Russian investigators launched an investigation on November 7 after social media posts made by an unnamed woman who is said to have bragged about flying a plane without any training after the pilot in charge had given her the controls to fly the aircraft. In a video posted on the social media platform, Instagram, showed the woman holding the controls of the aircraft as the individual filming the video gave her instructions. The woman in the video thanked the people who allowed her to do that and called it a very cool experience. However, the account went private and the video was taken down.
According to reports, the officials handling the probe in the Siberian region of Yakutia stated that the woman had taken over the controls of a regular flight by the regional IrAero company that also had other people on board. In a statement issued by the investigators, that one of the crew members of the Antonov An-24 plane allowed the woman to enter the cockpit without any official permit or a license to fly planes and gave her the controls. They further added that there were passengers on board the plane that has the capacity to carry up to 52 people plus the crew.
The officials also stated that the plane was on a route between Yakutia's main city, Yakutsk and the isolated Sakkyryr airport in the northern part of Yakutia. The IrAero airline has 25 flight routes around Siberia as well routes to Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and the Black Sea destinations.
Russia has long fought a deteriorating aviation safety record and still witnesses plane crashes that result in a lot of human casualties. A plane crash in the year 1994 killed a total of 75 people who were flying from the Capital city of Moscow after the pilot invited his children into the cockpit on an Aeroflot plane and gave his seat to his son.
Chinese airline Air Guilin recently suspended one of its pilots and asked for his flight license to be cancelled after he was found guilty of allowing a woman passenger into the cockpit. According to reports, the incident took place in the month of January but came to the notice of the authorities after the passenger posted a picture of herself in the plane's cockpit on a Chinese social media website. The picture showed the passenger sitting on one pilot seat with an open tray table in front of her with a few cups on it.
(With inputs from agencies)