Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet pilot Denis Evdokimov has been formally charged by the Investigative Committee of Russia (RIC) over his actions in the May 5 crash of Sukhoi SSJ100 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. The authorities accuse the captain of infringement of flight procedures and manuals, resulting in excessive vertical speeds during final approach and too high an AoA at touchdown and the initial portion of the ground run. This caused the aircraft to bounce as it decelerated along the airport’s main runway. The investigation, led by Ivan Sibul, concluded the pilot’s lack of professionalism led to the airplane catching fire, resulting in the loss of the US$23 million aircraft and the death of 41 passengers.
In November the RIC called Evdokimov to its offices in order to read the charges to him, which names him as the only person guilty of causing suffering to the other 77 people on board, including copilot Maxim Kuznestsov. Evdokimov refuses to acknowledge his guilt. During lightning strikes, the Superjet developed several technical malfunctions with its avionics and fly-by-wire flight controls, which caused a switch to direct control mode. The pilot said the aircraft became unstable in flight and difficult to control and did not respond to side-stick movements. As for the fire inside the fuselage, Evdokimov said that the flames erupted after the cabin crew opened the Superjet’s doors for evacuation.
In response to the new developments, Moscow’s media highlighted the rather short period in which the RIC compiled their case and the resulting judgment. Similar cases have taken years, not months to reach such a stage. Reports also note that the RIC invited the pilot to read the charges against him ahead of the official publication of final crash report by the Interstate Aviation Committee. This document has yet to be released.