Russian Private Jet Crashes in Afghanistan

A French made Dassault Falcon 10 crashed on a snow covered Afghan mountain slope on January 21st (2024) there were six people on board, four crew members survived.

The aircraft had been chartered by a Russian businessman to repatriate him and his sick wife from Thailand to Moscow. It seems that they were the two fatalities.

News is emerging that the jet was being flown by non-commercial private pilots who had only recently had training on the aircraft type. Experience and a lack of professionalism may have been major factors.

The crew reported that they were low on fuel, then that one engine had flamed out, followed by the second one. Some degree of skill must be acknowledged in surviving a forced landing in rough terrain, although the aircraft was destroyed and two died as a result.

Based on what information that is in the public domain, the aircraft would seem to have been a poor choice for such a long route as two or more fuel stops would be required, especially if there were significant headwinds.

Neither the operator or the pilots were certified for commercial operations and there are reports that arrests are anticipated once all survivors return to Russia.

In spite of the aircraft’s limited range, the flight could have been conducted safely with correct fuel planning and also the right decisions being taken when en route fuel consumption showed that the planned refuelling stop was not going to work.

Why this was not done remains to be seen but given that the operation appears to have been both illegal and poorly executed, it would seem that, once again, a casual safety culture was responsible.

See “Confessions of an Airline Pilot – Why Planes Crash” for a more detailed analysis of what makes a safe airline and a good culture.