Add to Technorati Favorites expat Abu Dhabi Dispatches: A Bad Day at the Office

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Bad Day at the Office

While testing for an oil leak, Airbus Industries' engineers ran this A340-500, destined for delivery to Etihad Airways in a few days, up to takeoff power in a testing area. The parking brake was overcome by the thrust (no chocks) and the aircraft hurtled toward the blast fence with devastating results. The Airbus engineer at the controls released the parking brake when the aircraft started moving but inexplicably did not apply maximum braking pressure via the foot pedals.

You can see the skid marks from the nosewheel as the mechanic deflected it to the maximum 72 degree angle in an attempt to avoid the obstruction. Amazingly, none of the three occupants suffered serious injuries.

The number one and two engines were crushed on impact as seen in the photo (left wing) but the number three and four continued to run. The outboard number four engine was extingushed with water and foam but the number three engine ran for several hours until the fuel was exhausted.

I realize this old news in some circles, but this is the first photo I have seen from above. There is word going around that this accident was caused by Etihad personnel. Nothing is further from the truth. The person in charge and at the controls was a senior Airbus test engineer. Cockpit tapes reveal that it was the Etihad representative that alerted the Airbus guy that the plane was starting to move. An observer in the cockpit jumpseat yanked the power levers back to Idle Detent seconds before impact, too late.

If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going!

1 comment:

Captain Ahmed Hassan said...

I just came across your blog and like it so much
and I salute you for the last few words " If It Aint' Boeing I Ain't Going"