seems to me that the pilots all the same hoped that they would stop. "
This aircraft is equipped, like many others, with a very good K-36 ejection seat, which is probably the best and safest in the world at work, "Vladimir Popov said. "The armchair allows bailouts at zero speed and at zero altitude," the interlocutor points out.
The pilot's rescue system on this type allows you to stay alive, catapulting from the ground, Valentin Padalka emphasizes. But there may be different factors, perhaps the crew made some instant decisions not to do much harm, not to create even more problems due to ground superstructures, etc.
"That is, the crew struggled with the management of the aircraft to the last, and in the most extreme moment there was not enough time," Padalka explained.
"Unequivocally, it was decided, most likely, to stop taking off and carry out emergency braking with a stop, which did not work out. It depends on what speed were at this moment before the separation. The Su-24 airplane comes off when it accelerates more than 380-400 km / h. This speed is quite large, "notes military pilot Vladimir Popov.
What could have caused the accident
"According to my assumption, most likely something happened to the engines. Maybe, of course, with a hydraulic system or with automation. In any case, this is something serious, since they decided to stop taking off, "Valery Gorbenko believes.
"The reasons for not being able to brake can be different. Or there refused, worked out of control, braking system, or simply did not have enough runway safely to brake. Braking is carried out on the Su-24 and brake pads on the landing gear, and a braking parachute. There were even cases when the braking parachute was for some reason torn up, or did not come off simply, "points out Vladimir Popov.
At the same time, as Valery Gorbenko points out, the planes are carefully checked for malfunctions. "There is a whole system for checking the aircraft, preparing for the flight, regular operations are carried out at certain flying hours," explained Gorbenko. - Between departures the program from the tester is written off. There are a lot of parameters: how the match worked, how the technique of different systems worked. The results are seen by the experts of objective control, and if there are failures, the inspection begins immediately, the airplane is not released into the air. "
It's hard to say how it happened, the interlocutor remarked. He pointed out:
"Could and verification, of course, did not reveal what the system refused. The second option is that the malfunction was manifested already during take-off. "
According to him, the pilots before take-off also look, whether everything is in order, whether all systems are in good order - now everything is displayed on the screens. "And if everything is normal, then they taxi out, they start taking off. And here it is possible and there was a failure, "- said the expert, adding:" It is further difficult to say what actions were right, which were wrong. The head of flights did not prompt or did not prompt, there was or was not a report from the crew - there are a lot of factors here. "
"Not everything can be seen," Vladimir Popov, in turn, believes. - Some internal failures can not be diagnosed on the ground or in the air, except as a large instrumental study. There are failures associated with small cracks in the power plant systems, on compressor disks or on turbine disks.
Earlier on Su-24 there were cases of termination of take-off, aircraft crash, rolling out beyond the runway with the breakdown of racks, the chassis told Gorbenko. "I do not remember the catastrophe that the crew was killed," he said. "The aircraft has been in operation for a long time, it has already been perfected. Surprises such that it was not usually not happening before, "the expert added.