Note Probable Cause Hasn't Been Determined, But Maintain
Oversight 'Shortcomings' Are Clear
American law firms have joined forces to sue the Federal Aviation
Administration in connection with the September 14 downing of a
Boeing 737-500 airliner near Perm, Russia.
On Friday, Nolan Law Group and Ribbeck Law Chartered filed a
Petition for Discovery in the state court in Chicago arising from
which claimed the lives of all 88 passengers and crew
onboard the Aeroflot-Nord airliner. The petition was
filed on behalf of Aleksey A. Afanasenkov, Sr., whose son perished
in the crash, and seeks documentation and information concerning
the individuals or companies that may be responsible for causing
According to a joint release by the two firms, lawyers on both
sides also asserted a formal claim on behalf of Afanasenkov against
the United States Federal Aviation Administration "for its failure
to properly regulate US training institutions which provided
training to the crew of the accident airplane."
According to the law firms, "The US-Russian treaty entitled
"Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America
and the Government of the Russian Federation for the Promotion of
Aviation Safety" entered into force on September 2, 1998. Under the
treaty, the US government agreed that the FAA would monitor, among
other things, aviation training establishments in the United States
providing training to Russian pilots in accordance with the
standards, rules, practices, general procedures and Implementation
Procedures established pursuant to the treaty."
The firms assert that wasn't done... and the Aeroflot-Nord case
is a tragic consequence. "While the investigation of the crash is
ongoing and no probable cause determinations have yet been made,
the circumstances of the crash have highlighted the dangerous
shortcomings in the training of pilots accustomed to Eastern-built
aircraft transitioning into operation of Western-built airliners,"
the law firms claim. "It further highlights the need for proper
oversight in the FAA airworthiness certification process of
transport category airplanes."
As ANN reported, investigators determined the
captain of the accident airplane had little training in the
737-500, relative to his long career piloting Soviet-era
airliners... and may not have been comfortably familiar with
differences in the avionics between Western and Eastern-bloc
aircraft, in particular differences in the style of attitude
The law firms say the captain received training in the 737-500
at a US based training institution in 2006, and had 452 hours as
pilot-in-command of that model airplane. The first officer began
flying the 737-500 airplane earlier this year, and had only 219
total hours in the model airplane. "Both pilots had spent the
majority of their careers operating Russian-built aircraft which
have some significant technical differences in cockpit
instrumentation from Western-built aircraft such as the Boeing
737," the law firms assert.
Aeroflot-Nord has been a regional subsidiary of Russian flag
carrier Aeroflot since 2004. In the days after the crash, Aeroflot
executives said plans were afoot prior to the accident to cut the
airline loose, forcing the airline to revert to its prior name of
Arkhangelsk Airlines (AVL). However, at this writing Aeroflot-Nord
remains in business, using the same name.