September 7, 2011 Yak-Service Yakovlev Yak-42 took from Tunoshna Airport, in western Russia near the city of Yaroslavo, in route to nearby country of Belarus. Shortly after taking off approximately at 4pm local time, the medium-range aircraft collided with an airport antenna and crashed killing 43 of the 45 passengers onboard.
The Yak-Service aircraft was carrying the players and coaching staff of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl professional ice hockey team. At the time of the crash, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl was one of the top ice hockey teams in Russia. The hockey team was on its way to Minsk, Belarus, to start the 2011–12 season. All players from the main roster and four from the youth team were on board the aircraft at the time of the crash. Because of the tragedy, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl chose to cancel their participation in the 2011–12 KHL season.
Weather conditions at Tunoshna Airport were described as clear skies, with a visibility of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers), a wind from 360 degrees at 6.8 mph (11 kilometers per hour), and the temperature was 17.8 degrees Celsius. Aircraft tail number RA-42434 entered Runway 05/23. The taxiway is 980 feet (5,300 meters) long from end to end. Runway 05/23 is 9,800 feet (3,000 meters) long, leaving 8,900 feet (2,700 meters) for take-off. After being cleared for take-off the aircraft started down the runway at normal thrust. After about six seconds the engines were up take-off thrust. The aircraft accelerated to a maximum speed of 140 mph (230 kilometers) but did not increase in speed despite the increase in engine output and failed to lift off from the runway. The aircraft ran off the end of the runway for a distance of 1,300 feet (400 meters) before it lifted off from the ground. The aircraft did not reach a flying altitude, it only climbed to an estimated 20 feet (6 meters) off the ground. The plane then struck an airport beacon tower located about 1,480 feet (450 meters) from the end of the runway. After striking the tower, the plane deflected to the left and crashed on the Tunoshna riverbank. The aircraft lost its tail assembly on impact, while the front part of the aircraft separated into several pieces. At the impact site, the tail section of the aircraft remained in the water, while the pieces of the fuselage were burning on dry land. The location of the wreckage was approximately 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) from the end of the runway. The flaps and slats were in takeoff position, spoilers retracted, and the stabilizer set in a 10-degree position. The elevator controls were still connected.
Aircraft type Yakovlev Yak-42D was delivered to Orel Air Enterprise in 1993. After operating with Bykovo Avia, it went on to operate in the Aero Rent fleet, and was later operated by Yak-Service, which was the operator of the plane when it crashed. The aircraft had a certificate of airworthiness valid until 1 October 2011. According to the head of analytics at AviaPort, Oleg Panteleyev, the Yak-42 was designed to have a 36-year service life. Based on the number of takeoffs and landings, and number of hours flown, the aircraft still had 60% of its service life remaining. Panteleyev stated that in civil aviation there is no such thing as an "old aircraft". An aircraft’s airworthiness determines whether the aircraft is safe to operate. Deputy Transport Minister Valery Okulov stated that one of the three engines on the plane had been replaced a month prior to the crash. Also the aircraft was due to be taken out of service at the end of 2011 for a scheduled major overhaul. In 2009 the European Commission investigated Yak-Service following airworthiness and air safety concerns. Russian authorities imposed restrictions on the carrier, and made Yak-Service subject to ramp inspections to international standards. During ramp inspections pilots should be prepared to show current certificates and documents for themselves and...