USSR: the passion of the pilots cost the lives of 70 passengers

Today marks 35 years since the horrific disaster – 70 Tu-134 passengers died because of a bet between the pilots. reminds of the catastrophe, telling about that tragic day:

“35 years ago, when landing at the Kuibyshev airport, there was a plane crash that had no analogues in the world aviation. landing and the resulting fire from 94 passengers and crew members killed 70 people. Klyuev survived and served 6 years in prison. “

On October 20, 1986, Tu-134 of the Grozny squadron of the North Caucasus Civil Aviation Administration crashed at the Kuibyshev airport “Kurumoch” (now Kuibyshev is renamed to Samara). The airliner followed from Sverdlovsk to Grozny with a landing in Kuibyshev. As a result of the crash during the landing of the aircraft, 66 passengers and 4 crew members were killed, 24 people survived.

The cause of the tragedy is unprecedented: before the flight, Alexander Klyuev, the crew commander, and the co-pilot made a bet – whether the first could land the airliner blindly, that is, using only the readings of the instruments. Having closed the window on his side with a curtain, the commander began to demonstrate his skills to those around him – the navigator, co-pilot and flight mechanic. At the same time, the latter made no attempts to dissuade him or prevent knowingly criminal actions.

However, Klyuev clearly overestimated his skill – the decline turned out to be too sharp, and the alarm of a dangerous approach to the ground was triggered. At that moment, it was still possible to avoid a catastrophe by leaving for a second run. But … Ambitiousness and the desire to “not lose face” took the upper hand. The curtain continued to remain closed, and the liner commander only muffled the engines to avoid a flight landing.

Further events developed rapidly. The descent was still too sharp, and the flight mechanic began to open the curtain for review, but … did not have time. The others present also became clear, trying to take the steering wheel, but the time was inexorable. With all its weight, the plane crashed onto a concrete strip, with an overload of 4.8 g (one and a half times more than the critical one). The landing gear struts, and the liner continued to move on its belly.

At some point, the plane rolled over the right wing, destroying it, slid to the ground, rolled over again and fell apart into 2 parts. Aviation kerosene splashed from the tanks onto the red-hot turbines and caused a fire.

Some passengers died from injuries sustained during a hard landing, but most died from combustion products – both on the plane and later, already in hospitals.

From the author. I’m not actually “bloodthirsty”. But six years for the murder of 70 people? ..

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