Russian pilot probed after handing controls to passenger

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Nov 07 2019 11:06 PM

Russian investigators on Thursday launched a probe following social media posts by a woman who boasted about flying a passenger plane without training after the pilot gave her the controls.

Investigators in the Siberian region of Yakutia said the 33-year-old woman took over during a scheduled flight by the regional IrAero company that had other passengers on board.

"One of the crew members illegally let a young woman into the cockpit who had no permit or certificate to fly planes ... and gave her the controls of the Antonov An-24 plane," the investigators said in a statement.

"There were passengers on board" the plane which can carry up to 52 plus the crew, investigators added.

The probe would focus on the provision of services that endangered customers' lives, the statement said.

Russian media had earlier picked up posts on Instagram published by a user called @madam_dupon.

One was a video of a young woman in a pink shirt gripping the controls of a plane mid-flight as a man who filmed the scene gave instructions.

"That was very cool. Thank you," read the video caption according to screengrabs posted on Russian websites. The Instagram account was switched to private mode on Thursday.

IrAero has 25 planes flying routes around Siberia as well as to Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Black Sea destinations.

The plane in the video was flying between Yakutia's main city Yakutsk and the remote Sakkyryr airport in northern Yakutia, investigators said.

Russia has battled a dismal aviation safety record for decades and still experiences accidents with heavy death tolls.

A 1994 crash that killed 75 people en route from Moscow to Hong Kong occurred after a pilot on an Aeroflot plane invited his children into the cockpit and gave his seat to his son.