Russian Lawyer To Challenge Aviation Authority

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Following a string of Russian aviation accidents, a Russian lawyer says he will ask Russia's Supreme Court to curb the authority of the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), The Associated Press reported Wednesday. Formed in 1992, the IAC is a post Soviet Union era creation. According to lawyer Igor Trunov, it embodies a conflict of interest that prevents it from operating objectively in the interest of safety. Trunov would like to see the roles of regulatory oversight and investigation currently held by the IAC separated. He also argues that the IAC failed to determine a true cause in its investigation of the September crash that killed an entire Russian ice hockey team.

"The monopoly on power and on investigations has prevented the IAC from naming officials responsible and led it to blame everything on the dead," Trunov told reporters. "It leads to impunity." Trunov's effort is shedding light on alternate theories and factors that may have contributed to the hockey-team crash. According to Yevgeny Sarmatov, husband to a flight attendant killed in that accident,  the plane's crew often had to purchase fuel for cash prior to a flight. Trunov alleges that puts the quality of the jet's fuel in question. A former Russian crash investigator has said that the IAC's description of the crash sequence didn't seem realistic. The IAC found that the flight's crew had inadvertently applied braking during the takeoff roll. Trunov says the government should open a new investigation. He has been backed by several experienced pilots who believe the IAC's determination leaves important questions unanswered.