Mayday (2013) s03e09 Episode Script

Kid in the Cockpit

PASSENGERS SCREAM - RAPID BEEPING - MAN: Hold the control column.
Just hold it.
Guys! NARRATOR: A Russian flight to Hong Kong is in serious trouble.
The other way! The other way? To the left.
Now to the right.
Gravity has become a deadly force as the crew fights to keep the plane from falling to earth from 10,000m.
Get out! Get out! Back! The cause of all the chaos - a 15-year-old is at the controls.
Get to the left, the ground is right there! THEME MUSIC Come and sit in my seat.
Go on.
MAN: Pilot being filmed.
Are you filming? It's a family outing.
A proud pilot taking his kids on their first trip abroad.
But in just a few minutes their vacation will turn into a terrifying fight for their lives.
PASSENGERS SCREAM Hold the control column.
Just hold it! Back, back.
Investigators would be amazed .
.
how did a 15-year-old kid end up in the pilot's seat flying a brand-new passenger aircraft? (screams) The other way! Back! March 22, 1994, Moscow.
15-year-old Eldar Kudrinsky is going abroad for the first time.
He needs every gadget he has.
Eldar, Uncle Valery is waiting.
- I'm ready, I'm ready.
- Come on.
But this is no ordinary kid.
Eldar's father is Captain Yaroslav Kudrinsky, an international airline pilot.
In Russia, that means membership of a privileged group and access to luxuries most of the country can only dream of.
Ah, captain is here.
Now we can take off.
- Hello, Uncle Valery.
- Hello.
Aeroflot allows pilots' families to travel once a year at a discount so Captain Kudrinsky is taking his children on a four-day holiday to Hong Kong.
Mum, it won't all fit.
Anybody would think we were going for a year.
Where is your daughter? Listening to the music in the car.
By the time they are our age these kids are going to be deaf.
What? - Deaf.
- Pardon? Captain Vladimir Makarov, Vlady to his friends, is an Aeroflot pilot too.
He's also going to Hong Kong on holiday and will be keeping an eye on the kids during the flight.
Mrs Kudrinsky is only going as far as the airport to see them off.
Eldar, Yana .
.
promise you'll call as soon as you get there.
Valery, you will make them call me? Ohumyeah.
We'll call as soon as we can, okay? Come on, come on, come on.
TRANSLATION: Yaroslav and I loved to travel.
And so did the kids.
They loved seeing new places, learning new things.
There was a chance for them to come along with their father and they jumped at it.
Eldar and Yana aren't the only ones boarding Flight 593.
Most of the 63 passengers are businessmen from Hong Kong and Taiwan looking for opportunities in the new Russia.
Others, like Adrian Deaville, have come from London flying Aeroflot because it offers a cheap connection to Asia.
He's the manager of a camera shop in northern England and has a passion for aircraft.
In fact, he's going on a two-week holiday to Hong Kong to photograph the new airport they've just built.
WOMAN: He'd go as far as he could.
If he felt there was a good airport somewhere in the world he'd try his best to get to that airport just to go and make some nice photographs.
The trip to Hong Kong grew from that because he wanted to see this brand-new airport which was a feat of engineering at the time.
Mark Newport is a British sports promoter who lives in Hong Kong.
WOMAN: Mark was in the Army, was in the forces, and he went to Hong Kong and he just loved it and got married out there.
He'd chosen Aeroflot - I'd never heard of it until then - because that was just a cheap flight home.
In 1994, Russia is in a state of great change.
Three years earlier, the old Soviet Union finally collapsed.
A new Russia is bursting out from behind the torn Iron Curtain.
Its people want the freedoms of the West, the lifestyle, the international travel.
But Russia's state-owned airline Aeroflot is getting a makeover too.
They struggle to buy five new aircraft from the company Airbus Industry - the 70 million state-of-the-art Airbus A310-300.
Though it seats fewer than 200 passengers it can fly three times further than any of Russia's biggest passenger aircraft.
The A310 is a fully automated aircraft equipped with sophisticated fail-safe systems.
Aeroflot hopes it will help improve the company's chequered safety reputation.
MAN: Any time there is a national carrier supported by their particular government, if that government is in turmoil, whether it's financial or political turmoil, it affects everything that's associated with that core government.
Aeroflot is a national carrier and so there's always the perception that they may not have had the monetary resources and the wherewithal to be a very structured carrier with a lot of oversight to ensure a high level of safety at that time.
Aeroflot has created a new prestigious division around the Airbus fleet - Russian International Airlines.
Pilots wear special uniforms, they fly state-of-the-art planes and travel to the world's top destinations.
RIA represents a new, modern Russia to the world.
MAN: After the collapse of the Soviet Union Aeroflot, still controlled by government, was forced to look for profits and develop a network which would be commercially justified.
For Russia's premier airline, Aeroflot hand-picks an elite core of first-class pilots.
Each of them has thousands of hours of flying time, impeccable safety records and fluent English.
They are given special training by the manufacturers of the aircraft, Airbus Industry.
TRANSLATION: The airline had around 3,000 pilots at that time.
Only 16 men were to be sent to be trained first.
Only the best of the best made it.
TRANSLATION: Kudrinsky and I started working here at Sheremetyevo at the same time.
Naturally we first got acquainted simply as neighbours.
Then we found out we were both pilots.
Later we both trained for the A310.
We studied together.
(speaks Russian) TRANSLATION: I remember how hard it was for them to master it, because the technology was quite different.
So they were working very hard, but they all got through it and started to fly.
Yana and Eldar are finally on board the new plane they've heard so much about from their father.
Now, you two behave or Uncle Vlady will push the eject button.
Vroom.
Kudrinsky has 900 hours of flying the A310 under his belt.
I must go now, okay? (Victoria Kudrinsky speaks Russian) TRANSLATION: It was their first trip abroad but naturally, they had come along with him on other trips within Russia.
They were quite well travelled for their age.
First, Captain Danyelov will command the flight through the busy flight corridors out of Moscow.
Relief captain Kudrinsky will then take over.
When he does first officer Piskarev becomes his copilot.
All three are first-class pilots.
On this new A310 the flight deck is fully computerised.
Like other state-of-the-art aircraft, it's equipped with a sophisticated autopilot that can fly the plane for long stretches of the flight.
International routes like this one to Hong Kong are Aeroflot's lifeline.
They bring in precious hard currency at a time when the domestic market is struggling to turn a profit.
Flight 593 takes off at 4:39pm local time .
.
then it will join the trans-Siberian airway flying east towards Mongolia and China.
It's a smooth flight.
Only four hours into the ten-hour trip they've just past over Novokuznetsk in Siberia - almost halfway.
But Eldar and Yana are too excited to sleep.
MUSICAL ELECTRONIC BEEPS Having negotiated the busy airways out of Moscow First Captain Danyelov takes a rest break.
He hands over control to Relief Captain Kudrinsky who now becomes acting captain for the next leg of the journey.
You have control.
I have control.
Still awake? Yes, why? Shall we surprise your father? In the cockpit? - Mm-hm.
- Oh, yeah.
Would you like that? Okay, let's go.
Aeroflot's most technically advanced aircraft is now cruising on autopilot at 10,000m.
It's a calm, windless night but the peace will not last.
The pilots and crew will soon be fighting to save the lives of everyone on board.
One of Aeroflot's new Airbuses is on a direct flight from Moscow to Hong Kong.
Captain Kudrinsky is taking his children on their first trip abroad.
They are about to pay him a surprise visit.
I have some very important visitors.
Should I bring them in? Okay.
Come on in.
Hi, Dad.
This is First Officer Piskarev.
- Hello.
- Hi.
So, what do you think of our new airplane? It's very nice.
It's amazing.
It's quite different from our old Russian planes, huh? Daddy, what's that? This is a flight computer.
It flies the plane, it does everything automatically.
Now come and sit in my seat.
Would you like to? Come on.
It's a quiet flight.
Many passengers are sleeping, unaware of what is taking place on the flight deck.
- Daddy, can I turn this? - Yeah.
Now, Yana, would you like to pilot the plane? No.
Put your hands on the control column.
Go on, go on, go on.
But don't touch any buttons, okay? Especially this red one, autopilot switch, you don't touch it, alright? Kudrinsky turns the heading select knob.
It doesn't disengage the autopilot but allows him to turn the plane slightly to the left.
It makes his daughter think she's flying the aircraft.
The artificial horizon shows the plane is banking slowly left.
This instrument is vital when you can't see the ground as it shows the pilot how level the aircraft is in relation to the horizon.
- It was you! You turned the plane.
- (chuckles) Kudrinsky now puts the aircraft back onto its preset course while First Officer Piskarev radios local air traffic control with their position.
Novokuznetsk, this is SU593, flight level 330, heading 105.
Flight 593 is now over 3,200km east of Moscow near the middle of Siberia.
MAN: Sierra uniform 593, Novokuznetsk.
Flight level 350, heading 105.
Sierra uniform 593, estimating Sukhaya at 1759.
Now it's Eldar's turn at the wheel.
He's been waiting a long time for this moment.
Pilot being filmed.
Are you filming? Yes, I am.
- Can I turn this? - Yeah.
But if you turn it to the left where will the plane go? - Left.
- Right.
Look out to the left, watching for the ground when we're turning.
Eldar finds the control column quite stiff.
It seemed to move easily when his sister was doing it.
So he tries harder.
But he can't make the plane turn because the autopilot is keeping it on course.
Is the plane turning? Suddenly the column turns easily.
Great.
Is the plane turning to the left? Yes, it is.
Set the horizon to normal for him.
Once again his father switches the heading-select knob back to its original setting ending the turn and Eldar's illusion of flying the plane.
Captain Kudrinsky then selects navigation mode.
It tells the autopilot to put the plane back oncourse to Hong Kong.
Dad? Dad? But Eldar is still holding the wheel to the left.
It's become stiff again.
Can I go back to my seat? What for? You'll only go to sleep.
And don't run in the first-class.
They will fire us.
Eldar now turns his control column slightly to the right, enjoying his time at the controls.
I am going shopping on Temple Street.
It's a famous market that's only open at night.
Why is it turning? Is turning by itself? Yes, it is.
It's been just over three minutes since Eldar sat down in the pilot's seat.
The plane is tilting sharply, a turn that's getting steeper every second.
The plane seems to be turning by itself but no-one seems to know why.
It's gone into some kind of zone? We've gone into a zone, a holding pattern.
- Have we? - (sharply) Of course we have.
An arc has replaced the straight direction line on the screen.
The arc looks like a plane in a holding pattern around an airport.
As they study the screen, the plane continues to turn.
It's now banked at 45 degrees which is steeper than what it was built for.
Suddenly the command bars disappear from the primary flight display.
The crew no longer have any information about course or heading.
The plane is flying at 650km/h and banking hard.
Like a quick turn in a sports car the dramatic movement of the aircraft beings to push everyone into their seats.
Guys! PASSENGERS SCREAM The A310's autopilot works to keep the plane aloft.
Suddenly the nose pitches up.
The increased G-force makes it difficult for Piskarev to reach the controls.
He does his best but nothing happens.
Piskarev's hard turn to the left has had no effect on the plane.
Hold it.
Hold the control column! Eldar is the only one with both hands fully on the controls.
He can only follow the most basic orders.
He can't get up because the speed of the turn is pushing him back in his seat.
- Turn it to the left.
- To the left.
Now to the right.
The other way.
I am turning it left.
Okay, get out! Eldar has been in the pilot's seat for just over four minutes and now he can't leave.
His body feels twice its normal weight.
Get out.
Get out! Kudrinsky can do nothing but struggle against the crippling G-forces.
The aircraft is plunging towards the snowy earth and there's nothing anyone can do.
Crawl out to the back.
Get out! Get out! Get out! Russian International Airlines Flight 593 to Hong Kong is in serious trouble.
There's the ground! The pilot's 15-year-old son has been at the controls for four minutes.
The plane is turning steeply and losing altitude.
The other way! Captain Kudrinsky desperately needs to get back into the pilot's seat but he can barely move.
The plane is turning so steeply and so quickly the G-forces on his body make it feel like it's twice its normal weight.
Everyone on board now feels the force of the plane's dramatic movements.
His plane is in a serious crisis but Captain Danyelov can't get to the cockpit.
He too is squashed by the powerful forces created by the plane's extreme bank.
The plane still isn't responding.
To add to their confusion an alarm begins to sound.
It singles the complete shutdown of the autopilot.
The plane is now completely in the hands of Piskarev and Eldar.
FRANTIC BEEPING To make matters even worse, there's another alarm.
The other way, the other way! - The plane is about to stall.
- To the left.
An automatic safety system kicks in to keep the plane flying.
It lowers the nose and puts the Airbus into a steep dive to regain speed.
To the left.
There's the ground! The plane dives at a frightening 40,000ft per minute.
For the people on board it's like having an elevator fall out from under them.
In just seconds the heavy pressure of the high-speed turn is replaced by near weightlessness.
As the plane suddenly drops away it's now a very dangerous environment.
People and objects that are not secured will land anywhere once gravity returns.
They'd been flying at 10,000m but now they're falling fast.
Unless they do something quickly they will hit the ground in less than a minute.
Piskarev pulls back on the control column as hard as he can to bring the Airbus out of the dive.
The nose finally comes up and the aircraft begins climbing quickly.
Gravity now returns with a shock.
As the plane climbs the rapid acceleration pushes people down relentlessly.
The dramatic change in speed makes everyone feel four-times heavier than normal.
Meanwhile, First Officer Piskarev is still trying to gain control of the aircraft.
Thrust lever's too slow.
Piskarev has pulled the aircraft out of the dive but it's climbing too quickly.
The engines on the A310 don't have enough power to push it almost vertically into the sky.
The airspeed drops dramatically.
The plane strains to climb but it's been pushed too far.
As the force of the acceleration eases, Kudrinsky leaps into action.
But Piskarev has stalled the plane.
The nose drops into a corkscrew dive.
Now the Airbus is twisting towards the ground from 6,000m at a breathtaking 70m a second.
Full throttle! For the first time since the crisis began captain and copilot can work together to save the plane.
Full throttle, no? I got it - I have full throttle.
Kudrinsky pumps the rudder, the vertical surface on the tail, to help break out of a spin.
- What's the speed? - I don't see it.
At last the plane seems to be responding.
Working the rudder, Kudrinsky has nearly stopped the corkscrew dive.
Coming out.
Coming out.
Too much speed.
Ease back on throttle a bit.
- After a desperate struggle - Take it easy! .
.
the two pilots have managed to pull the plane out of its terrifying spin.
They're starting to level out but still not completely in control.
We'll get out of this.
Everything is fine.
Easy.
Pull backwards a little bit.
In all the chaos of the past few minutes the pilots don't know exactly how far they've fallen.
Suddenly they run out of time.
MAN: Sierra uniform 593, this is Novokuznetsk Area Control.
Please come in.
500km north of the Mongolian border air-traffic controllers in Novokuznetsk wait for flight 593 to radio that it's left their control area.
Area Control.
Please come in.
Less than two hours later, the first search party goes out to look for the Airbus in the frozen, rugged Siberian wilderness.
They finally locate the remains of Flight 593 on a wooded hillside about 100km east of Novokuznetsk.
It's soon clear there are no survivors among the 75 passengers and crew.
This was a brand-new aircraft fitted with the latest technology.
What could have brought it down? Why was there no warning, not even a distress signal? The Russian media are quick to speculate.
Could it have been a terrorist bomb? MAN: When I was in Moscow the news we had was that it could have been a terrorist act because we had terrorist acts on aircraft previously.
We were completely unaware, other than that nobody had survived it.
(Victoria Kudrinsky speaks Russian) TRANSLATION: For some time they wouldn't tell me anything specific.
And only on the next day the airline director told me there was no hope whatsoever.
It was a horrible moment, of course.
Horrible.
It's hard to believe.
Aeroflot flies the families of the deceased out to Moscow.
Among them is Brenda Clark, the mother of British passenger Mark Newport.
We met my daughter-in-law there.
They told us, you know, "It's cordoned off.
You can't go down there.
" And she said, "You can go down there, Bren, "because the Chinese are down there.
"They have to do rituals and things, you know.
" And, umso she said, "They're down there.
" That's when I knew they'd lied to me and said that it's cordoned off and that's when I told them, "I want to go down, "and if you don't take me down then I thumb a lift.
" The authorities take them to where the plane crashed.
Relatives of Chinese victims drop pieces of paper with messages written on them.
Others throw flowers.
Yeah, that was really moving.
We had the flowers, they had the little They wrote messages, I think, on these pieces of paper and they threw them out.
It is was lovely.
Yeah.
The Russians take the families to a morgue in a town near the crash site where the recovered bodies are being held.
Many are too badly mutilated to be identified.
They ask the families to look at recovered items of clothing to help identify the bodies.
Brenda Clark finds her son's family photographs.
It sends a chill through her.
For the first time she knows for certain he was on the flight.
The recovery operation gets under way.
The Russian Government mobilises 238 soldiers, police, investigators and rescuers.
Everyone in the aviation world wants to know how a brand-new, state-of-the-art Airbus could fall out of the sky without any warning.
Does the A310 have problems no-one knows about? They need to find out fast.
Chief Accident Investigator Ivan Mashkivsky is in charge.
The crash site itself offers few clues.
The ones he does have are puzzling - unbroken bottles of champagne, a flight attendant in an oxygen mask, and, finally, the body of at least one child thrown into the cockpit.
The plane's digital flight-data recorder indicates the engines were running when it hit the ground.
He rules out engine failure.
Mashkivsky needs the expertise of a man who knows the A310 well, someone who can also recreate the fatal flight and find out what exactly went wrong.
Vladimir Biryukov is an experienced test pilot and crash investigator at the Gromov Institute in Moscow.
He's an expert on the A310 Airbus.
Biryukov was directly involved in testing and certifying the aircraft prior to the Russians buying it.
(speaks Russian) TRANSLATION: Because of the fate of this plane, the fate of this airline, my first reaction was shock.
How could such a thing happen? All I knew was that the plane had crashed somewhere over Siberia.
I remember spending a sleepless night distraught, trying to figure out what might have happened and what could have caused it.
Ja, come.
I think you should come and listen to this.
Each investigation begins with a complete analysis of a plane's cockpit voice recorder.
This time it reveals something disturbing.
YAROSLAV: Now, come and sit in my seat.
Would you like to? Come on.
- YANA: Daddy, can I turn this? - Yeah.
Kudrinsky was in the pilot's seat, wasn't he? According to the diagram.
ELDAR: Can I turn this a bit? Yeah, but if you turn it to the left, where will the plane go? - Left.
- Right.
Again.
Can I turn this a bit? Yeah, but if you turn it to the left, where will the plane go? MAN: 10 years ago it wasn't unusual for people to be invited up to the cockpit.
Of course since 9/11 it has become a lot tighter and you will find cockpit doors are locked, generally, throughout the flight.
Every country sets its own rules as to who has the authority or the access to the cockpit.
In some countries it's up to the captain.
So the captain can invite guests up to the cockpit.
But to have them actually manipulating the controls of an aeroplane regardless of whether they have people on it or not, the fact that this was allowed to occur is definitely an exception in the industry.
YANA: Can I go back to my seat? The two investigators are stunned by what they hear on the cockpit voice recorder.
It's unbelievable.
These two youngsters, the ones who we couldn't identify, they were not thrown into the cockpit by the crash .
.
they were his kids.
And they were flying the plane.
Again.
The investigators are speechless.
How could three experienced pilots allow children to fly a commercial airliner? They're about to learn something even worse.
The children are only part of the problem.
A little-known feature of the plane proved deadly.
ELDAR: Why is it turning? YAROSLAV: Is it turning by itself? Russian International Airlines Flight 593 to Hong Kong is in serious trouble.
Turn it to the left.
- The other way.
- The other way.
To the left.
Now to the right.
The other way.
I am turning it left.
Okay, get out.
Get out.
Get out.
Get out, get out! PISKAREV: Get to the left! The ground is right there! Aah! Russian investigators listen to the cockpit voice recorder of an Aeroflot Airbus that has crashed in Siberia.
What they hear makes their blood run cold.
YAROSLAV: Full throttle.
PISKAREV: I got it.
I have full throttle.
Full throttle, no? (Vladimir Biryukov speaks Russian) TRANSLATION: You should understand the frame of mind of the father.
He is very proud of what he's doing.
He invites his kids into the cockpit.
Strictly speaking, it's a violation, of course, but I know such violations do occur in real life.
I'm not condemning him or defending him here.
What I'm trying to say is that no disaster occurs for just any single reason.
There's always more than one, all coming together.
But this time it really does look like a single cause - a child flying the plane.
And it sends shock waves through Aeroflot's higher echelons.
No, I think it would benefit Investigators feel the pressure.
The media has learned that Eldar was at the controls.
Aeroflot, trying to improve on its Soviet-era image, wants to minimise the damage.
Boris Rybak is an aerospace consultant in Moscow.
Aeroflot managers and executives indeed tried to conceal results and tried to downplay the importance of this accident because it was very embarrassing.
Managers at Aeroflot aren't the only ones following the investigation.
Airbus, the European company which made the plane, is also intensely interested.
Mashkivsky, what's wrong? Nothing, nothing.
If the accident was caused by Eldar, it will vindicate Airbus.
At the same time, grieving families are also clamouring for answers.
Are you sure? For Mashkivsky and his team it's a delicate balance.
There is always more than one reason for a plane to crash.
We must find it.
I'll do my best.
His reputation, the reputation of Airbus as well as Aeroflot all now depends on finding this other cause.
This was an international flight.
It was a Western-built aircraft, and it was inevitable that the investigation that would be conducted by the authorities and the inquiries that would be conducted by claimant lawyers would expose information.
At the same time, manufacturer of the aircraft, Airbus Industries, was very keen to get .
.
as much realistic explanation of what happened because the reputation of this aircraft was at stake.
What I objected to was the way we were treated by Aeroflot after the accident.
They wouldn't tell us anything that was going on.
They denied everything.
I wanted to know why my son died.
I wanted to know why these men had been allowed to do such a thing, but all we got from Aeroflot was blank, blank, blank.
Every time we tried to find something out they just didn't want to know.
Families aren't the only ones desperate for answers.
Vladimir Biryukov continues trying to learn all he can about why the Airbus fell out of the sky.
Analysing information from the flight data recorder he can trace and repeat every command given to the aircraft during the flight.
(Vladimir Biryukov speaks Russian) TRANSLATION: We were trying to get as close to the truth as possible, to find the cause because that was the precedent, the first foreign-produced plane to crash while flying for a Russian airline.
The investigation confirms the autopilot was on when the plane got into trouble.
Even with the children in the cockpit, the plane should have flown oncourse.
What went so terribly wrong? So, any new developments? We can discount Kudrinsky's daughter.
She sat in the chair but she didn't fly the plane.
At 17:47 and six seconds Captain Kudrinsky tells her not to touch the autopilot switch.
Her father gave the autopilot the command to turn while Yana just rested her hands lightly on the controls.
Oh, it was you.
You turned the plane.
But when Eldar took the controls, Biryukov discovers, something dramatically different happened.
No-one could possibly have guessed, not even the three pilots in the cockpit.
Biryukov may have found the key to the puzzle.
The plane's flight data recorder shows that 2.
5 minutes before the crash, while Eldar was at the controls, the autopilot partially disconnects.
This is the start of all the plane's troubles.
But how did that happen? The autopilot is a sophisticated computer which manages an aircraft's speed, altitude and heading.
Altitude and heading are controlled by three key functions - the rudder, which controls sideways movement, the elevators, which control vertical movement, and the ailerons, which are for turning.
On Flight 593, the autopilot had disconnected itself from the ailerons.
The autopilots that were used in transport airplanes years ago were an "on/off".
In today's sophisticated flight management systems you can literally take fragments of the autopilot and disengage them but not necessarily turn the switch off and turn it all off, unless you want to.
The question that really worries accident investigator Biryukov is how did the autopilot become partially disconnected? There's no mention of it in the cockpit voice recording.
If this is a fault with the aircraft, it could prove fatal to future flights.
The only way to know for certain is to reconstruct the accident on a flight simulator at Airbus Industries headquarters in Toulouse, France.
Biryukov's experience as a test pilot and his detailed knowledge of the A310 is crucial to the investigation.
Using information from the flight data recorder, Biryukov reconstructs the events beginning at the moment Captain Kudrinsky allows his son to sit at the controls.
A copilot will help replicate Piskarev's actions.
Look out to the left.
BIRYUKOV: Watching for the ground when we're turning.
Unlike his sister, Eldar turns the wheel before his father can tell the autopilot to turn the plane.
The controls are stiff because he's fighting the autopilot.
In the simulator, Biryukov reproduces Eldar's every movement.
Nowit's starting to go.
Going .
.
going There.
Hold it long enough and it disconnects.
How long? 30 seconds.
And it disconnects smoothly.
- No warning? - No.
No.
No-one in the cockpit knows it but this is a critical moment.
Eldar's resistance actually turns part of the autopilot off.
It takes just half a minute but from here on Eldar is controlling the ailerons.
Eldar is actually steering the plane.
Why is it turning? Is it turning by itself? Yes, it is.
What seemed like an open-and-shut case is suddenly much more complex.
- To the left! Go back! - The other way.
The 15-year-old flying the plane isn't the only reason they crashed.
The discovery highlights an apparent flaw in how pilots are trained on the A310.
I got it.
I have full throttle.
Accident investigator Vladimir Biryukov has finally discovered the terrifying sequence of events that made Aeroflot's Flight 593 fall to earth.
Captain Kudrinsky's 15-year-old son had turned the plane's control column against the programmed flight settings.
This disconnected the autopilot without warning from the ailerons which turn the plane.
There.
Hold it long enough and it disconnects.
How long? The aircraft then began an uncontrolled turn to the right which got steeper and steeper.
But why didn't anyone realise the autopilot had disconnected? TRANSLATION: Another peculiarity of the plane is that it has no alarm signalling the disengaging of the autopilot in the list channel .
.
while our Russian planes have an alarm sounding in such an event.
So I think the captain allowed the boy to do it, irregular as it was, believing that even if the autopilot got disengaged, the crew would be alerted to the fact.
The A310 Airbus has only a small light to tell the crew the autopilot has disconnected.
There's no alarm, and the Russian crew was obviously unaware of it.
But there's also another reason why no-one realised what was happening.
The autopilot still appears to be working normally because it's controlling the plane's other functions.
Although the plane is now banking, the situation isn't yet critical.
At this point, if the crew takes the proper action, they can still stabilise the plane.
Eldar is the first to notice that the artificial horizon is at an angle.
Why is it turning? Is it turning by itself? Yes, it is.
The three pilots don't understand this at all, after all, Kudrinsky returned the flight to its autopilot heading.
Makarov offers an explanation.
Going into some kind of zone? We've gone into a zone, a holding pattern.
- Have we? - (sharply) Of course we have.
BIRYUKOV: Increasing one degree per second.
27 degrees.
Now should be entering into the zone.
What's that? A strange arc now appears on the navigation panel.
It looks like the course a plane would take circling an airport, waiting to land.
(Vladimir Biryukov speaks Russian) TRANSLATION: There appeared an arc very much resembling the arc that appears on the display when a plane enters a waiting zone.
There are waiting zones around airports.
When too many planes accumulate they enter such a zone and circle around while they wait.
But there could be no such zone at that point on the route.
And yet we hear in the voice recording, "Hey, we're entering a zone.
" This false holding zone distracts the crew for nine seconds.
In that time, the plane crosses a critical threshold.
The Airbus is now banking at 45 degrees, far beyond its design limits.
It cannot turn this steeply and maintain height.
It's now losing altitude.
Guys! But the Airbus autopilot is no longer controlling the ailerons.
Its other functions try to compensate by pulling the plane's nose up and increasing power to maintain altitude.
Passengers are pushed back into their seats.
It's on the verge of stalling.
It starts to shake like a leaf.
Hold it.
Just hold it.
Part of the flight control panel now goes dark.
It's a warning sign that the plane has gone beyond its design limits.
From here on, the Airbus is out of control.
By recreating the fatal flight, Biryukov has worked out how a lapse in judgment and concentration has resulted in a catastrophic crisis.
But could the crew have saved the plane and its passengers? INSTRUMENTS BEEP The pilots of Flight 593 try to bring the plane out of its fatal dive by pulling up.
But they go too far - the plane climbs steeply and stalls.
We're losing altitude.
Now we've started to spin, so what do we do? It's coming out of the corkscrew.
Now we're levelling out.
In a moment we'll come out of the dive.
All they had to do was let go.
The plane has an inbuilt survival mechanism which won't allow it to stall even at very low speed, but the pilot has to know that.
TRANSLATION: But the situation is totally new to them, something they weren't accustomed to handling, a stressful and incomprehensible situation.
It would have taken special skills to act correctly in such a difficult situation.
It was not the crew's fault but their misfortune because if a person doesn't know how to do something because he was never taught to you can't really blame him.
The team's perseverance in an open and honest investigation did show that there was more than one simple cause behind the accident.
Their findings benefited the whole industry, especially the revelation that the autopilot can partially disconnect.
This remains a feature of the A310 as it enables pilots to control certain elements of a flight while leaving the rest to the computer, but crews are now made aware of this.
Captain Kudrinsky's misfortune is that it was triggered in a way that was unexpected and difficult to detect.
The crash of the Russian plane comes at a troubling time for the airline industry.
In 1994, the same year that Flight 593 went down, a series of crashes in the United States raised questions about how commercial pilots handle "upsets" - situations in which an aircraft finds itself in extreme flying conditions.
When we think about "upset" in a large airplane we think about an attitude of the airplane that's beyond what normal flight regimes would be - that is, greater than 20 degrees nose up, greater than 10 degrees nose down, and bank angles greater than 25 degrees.
Within a year the industry had begun offering pilots "upset" recovery training, teaching them skills to handle extreme situations like the one on Flight 593.
The tragedy of one trip to Hong Kong may have contributed something to the safety of other passengers and crew.
For parents and friends of those on board, though, what happened that night is never far from their minds.
Adrian Deaville's body was one of 22 that were never identified.
Their remains were cremated together by the Russian authorities.
JOYCE DEAVILLE: In my mind, he was asleep and that's the way I deal with it and, you know, he didn't know much about it.
The crew of the Airbus are buried in Mitinskoye Cemetery in Moscow in a hero's grave next to the firefighters who died at the Chernobyl nuclear plant.
Yana and Eldar lie next to their father.
(speaks Russian) TRANSLATION: I can imagine the horror they experienced in their last moments.
He knew there were not only all those people depending on him .
.
but also his own kids.
(man speaks Russian) TRANSLATION: Yes, it was a violation.
Yes, he did it.
But how it all happened - it was just a freak accident, a bizarre coincidence.
BARRIE DEAVILLE: I can forgive the pilot, I can forgive the children, because they were innocents.
This man was 39 years old, and for those 39 years he had an exemplary flying career.
He had a family, he was proud of them, and it was the final five minutes of those 39 years that went awry.
Yeah, children shouldn't have been allowed in the cockpit, I don't believe, but .
.
me saying that now won't bring Mark back, will it? But it might stop things happening in the future.
ENGINE ROARS