Serious incident Airbus A340-313X A6-ERN, Friday 9 April 2004
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Date:Friday 9 April 2004
Type:Silhouette image of generic A343 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Airbus A340-313X
Registration: A6-ERN
MSN: 166
Year of manufacture:1997
Engine model:CFMI CFM56-5C4
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 274
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Category:Serious incident
Location:Johannesburg International Airport (JNB) -   South Africa
Phase: Take off
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Johannesburg International Airport (JNB/FAJS)
Destination airport:Dubai Airport (DXB/OMDB)
Investigating agency: CAA S.A.
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
An Airbus A340-313X passenger plane sustained damage in a takeoff incident at Johannesburg International Airport (JNB), South Africa. There were 260 passengers and 14 crew members on board.

The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Johannesburg International Airport to Dubai Airport. The captain was the pilot flying and it was his first take-off in the actual type of aircraft.
Both pilots had completed the Cross Crew Qualifications training, which qualified them to take part in Mixed Fleet Flying.
The captain received a 'tip' during recent recurrent training sessions to move the Side Stick Order Indicator to the 9°position on the Primary Flight Display during rotation for take-off to attain the prescribed 2/3 backward side stick movement needed to rotate the aircraft for take-off. During the take-off he did not only move the side stick backwards to obtain this position, but also attempted to maintain it at that position. This caused the aircraft to pitch down again and not to transit to flight in the planned distance. It was only when the aircraft reached the end of the runway and the tyres impacted with the runway-end lights that sufficient side stick backward input was given and full thrust was selected that the aircraft transitioned to flight.
Several main wheel tyres and the flap drive system were damaged by tyre debris. The aircraft had to dump fuel and returned for a landing.
The aircraft was correctly maintained and it was the return leg of its first revenue flight in the service of the operator.
As far as it could be determined, the aircraft performed in accordance with the published take-off performance data.

Probable Cause
During the take-off roll the captain applied an improper rotation technique by referencing the Side Stick Order Indicator to the go position on the Primary Flight Display. This caused the aircraft to de-rotate and not to lift-off as expected. When the aircraft over-ran the end of the runway with the associated noise, the aircraft was rotated further and became airborne with the application of Take-Off/Go-Around thrust.

The training and mindset of the pilots could be considered as a significant contributory factor to this incident. They were "programmed' by tailstrike avoidance information, aircraft difference information and certain expectances to perform the way they did.

A further contributing factor to the cause of this incident could be considered as the differences in take-off performance of the different Airbus aircraft of the operator's fleet.
A further contributing factor to the cause of this incident was that this was both flight crew members
second flight in the actual aircraft of this variant of the Airbus A340 (Captain's first flight as pilot flying).

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAA S.A.
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 8 months
Download report: Final report



Revision history:

26-Jul-2012 07:21 harro Added
10-Jan-2022 15:39 xrecovery9 Updated [Operator, Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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