Russian Operator Suspends Mi-26T Flights

 - January 5, 2012, 3:25 PM

Russia-based UTAir Aviation has not yet resumed Mil Mi-26T operations after they were suspended on December 20 following a fatal accident. On that day, one of the airline’s Mi-26 heavy twins landed hard, rolled and caught fire 135 nm south of Surgut in the Khanty Mansi autonomous region. One crewmember was killed, while the other five were injured. There were no passengers aboard. The company immediately announced fleet-wide inspections that were to be completed “in just a few days” before any further flying. They were to focus on the tail booms on all of UTAir’s Mi-26Ts, as “preliminary information” had suggested a “defect in the fuselage” could have caused the accident on December 20. The Russian Interstate Aviation Committee has launched an official investigation. Not a common sight in Western countries, the Mi-26T can carry 82 passengers with a nominal crew of five. Its mtow is close to 123,000 pounds. UTAir was unavailable for comment.