Pilot Error in Sukhoi Superjet 100 Crash in Indonesia?

This is a photograph of a prototype of the Sukhoi Superjet 100, similar to the one which crashed in Indonesia. Photograph copyright by Lystseva Marina and used with permission as posted on Wikipedia.

Within the past week, a Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft disappeared from air traffic control radar during a 30-minute test flight in Indonesia designed to promote the aircraft as a regional jet and to bolster the confidence that the Russian-built aircraft is significantly safer today than its predecessors — but the aircraft wound up plowing into the side of a mountain, reportedly killing all 45 people on board.
Bodies of the 37 passengers and eight crew members are still being identified at this time in the tedious and difficult recovery mission.
Based on the notorious safety record of past aircraft built in Russia — such as this fatal crash reported by The Gate last September — the initial assumption by many was that the cause of the incident in Indonesia was due to mechanical failure. However, reports are emerging that the crash may have been caused by pilot error — specifically, with the pilot allegedly attempting to perform a rare and risky maneuver at a low altitude with high mountains in order to show off to potential customers the capabilities of the aircraft.
The pilot in question — Alexander Yablontzev, who was 57 years of age — was reportedly quite experienced. Could an excess of confidence combined with an exuberant atmosphere aboard the aircraft and inclement weather have contributed to a swagger and reckless bravado by the pilot which ultimately led to the tragedy?
As the investigation continues and more questions are answered, some would surmise that that revival of the aviation industry in Russia could very well be in jeopardy — and FlyerTalk members are currently discussing their opinions on this sad news

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