Anatomy of a failure: Il-112V Crash Investigation

The investigation body that was tasked with determining the causes of the Il-112V crash, has finished its report. The main points were published (for example see here), and they are as follows:

  1. The TV7-117ST gas turbine engine has experienced a compressor stall accompanied by local explosions of the air and fuel mixture has resulted in detachment of turbine blades and destruction of adjacent fuel lines. The fire started in the engine, and moved to the nearby parts of the wing.
  2. The aluminum alloy rod that actuates the flight control surfaces of the wing has melted within 5 seconds of the fire.
  3. The automatic fire-extinguishing system had no effect, and the second manually operated system requires at least 40 seconds to turn on.
  4. During the approach for landing, at an altitude of 7-10 meters above ground, the crew had almost no time to react when the fire started.
  5. The test program was rushed in order to present the plane at MAKS 2021 and Army 2021 shows.

So many mistakes were made by so many people. The design of the engine allowed for catastrophic failure with resulting fire. The Actuating rod wasn’t designed to withstand the fire for more than 5 seconds. The fire-extinguishing system was ineffective. The management rushed the testing of this problematic airplane for unprofessional reasons. And the result is — the highly dedicated veteran test crew is dead.

This is how many of Russian industries look today. Inept management with business-oriented education is placed by the corporate heads who pursue their own personal goals. There is a constant talks about new industry oriented education and training programs, intended to bring new and young blood to the design bureaus and factories, while the salaries for workers and engineers are uncompetitive, and the most capable people have no reason to work there. The management is taking care of itself, but cannot produce or design anything except for empty talks and grandiose projects which seem more like pipe dreams. There is no personal or ministerial responsibility for the upper echelons, unless they go so far outside the law, that their actions are too difficult to ignore. They have no stimulus to do what they are suppose to do, but only to serve their masters at the higher levels of economic-political hierarchy. And after they took care of their masters, they take care of themselves. And nothing left for the people who actually design and produce the products.

Talented people with a taste for money or successful carrier are fleeing to other countries or private companies. But the government much rather to flush tax-payers money on the state corporations their control, than to support private companies, which actually can make adequate products.

Corruption and incompetence is the result of the failed state management of the Russian industry. Not all — some companies are actually producing highly competitive products. For example, Almaz-Antey is one (if not the) biggest exporter of Russian military hardware. Its air-defense weapons are objectively of a very high quality, many even consider them the best in the world. There are also good anti-ship, cruise and ballistic missiles being designed and produced in Russia. Rosatom builds its nuclear power stations around the globe. But this seems like an exception rather than the general state of affairs — the most of other companies are struggling at best, despite (or maybe because of) the heavy governmental financial support they relay upon.

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