Author: Grigory Rudenko

UKRAINIAN PILOTS FAILED TO OBEY FEMALE VOICE. (By Grigory Rudenko. Kommersant, Aug.2, 2002, p.5. Condensed text:) Kiev Ukrainian Defense Minister Vladimir Shkidchenko yesterday apologized to the nation for the air disaster outside Lvov [see Current Digest, Vol.54, No.30, p.16]....

Investigators are currently studying the circumstances that preceded the flight. In particular, they are checking out the SU-27UB pilots statements that the flight map differed from the actual situation they saw in the vicinity of Sknyliv Airfield. Analysis of the flight data recorders provides indirect confirmation of this. One pilot can be heard asking, "And where are our spectators?"

At the same time, recordings of the crews conversations also indicate shortcomings in piloting the SU-27. Several times the instruments warned the pilots of emergency situations. In these instances, an audio prompter would say in a female voice, "The aircraft is experiencing hypercritical G-loads."... The fighter pilots responses to these alarms were delayed.

Yevgeny Marchuk, chairman of the state commission [investigating the accident] and secretary of Ukraines National Security and Defense Council, said that investigators had essentially ruled out the theory that the plane was in poor technical condition or that birds were sucked into the engine. "The plane was responsive and entirely under the pilots control," Mr.Marchuk said. "The pilots made a mistake and diverged from the flight path, but why this happened is something we still have to try to figure out." Investigators also determined that the pilots had ejected several seconds after the first contact with the ground, not prior to contact, as previously asserted. "They ejected from the aircraft when there was nothing more they could do. And the fact that they survived is a miracle...," a source at Air Force headquarters told Kommersant.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Defense Minister Vladimir Shkidchenko apologized to the Ukrainian people for the tragedy. "The blame does lie with the Armed Forces. We understand this and apologize to the ...

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