MOSCOW — The pilots of a Boeing 737 that plunged into the ground at Kazan airport lost speed in a steep climb then overcompensated and sent the plane into a near-vertical dive, according to a preliminary report released Tuesday by Russian aviation specialists. All 50 people aboard were killed.
The Moscow-based Interstate Aviation Committee, which oversees civil flights in much of the former Soviet Union, said the plane’s engines and other systems were working fine until the moment the plane crashed Sunday night.
The Tatarstan Airlines plane was flying from Moscow to the central city of Kazan, 450 miles to the east. The Russian aviation specialists said the plane’s two pilots had failed to make a proper landing approach on their first attempt, so they began a second try. The report did not specify why the pilots aborted the first landing.
To get the plane ready for the second try, the pilots put the plane’s engines on maximum power and raised the plane’s nose up to an angle of about 25 degrees, the report said. That caused a loss of speed.
The normal procedure during an aborted landing is to apply near-maximum power and assume about a 5-to-7 degree nose-up attitude, said Kevin Hiatt, a former Delta Air Lines chief pilot and president of the Flight Safety Foundation, a US-based nonprofit.
‘‘Twenty-five degrees nose-up is excessive. There’s no question about that whatsoever,’’ Hiatt said.
At an altitude of about 2,200 feet, the crew tried to gain speed and avert a stall by putting the nose of the plane down. The report said the plane then went into a dive of about 75 degrees and smashed into the ground.