Armavia Flight 967

Armavia Flight 967

Infobox Airliner accident|name=Armavia Flight 967
Date=May 3 2006
Type=Controlled flight into terrain,
Pilot error
Nature=International Scheduled Passenger
Site=6 km off Adler-Sochi International Airport over Black Sea
Aircraft Type= Airbus A320-211
manufacturer =
Origin=Zvarnots Airport, Yerevan
Destination=Adler Airport, Sochi
Flight=RNV 967
Tail Number=EK-32009

Armavia Flight 967 was a flight operated by Armavia, the largest international airline of Armenia on May 3, 2006, from Yerevan in Armenia to Sochi, a Black Sea coastal resort city in Russia. The aircraft crashed into the sea while attempting to conduct a go-around following its first approach to Sochi airport, killing all 113 aboard.

The accident was the first major commercial airline crash in 2006. [cite web|url=||last=Kebabjian|first=Richard|accessdate=2006-06-20]


The aircraft was operating a flight from Zvartnots International Airport (EVN) with a scheduled departure time of 01:45 Armenian Daylight Time (20:45 UTC, May 2) and an arrival time at Adler-Sochi International Airport (AER) of 02:00 Moscow Daylight Time (22:00 UTC, May 2).

All the crew were correctly licensed and adequately rested to operate the flight.

In order to make their decision for departure, the crew obtained the observed weather data and the weather forecast for the takeoff, landing and alternate aerodromes all of which met the requirements for IFR flights.

There were 113 occupants on board: 105 passengers (including 5 children and 1 baby), 2 pilots, 5 flight attendants and 1 engineer.

The airplane took off from Zvartnots airport at 20:47. Takeoff, climb and cruise were uneventful.

The first communication between the Sochi approach controller and the crew took place at 21:10. At that moment the airplane was beyond the coverage area of the Sochi radar.

Up until 21:17 the approach controller and the crew discussed the observed and forecast weather, and as a result the crew decided to return to Yerevan. At 21:26, after the decision had already been made, the crew asked the controller about the latest observed weather. At 21:30 the controller informed the crew that visibility was 3,600 m and the cloud ceiling 170 m. At 21:31 the crew decided to continue the flight to Sochi airport.

The next communication with the approach controller was at 22:00. At that moment the aircraft was descending to an altitude of 3,600m and was being tracked by the Sochi radar. The approach controller cleared the flight for a descent to 1,800m and reported the observed weather at Sochi, as at 22:00, for runway 06, which was above the minimums.

The crew was then handed over to the holding and tower controllers, and was cleared for descent to 600 m, before entering theturn to the final approach. Whilst performing the turn, the runway extended centreline was overshot.

Having eliminated the deviation, the crew started descending the aircraft along the glide slope, following the approach pattern.

At 22:10 the crew reported that the gear was down and that they were ready for landing. In response they were advised of the distance of 10 km and weather 4000 x 190, and were cleared for landing. However, about 30 seconds later, the controller advised the crew of the observed cloud ceiling at 100 m and instructed them to stop their descent and carry out a right turn and climb up to 600 m and also to contact the holding controller.

The last communication with the crew was at 22:12. After that the crew did not respond to any of the controller’s calls.

At 22:13 the aircraft struck the water, it was broken up on impact.


Most of the passengers consisted of Armenians. [" [ In pictures: Armenian plane crash] ." "BBC".]


Primary Conclusions of the Final Accident Report

The crash of Armavia Flight 967 was a Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT), into water while conducting a climbing manoeuvre after an aborted approach to Sochi airport at night with weather conditions below the minimums for landing at runway 06.

While performing the climb with the autopilot disengaged, the Captain, being in a psychoemotional stress condition, made nose down control inputs due to the loss of pitch and roll awareness. This started the abnormal situation. The Captain's insufficient pitch control inputs led to a failure to recover the aircraft and caused it to crash.

Along with the inadequate control inputs from the Captain, the contributing factors of the crash were also the lack of monitoring the aircraft's pitch attitude, altitude and vertical speed by the First Officer and no proper reaction by the crew to GPWS warnings

Contributory Factors / Shortcomings

During descent and approach the crew constantly had irrelevant conversations that had nothing to do with the operation of the aircraft.

The A320 Flight Crew Training Manual (FCTM), which was approved by the Civil Aviation Administration of the Republic of Armenia and according to which the Captain passed his training before starting flights with the airline, does not contain the requirement for passing the Upgrade to Captain programme. The Captain did not pass this training. This training programmewas made mandatory in the next revision of the FCTM.

The Flight Operations Department of Armavia does not comply with the provisions of ROLRGA RA Section 11.2 and ICAO Annex 6 Part 1 Chapter 3, which require airlines to analyse flight operations with the use of the FDR and CVR recordings for aircraft with the certified MTOW exceeding 27,000kg. As such it was impossible to completely evaluate the professional skill levels of the flight crew members.

In violation of ROLRGA RA-2000 Sections 4.5.33 and 6.1.5, Armavia airline does not keep records on the approaches and landings in complicated weather conditions performed by their Captains.

At 21:16 the approach controller of Sochi advised the crew of the trend weather forecast for landing as 150 by 1500 and did not identify the trend as “AT TIMES”. This inaccuracy while reporting the weather to the crew was not directly connected with the cause of the aircraft accident, but it influenced the initial decision of the crew to return to Zvartnots.

At 22:01 the approach controller advised the crew of the observed weather at Sochi Airport at the time and by mistake said the cloud ceiling was “considerable" at 1800, instead of 180m, however this did not influence the Captain’s decision.

At 22:03 the crew did not report, and the holding controller did not request the crew to report the selected system and mode of approach, which does not meet the requirements of the Holding Controller’s Operation Manual, Section 4, item 4.2.1.

At 22:11 the final controller at Sochi Airport was informed by the weather observer on the actual weather with the cloud ceiling at 100 m, which was below the established minimums (cloud ceiling 170 m, visibility 2500 m). Based on this information, the final controller instructed the crew: “Abort descent, clouds at 100 m, right-hand turn, climb to 600meters”. The controller’s actions did not comply with the requirements of the Civil Flight Operations Guidance 85 Section 6.5.16 and the Final Controller’s Operation Manual, items 4.3 and 4.3.1.

According to the AIP of Russia the controller had a right to order the go-around. It should be noted that a number of AIP items contradict each other.

The weather forecast for Sochi for the period from 18:00 to 03:00 was not verified with regard to visibility in the “At times” group.

In violation of the Guidance for Meteorological Support in Civil Aviation 95, Sections 4.3.1 and 4.4.1 d) and the Instruction for meteorological support at Sochi, the observer did not complete the special weather report at 22:11, when the cloud ceiling descended to 100 m, i.e. to a value stipulated in Annex 8 of the Criteria For Issuance of a Special Weather Report

The recommendation for ATIS broadcast explained in the joint Order No. 62/41 “On approval and implementation of Instruction for ATIS broadcast content in English and Russian” of 20.03.2000 issued by the Federal Air Transport Administration and Hydrometeorology and Environment Monitoring Service was not entirely fulfilled.

In course of reading out the FDR data, a number of discrepancies were found in the documentation describing the logic of binary signal recordings.

While performing manoeuvres in the landing configuration with the autopilot and autothrust engaged, the LOW ENERGY WARNING may sound, which Airbus considers as an abnormal situation.

afety Recommendations

To eliminate the shortcomings revealed during investigation of this accident, the final accident report made 22 safety recommendations as follows:

* 5 safety recommendations to the aviation administrations of the CIS countries
* 1 safety recommendation to the aviation administrations of the CIS countries jointly with industrial and scientific and research organizations
* 6 safety recommendations to the Civil Aviation Administration of the Republic of Armenia and Armavia airline administration
* 2 safety recommendations to the Federal Air Navigation Service of the Russian Federation
* 2 safety recommendations to the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring
* 2 safety recommendations to the Federal State Unitary Enterprise “State Corporation for Air Traffic Management"
* 4 safety recommendations to Airbus Industrie

ee also

* List of notable accidents and incidents on commercial aircraft


* [] Final Aircraft Accident Report, Interstate Aviation Committee]


External links

* [ Aviation Safety Network profile on the crash]
* [ CNN Report on May 2 at night (EDT)]
* [ article on the crash]
* [ BBC – Hunt for Armenia air crash bodies]
* [ Site listing the names of the passengers that passed away]
* [ - Armenian A320 crashes into Black Sea]
* [ - Armenian Plane Crashes in Russian Black Sea]

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