A Fokker 100 from the Bek Air company in Kazakhstan crashed on Friday morning while taking off from the southern city of Almaty. The aircraft, registration UP-F1007, has been flying since 1996 and was one of ten that the company had in its fleet. Images of the crash site show that the Dutch jet had its fuselage broken as it crashed, still within the perimeter of the runway and then collided with a two-story building next to the airport.
Information from the Flight Radar website reveals that the Fokker 100 reached just over 150 kts before leaving the ground, when the speed dropped sharply. According to reports from survivors, the jet would have tilted right and fallen at an angle. Of the 98 people on board, five of them crew members, 12 had died, according to Kazakh authorities.
“Before crashing, the aircraft touched the runway with its tail twice, the gear was retracted,” Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyar told reporters, who completed: “A commission will establish whether this was a pilot error or technical issues. The runway was in an ideal condition.”
Almaty Airport has two parallel runways about 4,500 meter long, which is far more than necessary for a jet like the Fokker 100 to take off even with its maximum takeoff weight.
The crash of the Bek Air jet immediately recalled another crash with a Fokker 100 in October 1996. Although it is hasty to see any relationship between the two crashes anytime soon, some features are similar. The Brazilian airline TAM (now LATAM) jet had problems with its right thrust reversal that opened shortly after the plane left the runway.
The failure, unexpected by the crew, eventually led the pilots to try to accelerate the aircraft which eventually amplified the effects of the reverser in flight. The jet, registration PT-MRK, crashed into houses hundreds of meters after the runway at an angle similar to the Bek Air plane.
Most likely, however, it is just a coincidence. The issue with the reverser has been fixed for over two decades and since then there have been no such cases.
The crashed Fokker 100, serial number 11496, was one of the last to be manufactured by the Dutch company, which closed down in 1997 with 283 regional jet units delivered. Most of these still flying airplanes are currently in countries like Iran and Australia.