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Emirates Tailstrike Wrecks A340


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From AVwebFlash...

"Tailstrike" May Write Off A340

An Australian newspaper is reporting that a $180 million Emirates Airbus A340-500 may be beyond repair and the 225 people who were on it last March 20 are lucky to be alive after a nasty scrape at Melbourne International Airport. New details have emerged about the mishap, which has been declared an accident by the Australia Transport Safety Bureau and resulted in the resignations of both pilots aboard. According to the Sunday Herald Sun the aircraft was bound for Dubai when it failed to get airborne before the end of Melbourne's 12,000-foot runway. The paper reported the flight crew yanked the big airliner off the overrun, scraping the tail in the process. It appears, from the description, the 340 flew in ground effect about two feet off the ground for about 400 yards, wiping out three approach strobes, which are about 30 inches high, and the localizer antenna, before barely clearing the eight-foot perimeter fence.

The aircraft was able to climb out and the crew was going to dump fuel but according to The Aviation Herald the crew elected to head immediately back for a landing after smoke filled the cabin. The landing gear was reportedly damaged by the heavily loaded aircraft on landing. Other reports suggest the crew was able to dump fuel before returning. Pictures on the Aviation Herald Web site show damage extending at least 30 feet on the underside of the tail. The Herald Sun, citing unnamed sources, said serious structural damage also occurred and it may not be feasible to fix it. Emirates has not commented on the details of the mishap and the TSB's preliminary report is expected within a month. The TSB is reportedly looking into whether incorrect weight data was input into the flight computer, resulting in the computer's selecting an incorrect takeoff power setting.

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failed to get airborne before the end of Melbourne's 12,000-foot runway

Boy, he must have been heavy, as they say, an incorrect weight input may have been the cause? not my specialist subject :winka:

Cheers

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This puts me in mind of the Air Florida 737 that went in the river in Washington DC a few decades ago. In that case an iced up air sensor caused a falsely high indication of engine power (exhaust pressure ratio). During the entire event up until the first impact they could have flown out of it if they had pushed the throttles.

This sounds similar - engine power set too low. Being an Airbus, the comuter probably had control of the throttles and was doing what it thought was correct given the bad input data - GI-GO.

John

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Sounds like a miscommunication of information between man and machine...

Quite interestingly, at Torino yesterday the check-in staff weren't taking any note of the bags or inputting the weights into the computer... would the pilot have made an estimate of the hold luggage?

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I'm speculating a little here, Phil, but I'm guessing that, statistically speaking, the airlines can tell you within 10 or 20 lbs per head, how much the average passenger and his baggage weigh. The central limit theorem comes into play more heavily the more passengers there are. I'd be very surprised if they don't have a statistically derived and tested figure and just multiply that by the head count. For every 300 pounder with four checked bags, each the size of a small automobile, there will be a haggard and pale 110 pound mother with an infant and three toddlers in tow (please, God, don't let them sit near me). On average, things are pretty much - - - average.

Unless the flight is a charter for the best customers of the Lardasche Designer Jeans company, they're going to be close enough to their standard number that it doesn't matter.

John

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After your post, John, I did a little thinking on the matter and I would imagine there is a fairly standard normal distribution curve for the weight of bags, with a small standard deviation, so most of the bags weights would be within 5 or so kilos of each other, (Especially as a ski charter, where most bags are similar). Then I would imagine they take a weight of excess baggage, like skis and ski boots.

Finally, it was an A320 using two runways capable of handling 747s, in dry conditions...

On the other hand, maybe it was just the fact that they were late checking us in and were incompetent at handling their equipment!

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I never gave that any thought, Steve, but probably right. That whole airbus line is pretty automated and it's surprising anything had to be manually entered for the computer to determine take-off power settings.

John

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