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Russian Jet Crashes, Killing 44 People Was It’s Age To Blame?
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Russian Jet Crashes, Killing 44 People Was It’s Age to Blame?

The age and condition of several Russian jets are being called into question once again, following a crash that killed 44 people and injured several others. That jet one of many that have been questioned as too old to make the grade any longer, especially in some of the extreme conditions in the country, made contact with the trees before crashing to the ground and then bursting into flames.

Deputy Prime Minister, Sergei Ivanov suggested that it was a combination of pilot error and poor weather conditions that led to the crash but an official report will have to wait until the plane’s black box is returned to Moscow and analyzed. The plane did not explode in midair as was prematurely announced in some foreign news outlets, but rather descended prematurely and clipped the trees.

The plane was a Tupolev jet, built during the Soviet era but no longer able to meet international safety guidelines and standards. During their time, the Tupolev jets were considered to be among the safest ever built but the years have not been kind to the planes. Not only are the jets aging but the airports they are flying in and out of are in no better condition, described by most as outdated and rundown. The pilots also have to make due with substandard equipment that makes flying even more dangerous. Parts of Russia are infamous for notoriously bad weather and difficult to navigate terrain.

The planes are all so old that Aeroflot retired them all in 2009 however, there are 460 of two different varieties that are used by smaller airlines which are often the ones using the poorest airport and runway conditions and may not be using the best pilots in the nation. The flight took off from what was being described as a foggy, overcast day.

According to Deputy Transport Minister, Valery Okulov, the black box was found among the wreckage of the vehicle and is en route to Moscow. Over one hundred rescue workers made it to the site of the crash and started sifting through debris as soon as the living passengers were transported to local hospitals. Of the eight injured, five are currently listed in critical condition and may need to be transferred to more modern facilities for more comprehensive care. Among the dead was Vladimir Pettai, age 38. Pettai is one of the Russian Premier Leagues top football referees and became a FIFA referee in 2010. Although his name is listed on the official flight roster, his death was not confirmed in the Russian media. There are several sports blogs that are confirming his death at this time.

The families of the dead passengers will each be compensated with one million rubles ( $35,500 USD) while the injured passengers will each be given half that amount. There has been no word on whether the remaining Tupelev jets will be grounded pending thorough inspection and repairs or not.


Street Talk

This is an interesting article about the current state of Russian civilian aircraft. The aircraft that you mentioned was a TU-154. It is an old aircraft however it is quite a reliable aircraft. The TU-154 is comparable to that of the Boeing 727. It was designed to operate in extreme conditions with simple maintenance. There are a few things I have to point out. After doing extensive research, I've found out that the TU-154 are just as safe and sometimes safer than some Western models. The TU-154 has only suffered 64 hull losses out of 1,025 airframes built compared to the Boeing 727 with 112 hull losses out of 1,831 airframes built. So based on logic the TU-154 has a comparable safety record to some of the Western aircraft. If the Tu-154 was considered old and outdated then why did they still produce them up until 2010 whereas the 727 finished production in 1984?

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  about 8 years ago
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