Crossair flight 3597

Article

November 30, 2021

The Crossair flight 3597 (CRX 3597) was a scheduled passenger flight from Berlin-Tegel to Zurich. The aircraft of the type Avro RJ100 with the aircraft registration HB-IXM crashed on November 24, 2001 about five kilometers before reaching runway 28 after touching trees near Bassersdorf, Canton of Zurich. According to the Swiss Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (BFU), the main cause of the accident is falling below the minimum descent altitude. Of the 33 inmates, 24 died, including the captain, the co-pilot, the singer Melanie Thornton and two of the three singers of the pop group Passion Fruit.

Aircraft

The aircraft, an Avro RJ100 with registration HB-IXM and production number E.3291, made its maiden flight on August 16, 1996 and was used by Crossair from August 22, 1996. The aircraft had completed 13,194 flight hours during 11,518 flights. The aircraft had a relatively low load factor on the day of flight CRX 3597 with 28 passengers.

Crew

A total of two pilots (commander and co-pilot) and three flight attendants were on board on flight CRX 3597. The co-pilot had sufficient rest time before the flight. The commander, Hans Lutz, was a Swiss citizen (born in 1944) and assigned to this flight as a flying pilot (PF). The flying and school career of the commander showed considerable deficits overall. He did not finish the district school (preparatory school for grammar school in the canton of Aargau) and began training as a locksmith. At the age of 17 he failed the entrance exam for the pre-flight training of the Swiss Air Force. Further applications for admission were rejected because of a lack of academic performance. During his professional training and activity, he then undertook private training as a glider instructor and as a private pilot for single-engine machines. In 1967 he acquired a commercial pilot's license. After that he also became a flight instructor and aerobatic pilot. His training in instrument flight began in 1966, and approval could only be granted in 1969 because practical and theoretical examinations were failed several times. Experts criticized the insufficient overview and incorrect use of the navigation systems. The exam grade was average. His further activity was on-demand flying on Cessnas and flight instructor, especially for instrument flight. "The periodic checks in instrument flight between 1969 and 1979 were generally passed with the grade average." Experts occasionally criticized the fact that checklists were not applied consistently, procedures were not adhered to and the navigation devices were not used appropriately. These findings also concerned the work as a flight instructor. On January 28, 1979, the captain applied to Crossair as a pilot. There he was retrained on the Fairchild Metroliner and then on the Saab 340, both fan guns. From June 1979 he was a part-time and then a full-time pilot at Crossair until May 31, 1982. At Crossair, at the end of his contract, he had an excellent reputation and was deputy chief pilot. He then had freelance contracts with Crossair from June 1, 1982 to May 31, 1991, but also worked for other companies. From autumn 1982 he worked as a flight instructor at the Horizon Swiss Flight Academy flight school. In 1983/1984 he was to be retrained on the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jet aircraft - it is not clear whether with Crossair or another airline. He did not pass this retraining despite repeated retraining, and gaps in the overview and coordination were found. Then he was trained back on the Saab 340. From 1991 to 1993 he had a part-time contract with Crossair, from 1994 he was full-time with Crossair. He still practiced his job as F

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