AN-124’s back flying- self-certification?

AN-124 display
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AN-124-100 crashed with significant airworthiness failure

Antonov issued a statement that the Rusan is ready to fly

Ukrainian CAA no visible action-SELF-CERTIFICATION???

Not NEWSWORTHY? 

An aircraft, critical for the global air freight market, crashes and it is evident that the cargo plane has one, or maybe more major airworthiness problem(s)— clearly one of the AN-124-100’s engines failed soon after departure.  Nothing is heard from the national news media, questioning the type certificate or the process by which it was deemed airworthy.

AN-124 engine

No Civil Aviation Authority issued an order prohibiting this huge aircraft to fly in their airspace or over their EASA worries about Rosaviatsiyacitizens. EASA has raised questions about the competence of one of the CAAs involved, Federal Air Transportation Agency (Rosaviatsiya) [FATA],  and that European Union safety organization has raised no flags. The Russians operate these freighter and thus have some safety responsibility for these aircraft.

But there is more complexity to the airworthiness of the AN-124; there is debate whether the Ukraine or Russia has control over the airworthiness of this plane. In fact,  Ukrainian prosecutor filed a criminal action against Federal Air Transport Agency of Russia (Rosaviatsiya),Volga-Dnepr Group of Companies and its subsidiary German MRO company AMTES. The Russian defendants are being charged with criminal offense under Part 2, Article 364 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

The prosecutor asserted abuse of official position and forgery of documents for the prolongation of the airworthiness of An-124-100 aircraft Ruslan. It is  argued that only Antonov has the necessary experience in maintaining the airworthiness of an aircraft of this class in conditions of continuous intensive operation. That is only the Ukrainian company has the data ad manuals!

Ukraine and Russia TC

The An-124-100 commercial version was  first granted a civil type certificate in December 1992. It appears that the issuing authority was the State Aviation Service of the Ukraine, (SSAU)which was at most a year out of the USSR’s control.  the AN-124 received on June 19, 2007 its supplemental type certificate from  D.S.Kiva, General Designer, V.V.Bespalov, Chairman of the AR IAC.

SSAU symbol

In 2017, Antonov state aircraft manufacturing enterprise has confirmed reports by the Kommersant newspaper that it is negotiating with Volga-Dnepr Airlines (Russia) on maintaining the airworthiness of the airline’s An-124-100 Ruslan aircraft. This statement was made by Antonov and not SSAU.

According to Antonov, although Ukraine and Russia have terminated cooperation in the aircraft manufacturing industry, Antonov has international obligations as the holder of the type certificate for this aircraft.

Failure by Antonov and Ukraine to fulfill their obligations under a number of international rules and domestic legislation will lead to imposition of the relevant international sanctions, particularly a ban on performance of international flights by aircraft of the ‘An’ brand, and lead to transfer of the developer’s functions to other bodies authorized by the aircraft’s country of operation. Failure to fulfill its direct obligation to support civil aircraft of the ‘An’ brand will result in the developer losing its licenses, air transport permits, and markets,” Antonov said.

In particular, in accordance with international standards and constituent materials on maintenance of aircraft airworthiness that are outlined in Annex 8 of the ICAO Convention on International Civil Aviation (Airworthiness of Aircraft) and ICAO Doc 9760 (Airworthiness Manual), the developer is responsible for maintaining the design integrity of aircraft.

These are comments from the private company and not the SSAU. The IATA obligations cited are directed at member nations not companies.SSAU organization chart

This obfuscation of roles and authority is BIZARRE at best and may explain the below announcement by Antonov that its AN-124-100 is NOW safe to fly. International convention requires that the determination that an aircraft which has shown to be unsafe is now airworthy should be made by the CAA!!! No such public pronouncement has been made by either SSUA or even by the Russian CAA, Rosaviatsia, which has jurisdiction over one of the aircraft’s operators.

AN-124 cockpit

Given the press’ recent attraction to airworthiness issues, the coverage devoted to the B737 Max 8 and the evident expertise of those writing on this subject, the media has not highlighted this obvious safety concern.

Here the favored headline, Self-Certification, would be actually correct or so it appears.

 

AN-124 crash pictures


 

Volga-Dnepr returns first An-124 from safety suspension

Several other super-freighters still getting checked

crashed AN-124

Eric Kulisch, Air Cargo Editor Tuesday, December 29, 2020Airways logo

Outsized air cargo specialist Volga-Dnepr Airlines said Tuesday it has restarted commercial flights with one of its An-124 heavy loaders one month after grounding the fleet as a safety precaution in response to an accident.

The Moscow-based carrier pulled its eight An-124-100s from service following an engine failure that forced one aircraft to make an emergency landing in Russia. The suspension put a big dent in the supply of ultra-large aircraft for project cargo, such as oil and gas drilling equipment, turbines, generators, machinery and trucks…

Volga Dnepr logo

Volga-Dnepr, which also operates five Ilyushin IL-76TD freighters, said the first An-124 was cleared for operation after completing a series of technical checks and service directives from aircraft maker Antonov. It said the rest of the fleet will gradually return to service in phases as service directives are met, but has not issued any results from its investigation into the cause of the recent accident. Antonov logo

Longer Antonov statement

Volga-Dnepr has taken a thorough approach towards re-launch of An-124 commercial operations to secure the utmost flight safety in line with existing industry and internal standards,” the company said in a statement, adding that customers are being individually informed of the situation and aircraft availability….

an-124 close



 

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