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Crash in Almaty

Bek Air blames wake vortexes

The management of Bek Air speculates about possible causes for the accident of the Fokker 100. Officials strongly contradict the claims.

The crash of a Fokker 100 of the Kazakh airline Bek Air happened just three days ago. The black boxes have been found since and sent to Moscow. But they have not yet been evaluated. In situations like these.. the less you speculate, the better. But the management of the low-cost airline does not adhere to this.

The Kazakh Ministry of Transport has said that the investigators are concentrating on three possible causes of the crash: Pilot error, technical failure or navigational error. But Yerik Saparov, head of flight operations at Bek Air, has brought another reason into play. Wake turbulence from an aircraft taking-off before the Fokker 100 allegedly threw the smaller jet of flight Z9-2100 out of balance, he claims.

Wake vortices are dangerous, but…

Just a minute earlier, according to local media, a larger and heavier Airbus A321 took off from the same runway in Almaty. Jets actually cause turbulence behind their wings – so-called wake vortices. These can lead to problems. Just over two years ago, the turbulence caused by an Airbus A380 sent a German business jet into a 3,000-meter nosedive. The aircraft sustained hat to be written off altogether.

And an Airbus A350-900 is even suspected of having caused a four-seater propeller plane to crash at Dubai Airport in May 2019 due to wake vortices. But to prevent such incidents during take-off as well as in flight, there are regulations on the distances that must be maintained between two aircraft.

Airport and government disagree

Officials contradict the statements of Bek Air’s management. In Almaty, the minimum time between two take-offs is one minute, the airport announced. Between the take-off of the Airbus A321 and that of the Fokker 100, one minute and 52 seconds had even passed.

The aircraft lost altitude only a few seconds after take-off and crashed into a building. Twelve of the 98 passengers died in the crash. The government had recently stated that the tail of the Fokker 100 hit the runway during take-off – information which also seems to be confirmed by eyewitnesses.

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