The crash of Flydubai flight FZ981 Saturday was inevitable as the pilot was “worked to death” by the airliner, a former Flydubai captain told RT News. All 62 people on board were killed after the plane went down in southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
The former pilot reportedly said that Flydubai’s top management was aware that pilots were being overworked as several complaints were made to the authorities. As the new report emerged about Flydubai's crew being overworked, Russian investigators said Monday that they had been able to retrieve data from a damaged cockpit voice recorder recovered from the scene of a plane crash.
“When I was still at the company, one of the last things I told management is that there would be an accident because of pilot fatigue,” the ex-pilot told RT News on condition of anonymity. He also reportedly provided documents showing pilots, junior pilots in particular, being assigned multiple flight shifts in a row. He added that crew often did not get enough time for sleep.
“Everybody at the company has these dangerous shifts from day flight to night flight, and then back to a day flight, and then back to a night flight, and it has definitely been a big issue for a long time,” the ex-pilot reportedly said, adding that the sleep deprivation could be a reason for Flight FZ981 crash.
“The way that [Flydubai] … builds the schedules does not account for circadian rhythm … they do not allow pilots to get the right amount of rest, or the proper rest before a flight, and that is exactly what both of these pilots were, the situation that they were in, for sure,” the pilot said.
RT news reported, citing the flight log of the co-captain of flight FZ981, that Alejandro Cruz Alava had worked for 11 days with only one day off prior to the crash.
“[Alava] was working eleven days in a row with the exception of one day off, which was Tuesday March 15th,” the former pilot reportedly said. “There’s is no doubt he was fatigued and exhausted for this flight ... that definitely was a contributing factor, no matter how [Flydubai] may try to deny it.”
A source close to the captain of the flight told RT News that Aristos Socratous had reportedly filed paperwork containing his resignation because of the hectic schedule, and only had a few weeks left to fly.
The Boeing 737-800 crashed while on its second attempt to land in strong wind and rain conditions. Russian officials said they would examine several scenarios, including pilot error, equipment malfunctions and weather conditions.