Pilot Error Found in Crash That Killed Russian Hockey Players

Source: The New York Times - November 2, 2011

1 MOSCOW — Russian air safety officials said Wednesday that a September plane crash that killed an elite hockey team was caused by an extraordinarily basic human error: one of the pilots accidentally pressed the brakes on the landing gear, so that the aircraft was moving too slowly when it tried to take off.

2 Aleksei Morozov, who led a team investigating the crash for Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee, said it was not clear whether the error was committed by the pilot or co-pilot of the plane, a Russian-made, three-engine Yak-42 chartered to carry the team, Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, to a game. Investigators noted that both men had more experience flying Yak-40 aircraft than Yak-42s. The Yak-40’s pedals are laid out differently, and “a negative transfer of Yak-40 skills” may have led to the error, they said. An autopsy also found that the co-pilot had phenobarbital — a depressant that can slow reaction times — in his system.

3 “Test pilots established in a flight experiment that an erroneous pushing of the brake pedals during takeoff is possible only if the pilot’s feet are placed by mistake on the braking floor,” Mr. Morozov said in televised remarks. “Even a slight pressure on the pedals may have been overlooked by the pilot.”

4 The plane was airborne for only a few moments before crashing about 500 yards from the runway at an airport near Yaroslavl, 160 miles northeast of Moscow. Among the 43 people killed instantly were many hockey stars, including several veterans of the National Hockey League. […]

5 The commission’s findings on Wednesday placed blame squarely on the crew. […] The report describes a lack of coordination on the flight deck, citing cockpit voice recordings. After someone — presumably the commander of the flight — pushed the control stick forward, as if preparing to abort the takeoff, the co-pilot can be heard asking, “What are you doing?” The stick was then pulled back with great force, most likely by both pilots, in preparation for takeoff.

6 At that moment, the flight engineer set the engines to idle, as if to abort the takeoff. A pilot cursed and shouted “Takeoff power!” but the engines did not resume takeoff power for six seconds, and the aircraft slowed down in the meanwhile. The report also found that, as the two pilots pulled with all their strength on the control column, one of them had braced his feet on the brake pedal, meaning that the brakes were applied to the wheels at the same time that the crew was trying to reach takeoff speed. If the crew had identified the problem, they had time to abort the takeoff and save the aircraft, Mr. Morozov said.

7 The report was sharply critical of training practices at Yak-Servis, the private company operating the flight, noting that “in such an organization, scheduled preparation was practically impossible to organize.” Investigators found that the captain, co-pilot and flight engineer had never trained together in a flight simulator, and that the pilots were being trained in Yak-40s and Yak-42s at the same time, a practice discouraged in the industry.

8 Russia’s federal transport agency revoked Yak-Servis’s licenses in September and last month grounded 10 more Yak-42s being operated by other companies. […]

Ellen Barry


pilot error erreur de pilotage
found : part. passé de to find, cf § 6 trouvé(e)
crash (n)
cf plane crash §1 et to crash § 4
par. 1  
air safety officials empilement !
en 1 : officials ; en 2 : air safety, avec safety en 2a et air en 2b
official (n) = responsable (n)
air safety = sécurité aérienne
plane crash accident d'avion
elite (a) d'élite
team (n) équipe
human error erreur humaine
to press the brakes actionner les freins
to press (tr) (fa) = appuyer sur
brake = frein
landing gear train d'atterrissage
gear = attirail, équipement
so that (conj. de conséquence) si bien que
par. 2  
led : prét. de to lead (v) (led 2) (tr)
cf infra to lead (intr) to...
être à la tête de
to investigate (v) (tr) enquêter sur
Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee empilement précédé d'un cas possessif
en 1 : Committee, en 2 : Interstate Aviation, avec Aviation en 2a et Interstate en 2b, en 3 : Russia's
Comité de l'aviation inter-États de la Russie
it was not clear whether... on ne sait pas exactement si
whether... or .... (conj. alternative) = si... ou...
committed : part. passé de to commit (v) (tr) commettre
a Russian-made, three-engine Yak-42 empilement mis en apposition à the plane
en 1 : Yak-42 (Yak est l'abr. de Yakovlev) ; en 2 : Russian-made ; en 3 : three-engine
Russian-made =
fabriqué en Russie, de fabrication russe
three-engine = trimoteur
chartered : part. passé de to charter (v) (tr) affrété
to carry (v) (tr) ici, transporter
game (n) ici, match, partie
investigator (n) enquêteur
Yak-40 aircraft aircraft est un nom indénombrable singulier = des appareils
laid out : part. passé de to lay out (vc) (laid 2) (tr) disposer
a negative transfer of Yak-40 skills jargon = les pilotes se sont mélangé les pédales entre le Yak-40 et le Yak-42
transfer = transfert (noter la différence d'orthographe)
skill = compétence technique
to lead (led 2) (v) (intr) to... conduire à, entraîner, causer
may have led to... modal may + inf. passé have led : traduire may par « peut-être »
depressant (n) dépresseur
par. 3  
test pilot pilote d'essai
flight experiment expérience en vol
flight = vol
experiment = expérience
brake pedal pédale de freinage
take-off (n) (aussi takeoff)
cf infra takeoff power § 6 et takeoff speed § 6
slight (a) léger
pressure (n) pression
may have been overlooked modal may + inf. passé passif have been laid : on traduira may par « peut-être »
to overlook (tr) = négliger, laisser échapper (un détail), ne pas voir (en regardant)
par. 4  
to be airborne être en vol, rester en vol
for only a few moments for se traduit ici par « pendant » et non par « pour »
to crash (v) (intr) s'écraser
yard (n) (mesure de longueur = 0 m 91) verge (anglaise), yard
runway (n) piste (d'aéroport, d'aviation)
mile (n) (mesure de longueur = 1600 m 34) mille international, mille terrestre
160 miles northeast of Moscow 160 milles au nord-est de Moscou
among (prép.) parmi, au nombre de
hockey star vedette de hockey, champion de hockey
including (prép.) dont, par lesquels/-quelles
veteran (n) (fa) ancien joueur
par. 5  
findings (n pl) conclusions, observations
to place blame on... attribuer la responsabilité (de l'accident) à, rendre responsable
crew (n) équipage
report (n) rapport
to describe (v) (tr) décrire
lack (n) manque, absence, défaut
flight deck cabine de pilotage
to cite (v) (tr) citer, faire référence à
cockpit voice recordings empilement !
en 1 : voice recordings, avec recordings en 1a, voice en 1b ; en 2 : cockpit
voice recordings = enregistrements des conversations (litt. « des voix »)
cockpit = cabine de pilotage
presumably (adv) sans doute
the commander of the flight le commandant de bord (litt. « le commandant du vol »)
to push forward (v) (tr) pousser vers l'avant
control stick
cf. control column, § 6
levier de commande, manche à balai (fam.)
as if preparing to... comprendre as if [he was] preparing to
to prepare (v) (intr) to + inf. se préparer à + inf.
the co-pilot can be heard asking... cette forme passive anglaise donnera en français une forme active en « on »
heard : part. passé de to hear (v) (heard 2) (tr) entendre
to pull back (vc) (tr) faire revenir en arrière, rabattre
par. 6  
flight engineer (fa) mécanicien de bord, mécanicien navigant
idle (a) (qui marche) au ralenti
to set to idle = mettre sur « ralenti »
engine (n) (fa) moteur, réacteur
as if to + inf. comme pour + inf.
to curse (v) (intr) jurer, proférer des jurons
to shout (v) (tr) crier
Takeoff power! équivalent en français : « Pleins gaz ! », « Mettez les gaz ! » (litt. « puissance de décollage »)
to resume (v) (tr) (fa) reprendre (qch après l'avoir laissé) ; ici, remettre (les gaz)
to slow down (vc) (intr) ralentir
in the meanwhile entre-temps
to find (v) (found 2) (tr) outre « trouver », aussi « conclure »
strength (n) force
control column levier de commande
to brace one's feet on... appuyer ses pieds contre...
to brace (tr) = arc-bouter
meaning that... (loc. conj.) ce qui veut dire que, si bien que
to apply the brakes to the wheels actionner les freins des roues
applied : part. passé de to apply (tr) = appliquer (to, à)
to reach (v) (tr) atteindre
takeoff speed vitesse de décollage
to identify (v) (tr) trouver la cause / l'origine de
to save (v) (tr) (fa) préserver, éviter de perdre
the aircraft il s'agit ici d'un singulier : l'aéronef, l'appareil (aérien)
par. 7  
to be sharply critical of... adresser de vives critiques à, être très critique de
sharply (adv) = ici, fortement
training practices (pl) (la) politique (sg) suivie en matière de formation, (les) méthodes (pl) de formation
private company société privée
to operate (v) (tr) exploiter
flight (n) ici, une ligne aérienne
organization (n) (fa) organisme
scheduled preparation (fa) approche programmée
to train (v) (tr) entraîner, former
were being trained il s'agit de were trained à la forme progressive
flight simulator simulateur de vol
in the industry comprendre in the airline industry
par. 8  
Russia's federal transport agency empilement précédé d'un cas possessif !
en 1 : transport agency, avec agency en 1a et transport en 1b ; en 2 : federal ; en 3 ; Russia's
to revoke (v) (tr) révoquer, annuler
to ground (v) (tr) immobiliser, clouer au sol

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Le 1er décembre 2012 / December 1st, 2012

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