Flight_International 28Jan2020

(Jacob Rumans) #1


flightglobal.com 28 January-3 February 2020 | Flight International | 11

Bek Air probe
reveals safety
Air Transport P

Downed jet ploughed through a park and football field on impact

Ephraim Noroozi/AP/Shutterstock


Details emerge of Iran 737 shootdown

Probe requests analysis of Ukrainian airliner's wreckage to establish if it was hit by two missiles from Tor-M1 system


ranian investigators have dis-
closed that two missiles from a
Tor-M1 anti-aircraft system were
fired before the loss of a Ukraine
International Airlines Boeing
737-800 shortly after departure
from Tehran.
The Civil Aviation Organiza-
tion states that secondary radar
contact with flight PS752 was ini-
tially lost at 06:15, about 3min
after take-off, as the aircraft
climbed through 8,100ft having
been cleared to 26,000ft.
But Mehrabad primary surveil-
lance radar was able to continue
tracking the aircraft as it made a
right turn. The inquiry says this
turn was “possibly towards the air-
port”, but has not indicated wheth-
er the jet was under control or
whether the turn was intentional.
After a further 3min of flight, at
06:18, radar contact was lost com-
pletely. The aircraft came down
about 9nm (17km) north-north-
west of the airport, carving a track
on a heading of about 160° through
an ornamental park and a football
playing field as it disintegrated.
The inquiry says specific tests
have been requested by investiga-
tors on aircraft components to ex-
plore any evidence of fuselage
and other structural impact from
a foreign object, in relation to the
possible influence of “missile de-

fence operations” on the accident.
Investigators have received in-
formation that two missiles from
a Tor-M1 system – also known as
the SA-15, and which uses a
9M331 surface-to-air weapon –
were fired towards the aircraft
from the north.
“The impact of these missiles
on the accident and analysis of
this action are under investiga-
tion,” the inquiry says.
It has detailed the preparations
for the flight to Kiev, stating that
the aircraft was replenished with
9.5t of fuel.
But a load-sheet calculation
showed the maximum weight for
the aircraft needed to be 72.5t,
and that 82 items in the baggage
hold – equating to 2,090kg
(4,600lb) of the overall 6,790kg of
baggage – were offloaded in order
to meet the criteria, bringing the
737’s weight down such that it
was 32kg below the maximum.
This offloading resulted in a
delay to the departure. The flight,
parked on stand 116R, had been
scheduled for 05:15 but the
aircraft’s doors were not closed
until 05:49. The inquiry says 167
passengers had boarded, with
one no-show.
Shortly afterwards the aircraft
was cleared for pushback and it
eventually took off at 06:12 from

runway 29R.
Mehrabad radar control, with
which the airport tower had pre-
viously co-ordinated the flight,
contacted the crew and cleared it
to climb to 26,000ft. The depar-
ture route required the crew to
perform a right turn after reach-
ing 6,000ft and proceed direct to
the waypoint PAROT located
75nm north-northwest of Imam
Khomeini airport. The crew read
back the instructions.
But from 06:18, says the in-
quiry, the radar controller in-
formed the crew that he had lost
contact. No response from the
aircraft was received, and no

transmissions were made from
the crew indicating any unusual
Although one of the aircraft’s
emergency locator transmitters
activated, its antenna had
become detached during the
accident. Both flight recorders
were retrieved, with their memo-
ry modules, but both sustained
fire and impact damage.
Investigators state that a special
task force, to explore unusual cir-
cumstances, has conducted tests
for radiation and explosives.
Analysis of luggage “reinforces
the suspicion” that the presence of
explosives should be probed. ■
Free download pdf