KHL Plane Crash Probe Cites Pilot Error

The Interstate Aviation Committee ruled that the September 7 plane crash that killed 44 people, including 36 players, coaches and staff of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League, was caused by pilot error, Vladimir Isachenkov of the Associated Press reports.

In addition to citing lax oversight and insufficient crew training, the investigation discovered that one of the two pilots of the Yak 42 plane accidentally activated the brakes and yanked the control to his chest, which pulled the plane up sharply during take off.

The investigation was led by Alexei Morozov, who found that the flight crew had medical issues that should have prohibited them from piloting the aircraft. Morozov also said the crew should have aborted the takeoff, but may have feared reprisals from management, with the AP noting that pilots risk the loss of bonuses when contributing to cost overruns.

"A properly trained pilot would have immediately aborted the takeoff when he saw the nose failing to lift," said Ruben Yesayan, a test pilot who assisted in the investigation. "The plane would simply have rolled past the runway and everyone would have been safe."

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