German expert blames air crash over Germany on Swiss air traffic control

A German expert considers the actions of the pilot of the Russian Tu-154 passenger jet that crashed over Germany on July 2 to have been correct and puts the blame for the disaster on Swiss air traffic control.

Ute Otterbein, a spokeswoman for the German flight safety service /DFS/, said in a RIA Novosti interview that a pilot must follow directives of an air traffic controller overseeing this or that aircraft.

According to Otterbein, signals from an automatic on-board air collision warning system are information that supports commands from the air controller, an additional means of safeguarding the flight.

Commenting on the current debate on the causes of the air disaster, Otterbein emphasised that now it is easy to argue in retrospect that the Russian pilot should have followed the signals of its warning system. As far as she knows, the spokesman emphasised, there is no uniform legislative rules for all airlines how to treat on-board system signals.

Earlier, Georg Fongern, a spokesman for the German Cockpit Pilots' Union, pointed to numerous mistakes of Swiss air traffic control and above all to the fact that the command that came from the ground conflicted with the signal from the Russian jet's warning system.

This, according to him, is evidence of inadequate personnel training at the Swiss Skyguide centre. At the same time Fongern believes that the final say belongs to the commander.

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