Pocket GPS used by crew of passenger jet for emergency landing

Investigators have said the crew of the Tu-204 plane that made a belly landing in the woods on its approach to a Moscow airport earlier this week used a pocket GPS instead of the primary air navigation system, a leading Russian business daily said on Thursday.

The plane, with only eight crew members onboard, made an emergency landing near Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport on Monday, while returning from Egypt. The plane carries around 200 passengers.

The Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), which is investigating the incident, was quoted by Kommersant as saying in a statement that Domodedovo International Airport was equipped with a special navigation system which allows a pilot to land a plane even in the most difficult weather conditions.

However, an IAC official told the paper that data from the plane’s flight recorder showed the crew switched off the system while landing the aircraft and used a pocket GPS instead. Investigators are yet to reveal what forced the crew to take such a decision. So far, the onboard navigation system failure is believed to be the possible explanation for the plane crash.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20100325/158306509.html