What can Western businessmen learn from the Russian hockey team's plane crash? The obvious: Do not fly Russian-made airplanes. Seriously. On the afternoon of September 7, The Russian-made Yak-42 was carrying 45 people - eight crewmembers and 37 hockey players of Russia's most famous hockey club, "Lokomotiv." Trying to take off, the plane ran the entire length of the runway, traveled another 400 meters on its wheels through the post-runway gravel, rose up, crashed into a light post, hit the ground and burst into flames. Only one person survived the crash. The investigation of the accident so far filtered all the possible options of the crash to one reason: improper load and weight distribution.
Now, the plane is built to carry 120 passengers and luggage. Only 45 people and hockey sticks were onboard. The plane was built in the Nineties, has had all the requisite inspections, and the pilot and copilot had 6,900 and 13,000 hours of flight experience respectively. If an improper load of a suitcase can cause a plane to fall, maybe you need to think twice before boarding such an aircraft. Whatever, the real (or surreal) reasons of the crash are, the statistics work against the Russian airplane industry. There have been five major airplane crashes in Russia in 2011. They cost nearly 200 lives and all of the accidents involved Soviet- and Russian-made planes: Tu-134, Tu-154, An-148, An-24, and now Yak-42.
As usual, Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev have spoken tough, demanding new regulations, and promising to solve all the evils of the world. Do not be fooled; nothing will change. Putin and Medvedev have good intentions, but modern-day Russia does not have the system to implement them. In fact, the obvious result of their hands-on governing is the absence of any system. New military missiles don't fly, planes fall out of the sky, and people don't bother to call the police when something wrong happens. Don't participate in this!
There are plenty of reliable airlines in Russia, including Aeroflot that has daily flights from everywhere in Europe and the U.S. to everywhere in Russia and in between. Before booking your flight, just make sure you're going to fly on an aircraft made by Boeing or an Airbus. If a company switches an aircraft to one that's Russian-made, refuse to fly. Even if you end up losing the money, better to be safe than sorry (alive than dead).
Russia Blog extends its condolences to the victims' families and friends.