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» Economics » Flight accident » Topics begins with H » Helios Airways flight 522

Page modified: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 15:33:19

Helios Airways flight 522 (HCY 522) was a passenger flight of the Helios Airways on 14 August 2005 of Larnaka over Athens to Prague. Assigned Boeing 737-31S clock smashed local time at a hill close of the city Greece, about 10 km far away from the Athener airport around 12:04.


The airplane started around 9:07 clock of local time in Larnaka and was on the way to Prague over Athens. The pilot announced already at the beginning of the flight a problem with the air conditioning system. Before Athens radio communication broke off. The pilots would not send "mayday".

On arrangement of the Greek army two F-16 fighter planes were sent by Nea Anchialos from to assistance. According to statement of the fighter plane pilots the copilot was to be seen unconscious, the pilot was not in the cockpit in the cockpit. In addition the oxygen masks in the airplane cab hung of the cover. The fighter plane pilots saw two persons in the cockpit, who made the impression to want later to bring the airplane briefly before the crash under control. According to last reports it is to have concerned here a Steward and a hostess.

Boeing flew longer time in a loop over the and Athens by autopilot. In the autopilot waiting loops before the airport of Athens were programmed. According to reports of the fighter plane pilots the autopilot was switched off however obviously 23 minutes before the crash. In the consequence the airplane of a height of 10,000 meters sank later first on 3000 meters and on 800 meters and toward mainland and airport was steered. It smashed around 12:04 clock local time probably for lack of kerosene at a mountain close of the city (Greece), about 10 km far away from the Athener airport.

Airplane data

  • Airline: Helios Airways
  • Flugzeugyp: civilian airliner
  • Airplane model: Boeing 737-31S
  • Erstzulassung of the model: 1984
  • Year of construction of the airplane: 1997
  • Characteristic: 5B-DBY
  • Passengers: 121
  • Engines: 2 CFM56-3C1
  • Max. Mach speed: 0,78


All times in EEST (UTC + 3h)

  • 09:00 planned time of departure
  • 09:07 the airplane takes off from the airport Larnaka.
  • 09:11 TO 522 announces "air Conditioning" - problems
  • 09:13 of the flight writers registers an alarm.
  • 09:16 last contact with the air traffic control Nicosia; Flight altitude of about 6,700 m (22,000 ft), release for 34.000 ft (10,300 m)
  • 09:24 cruising altitude of 34.000 ft (10,300 m) is reached
  • 09:37 the airplane reaches Athens FIR, makes however no connection.
  • 10:07 the airplane does not answer to the call of the Athener air traffic control (ATC).
  • 10:20 ATC Larnaka informs ATC Athens that a problem with the air conditioning system (original: "problem was announced before with air conditioning").
  • 10:30 the Hellenic armed forces (HAF) are alarmed due to a possible plane hi-jacking
  • 10:45 planned arrival time in Athens
  • 10:55 the general staff boss of the Hellenic armed forces, admiral Panagiotis Chinofotis, assigns military aircraft, to manufacture a visual contact with the airplane.
  • 11:05 of two F-16 combat aircraft start from Nea Anchialos.
  • 11:20 combat pilots reach the passenger airline over the island Kea.
  • 11:25 the combat pilots do not see signs of terrorism lying to the copilots with put on oxygen mask rainless on the control desks of the airplane -.
  • 11:41 the combat pilots recognize humans in the cockpit, who apparent try to attain airplane control again.
  • 11:50 the left engine hears to work on, probably because of lack of fuel. Beginning of descending flight, probably introduced by Steward or another crew member or a passenger.
  • 12:00 the right engine hears to work on (height of the airplane still 7,000 ft).
  • 12:04 the airplane falls close Grammatiko.
  • 13:10 planned time of arrival in Prague


On board were 115 passengers and 6 crew members. There were no survivors.

With the pilot it originally acted around one out of Thuringia coming German out of Berlin - a former interflight pilot, the copilot originated from Cyprus. The passengers originated after information of the zyprischen government from Cyprus and Griechenland.Den crash survived a five-year boy. This deceased however soon thereafter and unnoticed by the rescue forces at a smoke poisoning.

Alleged short report

In first medium reports a Greek was quoted. This gave in calls with different television stations to be a related passenger. It reported that it legend live a SMS with the contents of "my cousin, I probably. We erfrieren." received. Investigations of the police resulted in later however that it concerned here a wrong statement. Thereupon the man was condemned on 17 August 2005 information wrong because of spreading to a six month's detention on probation.


The exact crash cause is still unclear. First assumptions, can an act of terror concern, of the Greek government one day after the flight accident one contradicted.

The airplane was year of construction 1997 and was before with the German BA in enterprise. With the airplane concerned it is to have come already several times to problems with the cab pressure and the air conditioning system, which however as during a flight to Prague of another Boeing 737-31S ran off in March 2005 mild. Passengers and crew complained in this case only about headache and nausea.

The evaluation of the flight writer resulted in that an acute oxygen deficiency had arisen obviously already briefly during flight 522 after the start. Over the passenger seats the oxygen masks from the housings and in the cockpit fell continuous acoustic warning signals the oxygen deficiency indicated. It is unclear why the pilots could not use their oxygen cylinders. The copilot became and the German flight captain was not in the cockpit.

After last press reports is a Greek Steward, who possessed a pilot license for small airplanes and his friend, a hostess, in the cockpit to have penetrated and strive to bring the airplane under control. The investigations of the forensic pathologists resulted in that in the cockpit found Blutspritzer agrees with the DNA of the Stewards.

The Autopsie of 118 victims disproved the acceptance that the passengers erfroren already in air suffocated or due to a sudden decrease of pressure were. The passengers died only in the case of the impact of the airplane on the soil.

The corpse of the German pilot could not be identified so far. The investigators expect from the investigation of its corpse the answer to the question, why it and its copilot already briefly after the start lost consciousness.

With the investigation of a representative forensic pathologists explained: "Fabric investigations with seven corpses, under it those copilots, resulted in: no carbon monoxide poisoning". This seems the assumption, the pilots poisonous Carbon monoxide would have inhaled to disprove.

Due to the still unsettled crash cause and the many not applicable assumptions over background the misfortune speak experts meanwhile of one of the "strangest and strangest accidents of aviation history".

Until October 2005 the made determinations to flight 522 resulted in that the machine printed maintenance with one at the night before the misfortune flight the cab had gone through, since a pilot noises had announced in the rear part during the flight before the misfortune flight. That printed simulated extreme conditions, remained however without findings. For this test the pressure balance system was switched from the technicians to manual. The investigators stated that a pressure control valve as well as an air passage valve were not correctly set (the switch in the Overhead panel in the cockpit probably stood on manual, although it would have had to stand during the flight on car), the pressure balance system therefore not to work could.

The investigators continue to assume confusion with the pilots due to a warning signal, which announces the correctly not set starting configuration of the airplane at the soil. The same warning signal is to warn in air of the fact that the cab pressure is not correct. Probably the pilots assigned the warning signal sounding in air not immediately to the missing cab pressure. In addition a warning of cooling lacking of the computer system, sounding at the same time, came on board. thereupon the pilots tried to repair the cooling circuit, ignored or did not take due to the oxygen deficiency were not conscious perhaps already that the airplane continued to rise and achieved for humans dangerous flight altitudes. The forensic pathologist determined substantial calcifying of the heart wreath/ring containers with both pilots, so that is conceivable that the pilots of the enormous stress load had not physically any longer grown due to the arisen problems, evtentuell even angina an Pectoris accumulation with pressure pain within the chest range suffered. They probably lost consciousness before a correct estimate of the arisen problems would have been possible (source:

The interior air of the cab must, then Unfallermittler assume, by a leakage at one of the rear passenger doors escaped to be. Already in December 2004 the misfortune machine on a flight from Warsaw suffered a pressure loss, which ran mild to Larnaka. Three hurt had because of oxygen poverty (hypoxia) in the hospital to be treated.

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