Date: 10 JAN 2000
Type: Saab 340B
C/n / msn: 213
First flight: 1990
Total airframe hrs: 21674
Engines: 2 General Electric CT7-9B
Crew: Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers: Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Total: Fatalities: 10 / Occupants: 10
Airplane damage: Written off
Location: near Nassenwil (Switzerland)
Phase: En route
Nature: International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport: Zürich-Kloten Airport (ZRH/LSZH), Switzerland
Destination airport: Dresden Airport (DRS/EDDC), Germany
At 17:00 HB-AKK arrived at Zurich tarmac position F74 following a flight from Guernsey. The aircraft was then prepared for flight CRX498 to Dresden.
Taxi clearance was given at 17:50 and the crew taxied to runway 28. At 17:54 the aircraft was cleared for takeoff. Takeoff and climb were conducted with flaps at 0 degrees, which is normal for a Saab 340 departing from runway 28. The aircraft climbed normally at 136 knots IAS. After retracting the gear the Flight Director was switched on, NAV mode engaged and LRN1 captured. The initial track was normal, except for a track drift to the south of about 7deg. While climbing through 2500 feet QNH the crew switched to Zurich Departure Control and were recleared to climb to FL110. At 17:55 the crew were cleared to make a left turn to intercept airway R234 to the ZUE beacon (the Zurich East -ZUE One Yankee departure). A left turn was initiated, during which the first officer entered a command in the Flight Management System (FMS). After having turned left for 7 seconds the captain started a right turn, which would be consistent with Flight Director commands generated by the FMS for a ‘direct to ZUE’. The right turn was continued with an increasing bank angle, which continued to 42deg with a constant rate of climb, whilst the pitch concurrently reduced to 0deg. Right aileron input then caused a increase in right roll rate. The first officer advised the captain that the aircraft should actually turn to the left. This was also noted by the Zurich departure controller at 17:56:20, who asked the crew about the direction of the turn. The first officer replied: “Moment please, stand by”. Upon which the Departure controller recleared the flight to continue the right turn direct to ZUE. By then the pitch had also decreased rapidly, accompanied by a marked speed increase and the Saab entered a high speed high-rate spiral descent. At 17:56:28 the aircraft crashed in an open field.
Weather reported included temperature 2deg C; dew point 1deg C; 1032 mB wind WNW/3 knots and light drizzle. The captain was an employee of Moldavian Airlines, temporarily transferred to Crossair. He has a total flying experience of 8100 hrs, of which 1900 hrs on the Saab 340B. The f/o had a total experience of 1800 hours, of which 1100 hours on the Saab 340B
CAUSES: “The accident is attributable to a collision with the ground, after the flight crew had lost control of the aircraft for the following reasons:
– The flight crew reacted inappropriately to the change in departure clearance SID ZUE 1Y
– The co-pilot made an entry in the FMS, without being instructed to do so by the
commander, which related to the change to the SID ZUE 1 standard instrument departure.
In doing so, he omitted to select a turn direction.
– The commander dispensed with use of the autopilot under instrument flight conditions and
during the work-intensive climb phase of the flight.
– The commander took the aircraft into a spiral dive to the right because, with a probability
bordering on certainty, he had lost spatial orientation.
– The first officer took only inadequate measures to prevent or recover from the spiral dive.
The following factors may have contributed to the accident:
– The commander remained unilaterally firm in perceptions which suggested a left turn
direction to him.
– When interpreting the attitude display instruments under stress, the commander resorted to
a reaction pattern (heuristics) which he had learned earlier.
– The commander’s capacity for analysis and critical assessment of the situation were
possibly limited as a result of the effects of medication.
– After the change to standard instrument departure SID ZUE 1Y the crew set inappropriate
priorities for their tasks and their concentration remained one-sided.
– The commander was not systematically acquainted by Crossair with the specific features of
western systems and cockpit procedures.”