Flight radar data released in the wake of the flight 9268 crash indicated the Airbus A321 climbing to 33,500 feet at a speed of over 465 miles per hour (mph) before making a sharp descent of 5,000 feet at 71 mph. The descent to some 26,000 feet occurred in 26 seconds.
Ditchey, a consultant for major airlines who specializes in aviation and airline accident investigation, claimed the manual control is a "difficult task" requiring expensive training and practice.
"Therefore very few pilots have the experience and skill to fly the aircraft without the benefit of the electronic systems. It is even more difficult to do when the aircraft is at 30,000 feet altitude," he stressed.
The death of all 224 people aboard flight 7K9268, en route from the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh to St. Petersburg on October 31, is the largest civil aviation tragedy in Russian and Soviet history.