Air New Zealand Airbus A320 crash report – investigator explains

The interim report on the mysterious loss of the Air New Zealand A320 at Perpignan is out. It’s a highly informative and scrupulously objective document. Perhaps predictably it has nevertheless caused a degree of uproar in New Zealand (or so it seems from this distance) and is getting the usual ripping apart by the anti-Airbus crowd.

The problem is that the report is being interpreted in NZ, and elsewhere, as a finding of pilot error. It doesn’t in fact say that.

Additionally, France’s BEA investigation agency is being beaten up for taking too long over the report. Frankly that’s absurd. This is a remarkably full interim report based on complex data from recorders recovered from the sea. Really complex data – involving multiple changes in Airbus control laws which are not easily interpretable in retrospect.

Unusually French investigator Paul-Louis Arslanian has taken the commendable step of giving a formal interview to the New Zealand Herald to explain the context. You can listen here – and I encourage you to do so because his tone is important. But below is what he says in the interview. Note that the aircraft was being handled by two pilots from current operator XL Germany and the ANZ pilot is with them in the cockpit.

I’d suggest that Arslanian does not sound like a man who is being anything other than deeply professional and compassionate. We should all wish him well in his work.

Transcript of the interview below.

Asked about the ANZ pilot’s training for this type of flight test, Arslanian says: “The Air New Zealand pilot was prepared for this flight. He received specific training in the simulator.

“He was not in charge of the flight. Technically he was a passenger. In practice he was in the cockpit and he was discussing with the crew and and participated in the flight.

“We have to understand what was his role and what was his input to the flight.

“But this pilot as well as the two German pilots lost his life and we have to be very careful not to put any black image on him. Especially at the moment when we cannot tell with precision why everything happened.”

Asked why the low-speed test that led to the accident was conducted at such low altitude – and in fact actually on the extended approach, Arslanian says: “A number of checks were programmed to be performed on this flight. For some reason the flight was shortened and all the checks were not performed during the flight.

“A test check of low speed was supposed to be done during the flight and they decided, or to be more specific, they performed, it, during the approach, which is not only only low-altitude but also a part of the flight that is linked to specific procedures and heavy workload.”

Questioned about the speed of the investigation, Arslanian says: “I am not saying I am happy with it. I want this to be faster and and professional and effective. But this investigation is progressing and it is not one month of difference that is really making the difference – except for the people who are suffering and I really feel sorry for them and I want them to be relieved if possible in the quickest time possible.”

He concludes: “They reduce speed and they they let the plane reduce speed until the stall. We have to understand why. I don’t know how long it will take. We are working to make the time as short as possible.”

Arslanian promises that if the investigation is not completed in “a normal time” the BEA will issue further interim reports or statements.

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32 Responses to Air New Zealand Airbus A320 crash report – investigator explains

  1. Nick February 25, 2009 at 6:48 pm #

    What a stupid thing to do? That was a death wish doing that test at low altitude. At less than 100 knots, 3000 ft, you have no chance of recovery if stall.

  2. George March 1, 2009 at 1:43 pm #

    Yes Sir,

    too many cooks steering the soup – I guess – and no plan
    what to do, yes, no, yes, later, tomorrow and so on – WHY after a lease termination they have to check slow flight – who to hell put´s that on the schedule ? WHO ? The bloody FEDS
    or the New Zealand BUSH PEOPLE ?

    May they rest in peace….

  3. Barry March 3, 2009 at 8:49 pm #

    As a close friend of the Air NZ pilot killed and TRE on the A320 I just ask all you armchair experts who appear to know very little about the protection systems on the A320, to consider your uneducated statements prior to publication.
    This is in reference to the comments and not the article.

    I am certainly not condoning this test or the altitude that it was conducted.

    The major considerations here is that the A320 is a fly by wire protected aircraft. In normal law which the aircraft was in and expected to remain in by the pilots, the aircraft will not stall. Alpha floor protection will kick in. Not the case in this accident! The aircraft unexpectedly went into direct law because the landing gear was extended and then FAC 1 & 2 simultaneously failed because of sensor failure. When in direct law the protections are lost and the aircraft will stall.
    What has to be asked is why the sensors failed which then forced the aircraft into direct law with the loss of protection, this being totally unexpected by the pilots. If the pilots new there was a fault and new to expect alternate/Direct law the low speed test would not of been performed as there wouldn’t be anything to test because of the lack of protection in direct law, only the stall warning which wasn’t part of the check.

    Like all these accidents a chain of events has set the final outcome.

    In closing airbus designed low speed protection to prevent stalling of the aircraft. Low speed is normally in the takeoff and landing phases of flight when close to the ground, This is when one wants as little height loss and maximum controlability of the aircraft as possible. This is certainly not what happened in France.

  4. Myself March 9, 2009 at 5:22 pm #

    Hi there, i know very little about these things, although being a frequent flyer i am not a pilot myself. My dad is a pilot and is godfather to the son of the pilot who was controlling the plane. I’v known the Pilot for a little over 20 years, a responsible person, no hothead and certainly with loads of experience. I just feel the urge to say that he was enjoying a great life and all of his friends did respect him for the person that he is/ was. He certainly had no deathwish, and he was anything but stupid ! Please be a little more careful with your statements here, from what i understand and am being told, even though the slow flight was in a low altitude, there must have been problems with the plane itslef.
    Anyhow just my opinion.

  5. Kieran Daly March 9, 2009 at 5:51 pm #


    thanks for your comment, and truly sorry for your loss. I suspect that what went on in the cockpit involved some fairly subtle human factors that nobody yet properly understands. As I said in the original post, I have confidence in the French investigators to come to sensible conclusions about what happened.

  6. Clive MARSHALL April 2, 2009 at 12:29 am #

    Why do we flight test things? To see if they work, and what if they don’t work, do we expect to crash…. surely when flight testing you find out if it will work,O.K. then what do we expect/do if it does not work….crossing your fingers is not going to help. Surely you don’t put yourself in jeopardy without a margin for error.. the bigger the penalty for failure the greater the margin. It all comes back to “the nut holding the control column”

  7. Dennis Horne April 2, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    There are two entirely separate issues here: The aircraft failed the test the three pilots attempted; the two crew lost control and were unable to regain control before crashing into the sea immediately below.

    Failure of the test will be attributed to two angle of attack vanes stuck in the same position, but when a pilot tests an aircraft he must anticipate failure.

    The crew slowed the aircraft below the speed the test should have been successful. Too slow, it stalled.

    The test must be done first with the undercarriage up; it was down. The horizontal stabiliser trimming is no longer automatic and the crew must manually wind a wheel.

    They did not. The THS stayed ´nose up´; after power was applied the aircraft entered a steep climb and stalled again.

    Time from power-on to crash: 60 seconds. Anyone testing an aircraft better know what he is doing. Neither company requested the specific manual from Airbus Industrie.

    In my opinion the pilots were badly briefed, ill-prepared and unable to see the danger ahead.

    That they should attempt a manoeuvre that might stall the aircraft on an approach is a salutary reminder that Man is a mad animal. Frightening.

  8. kiwiflyer April 3, 2009 at 9:53 pm #

    From your comments it appears that you have very little flight time in fly-by-wire aircraft, especially the Airbus. The investigation may well determine that the altitude and malfunctioning angle of attack vanes played an important role in this accident sequence, but don’t rule out design, maintenance, training, regulatory oversight and all the other possible contributors. I suggest you save you post and see how prescient you really are when the BEA report finally comes out.
    Certain comments on a forum like this do indeed confirm the assertion “that Man is a mad animal.” And it is frightening.

  9. Dennis Horne April 8, 2009 at 6:35 am #

    The BEA Interim Report, translated into English for our benefit – although I did refer au francais aussi – gives a second by second account gleaned from the CVR and FDR. Everything I say in my analysis except where I state: ¨In my opinion …¨ can be referenced back to that report.

  10. Barry MacKinnon April 10, 2009 at 4:42 am #

    What about the photos we see of an apparently almost undamaged fin floating in the water compared to what we understand was a completely disintegrated remainder of the airframe? Could this mean that the fin departed the airframe prior to impact with the water? Was there an explanation of this in the investigation?

  11. Dennis Horne April 15, 2009 at 2:44 am #

    Are Kiwi pilots trying to say the aircraft could not have been flown safely? Talk about clutching at straws and fishing for red herrings…

    The Interim Report does not give ANY explanations, it simply states facts, and maybe not all of them. I read the facts and wrote a short, coherent and non-technical story that completely explains the outcome AND absolutely fits the facts presented.

    I learnt to fly when I was 60, at Ardmore, Auckland. I have flown 800 hours in the last six years in an aircraft that I own and maintain myself. I am a retired dentist. All I know about the Airbus I read on the Web. So come on guys, attack the man not the logic. Make excuses like ¨regulatory oversight¨ and so on.

    What is scary is (some) Airbus pilots seem to know less than I do. For the first time in my life I am frightened to be a passenger.

    I am very careful whom I fly with privately. Do I now have to interview the crew of my next Airbus?

  12. Marty May 8, 2009 at 11:31 am #

    Until trhe final report has been completed there are no conclusions that can be made whatsoever regarding this incidence. “Transfer” aircraft tests only are done to ensure all systems work effectively and as expeced before signing over the aircraft from one company to another . Would you drive and check out a car before buying it or just hope the brakes work after you paid for it?

    Yes it could be pilot error
    Yes it could be a systems failure hence the early conclusion of the test
    Yes it could be the Maintainence company at fault
    Yes it could be birds into both engines
    Yes ther could be indicision caused by interpretation between the German pilots and the Kiwi third pilot
    Yes bla bla bal yada yada.

    Just wait for the final report and any official debate surrounding this.

    Amature aircraft investigator, Private pilot and proud son in law of an avionics and airframe aircraft engineer.

  13. Dennis Horne May 12, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    Marty, you might want to check the brakes before buying a car in case you ever need to brake hard to avoid a collision. So, would you take the car onto the motorway and aim it at a bridge abutment?

    If a passenger or instructor asked you to demonstrate a stall on ´final´ would you do so?

    Where in the Interim Report did you read about birds in both engines? I must have missed that.

  14. Marty July 3, 2009 at 7:02 am #

    From Marty. Well done Dennis for missing the analogy using a figure of speech to describe in minimal terms why a test flight is needed to check all systems before signing off an aircraft

    Any pilot knows at idle speed you test the brakes and in my case on small aircraft at run up checks as well.

    As for a passenger or instructor requesting a low speed test on final (Or any low altitude for that matter) by law as pilot in control, of course I would deny and not comply with the request. Nor would I expect the experienced pilots on the XL flight to do so

    The interim report did not mention birds. It did not mention birds were not considered. Bla bla bla yada yada was not in there either.

    Instead of attacking individuals how about some constructive comment around the possible contrbuting factors – why were the black boxes reported “damaged” when thay can withstand 4300G impact 2000 Deg C for 2 hours and immersion to 20,000 Feet deep especially in a slow speed low altitude crash? So many factors come into crash investigation so lets hear constructive thoughs.

    Also of concern is the history of the French to “cover up” Airbus accidents especially with their huge investment in the Airbus. The first Paris air show ended up with the aircraft crashing into trees. The black box tapes mysteriously were missing data, the pilots jailed and immediately the aircraft manual was updated.

    The current sad XL transfer crash. The french “Could not extract data” so they were sent to Honeywell for data extraction. Delay in the reporting due to criminal procedings.

    Flight 447. The best technology in the world from the states, the best technology from the french. Honeywell black boxes again Water current data, weather conditions and all “french investigations” of pings are investigated as false. Can’t discern a whale fart from a black box.

    Now that is off my chest something constructive. Does anyone know with the Airbus aircraft the expansion and contraction of the metal and pressure bulkheads how is the stiff carbon fibre tailplane attached to allow for this?

    Lastly sincere regards to the families of all lost in this tragic event.

  15. Brian Richard Allen July 20, 2009 at 12:55 am #

    Interesting that Pascal PEREA uses the absolutely fraudulent Air France Concorde total hull loss report of the abjectly corrupt Bureau Enquête Accident (BEA) as evidence of the latter’s “competence and independence.”

    If there has ever been a more corruptly fraudulent report of anything at all than is the BEA’s “report” of Air France’s mechanics’ and aircrew’s sloppy and arrogant destruction of Concorde F-BTSC (I refuse to use the word “accident” to describe what happened, which was the inevitable consequence of a comedy of errors, not an accident) then I have yet to see it.

    The BEA report says that a piece of metal fell from a passing Continental Airlines DC-10, was stuck by the Concord,(at five thousand five hundred and seventy-seven feet – 5,577! – around 1.7 kilometers! – almost 1.1 miles! from the start of the aircraft’s take-off roll — and well beyond the aircraft’s calculated take-off point) caused a blow-out, which caused tire debris to penetrate a fuel tank, which then leaked fuel, which then caught fire and the aircraft crashed.

    A typical New Zealander’s response to that aught involve male cattle and his sentiments regarding Muoroa Atol and/or the Rainbow Warrior.

    The none-BS reality went something along the lines of:

    Air France mechanics left out a foot-long spacer in F-BTSC’s left-hand main undercarriage truck;

    The pilot elected to take off with an eight-Knot tail-wind, beginning his t/o roll on a several-thousand-feet-long extremely rough and already long-overdue for re-surfacing, condemned section of runway;

    Late-arriving and poorly loaded insofar as reference to Weight and Balance and Center of Gravity was concerned baggage and the failure to have burned off the couple of metric tons of fuel calculated for taxi combined to put the aircraft’s weight six tons over the permissible Maximum Take-Off Weight and its center of gravity so far aft as to have been beyond even the Test-Flight-Envelope limit of 54%;

    The spacer-less undercarriage assembly caused a left-hand undercarriage tire (while simultaneously having a severe braking effect and causing the aircraft to veer left) to tear itself apart and throw chunks of itself through a fuel tank, whose spilling contents were then – at least one kilometer, according to extremely credible eye-witnesses, before it reached Continental Airline’s DC-10′s metal strip – ignited by the afterburners;

    Because the aircraft was yawing left it was put on a collision course with a holding B-747-400 (with Jacques Chirac on board);

    Unable to otherwise avoid a collision with the 747 if he attempted to abort, the Concorde’s driver dragged the six-metric-tons overloaded and, by that time, way out of C-of-G range and out-of-control aircraft airborne at 188 Knots – 11 knots under its minimum safe take-off speed; (By that time so far off the runway center-line that the wrecked left-hand undercarriage assembly struck and destroyed a steel runway-edge light-fitting as he did so)

    When the captain called for “gear-up” it was discovered the undercarriage, damaged secondary by the missing-spacer-caused scrubbing etcetera, was stuck in the extended position;

    At around that time the airborne aeroplane plumber, (AKA “flight engineer”) Gilles Jardinaud, elected on his own authority and at an altitude of just 25 feet, to shut down the number two engine — thus making the aircraft’s 220 Knots V2 airspeed unreachable — and an inevitability of the aircraft’s loss.

    As a 15-year veteran British Airways Concorde captain, Captain John Hutchinson, observed at the time: “The captain (didn’t) know what’s happening; the co-pilot (didn’t) know; it (was) a shambles. Once you deviate from rules and procedures, it’s chaos.”

    Bureau Enquête Accident’s so-called “accident,” then, was but the consequence of a lethal combination of Air France maintenance-department’s criminal negligence, of the state-owned airline’s disastrously-sloppy cockpit management, of gross operational error and of arrogance.

    Or, in other words, of Air France’s (to this day) standard operating procedures!

    The cover-up was massive and involved every branch of the French government and every agency involved in and/or with the aircraft’s destruction. These included the (government) owners of Air France — and its management — – the (government) owners of the Bureau Enquête Accident — and its manageent, the (government) owners of the airport — and its management — the (government) owners of the French media — and their management — the government owners of the French insurers — and their management — etceteras.

    “Pascal PEREA” says the BEA enjoys a very strong reputation of competence and independence “in France.”

    Bet it does. In France. And quite likely elsewhere in the every-bit-as-systemically corrupt Brussels/Strasbourg-based Euro-peon Neo-Soviet, too.

    But the reality is that the BEA is systemically corrupt and has a long track-record of quod erat demonstrandum (QED) “investigation.” Of the kind, that is, in which it predetermines the desired conclusions and then does whatever is required of it to arrange the appearance of “evidence” to confirm whatever has been predetermined will best suit the interests of the fasciSSocialist owners of everything French.

    And as Marty seems to have rather subtly suggested, the same may be expected in the case of the accident being discussed here. Particularly if this one turns out to be another of the scores of pointers to the fact that (s)Airbus’s computer-driven fly-by-wire system’s computers are capable of leaving way too much out of the (s)Air-bus-drivers’ control — and of turning perfectly simple situations into out-of-control catastrophes. And, way too many times, in France, in Bahrain, in India, in Australia and in other places have done so.

    Perhaps, who knows, to the recently lost Air France A-330 — and perhaps, also, to two Qantas A-330s. Just to point to a couple — and, as even a little research reveals, the list grows ever longer.

    Brian Richard Allen
    Los Angeles Califobambicated 90028
    And the Far Abroad

  16. Marty July 25, 2009 at 3:05 am #

    Hi Richard

    Excellent summary of the Concorde “incident” – and I totally agree. (I am a New Zealalder but I will ignore the comment and find it amusing anyway! Next time try sheep and numbber 8 wire).

    Close to home the unexplaned Qantus A330 drop in altitude which injures included some spinal, OXYGEN MASKS FALLING and some minor panels falling brings back memory of my father in law, may he rest in peace, who was an aircraft airframe and electrical engineer telling us about being on one of the first Airbus flights where the OXYGEN MASKS dropped on takeoff. He was not surprised but my future wife very young at the time became scared and sick on subsequent flights until she was older and came back to New Zealand on one of the first 747′s. I guess Nothings changed.

    Our last joke together was regarding the A380. “They are clever, now they have worked out how to kill 800 people in one go” Pretty horrible but I guess cancer drugs do that to a person. I have a wicked sense of humour hence have no real issue with flippant comments.

    Back to serious comment I do want any aircraft company to succeed regardless of the manufacturer and engineer a successful and safe aircraft, but unfortunately history repeats itself with the English/european countries experiments hurried and not properly tested, starting way back with the Commet.

    The look of the Commet in my opinion was beautiful however my father in law commented quite rightly if and engine disintergrated or caught fire they are placed right next to the fuselarge inside the wing. As it turned out the skin was too thin and split. The were some high altitude unexplained Commet disintergration so who knows. Funny enough Commets were grounded and an enquiry by the British high court. I Can not remember what got them back in the air but they had a short life after that being uneconomical.

    The skin on the A380 wing seems too thin re designed to bring into line the weight promises made by Airbus (Saw the documentary on the making of the 380 and the problems with the difference in software used by seperate countries making the cabling too short) Also the engineer “wistle blower” voicing concerns about using a standard chip used for car computers etc being used on the Airbus aircraft.

    Most other aircraft have the engines suspended under the wing and modern engines are now being manafactred with a membrane that contains any engine disintergration (Blades etc)

    American, Canadian and other countries are not perfect either including here in New Zealand but the record of experimentation and failure still stands in Europe.

    Again I am interested in how composites marry with metals. I have not had much time to look into the dreamliner and understand the Dreamliner is “mostly” composite?

    This is my last comment on the subject and will just visit the site now and again to see if there is an answer to to the question posed earlier.

    Signing off – Martin Haisman of New Zealand – Alias Marty.

  17. Marty August 2, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    Forgot – history Commet

  18. Stace Hema December 17, 2009 at 9:26 am #

    A fair bit of discussion and as a New Zealander I am saddened by this incident, obviously.

    I personally extend my best wishes to all of the Whanau of the victims involved in this tragic accident, especially at this time of the year.

    I expect the report will no doubt reveal the true nature of what procedures were followed during the approach and in particular the preparation of the pilots within the cockpit during descending and setting up for landing.
    Until then I think we should wait for that and hope for the best.
    Stace Hema

  19. Marty June 22, 2010 at 6:42 am #

    Hi all. Mayby I missed something and I know the BEA is still getting others to do their work on 447 but has the final load of mountain oysters (Report) come throgh hiding the facts or are the frogs still hiding behind a legal excuse??????

  20. Dennis Horne June 30, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    I hope the French can knock some sense into Air New Zealand. The pilots and the company were out of their depth. Deja vu, Mt Erebus.

  21. Marty July 1, 2010 at 2:10 am #

    Well done Dennis again for insulting people and disregarding the recent commeration of both incidents.
    Well it turns out that the final report was partial failure of the aircraft and Pilot error. The Pilot was German and as we know has the final say regardless of anything said in the cockpit loop. I am not going to slag off the Germans and have respect over their loss.

    I also do my research a Thoroughly before comment. Aircraft engineers in the states recently said Airbus are the flimsiest aircraft they have ever worked on. Am I to believe this and run around blabing it or investigate as I have done.

    Here is one for you. How many accidents has Air New Zealand had per flight hours and landings calculated against British airways accidents per flight hours and landings.

    Hope to see the results soon. By the way this is not to insult BA or Air NZ but something I would do before commenting.



  22. Dennis Horne July 2, 2010 at 2:45 am #

    Personal note to Keiran Daly.

    You will be aware that David Learmount was roundly abused in the media here by Air NZ. Only by chance did I see Marty had added his pfennig’s worth – the entry quickly ‘moderated’. The fact is Air NZ hasn’t learned anything; pilots ill-prepared by a company out of its depth, basic airmanship ‘forgotten’. Deja vu Mt Erebus. A former RAF Vulcan pilot I spoke with in Whangarei a year or so ago said you couldn’t tell them anything.

    Coming to London soon to see our daughter; first to Paris to see Brigitte’s family.

    All the best, Dennis

  23. Marty July 2, 2010 at 3:51 am #

    Dennis you are still attacking the people instead of adding insight as to what has happened. Have you read the final BEA report? It is acually very good

    I Also have some compassion for those that NZ and the Germans lost in the incident and the historical commeration of the Erebus incident. From memory there have only been three NZ incidents – Erebus, a Friendship running into the harbour and a Fairchild Metro III. XL still piloted this incident and had the contract on the aircraft and a “Transfer” is obviously not completed.

    By the way I must renew my Warbidrs membership. Apart from Trevor Bland very few Kiwis flew european fighters. Restored warbirds are mostly what the english call harvards (AT-6/7)spitfires, Mustangs, P-40′s, polycarcoffs, Russian fighters, and many more however I have not come across any Vulcan pilots.

    I am not old enough to have seen a Vulcan however my father in law worked on Vulcans and also on the airbus designing the the first Airbus cockpit. He was a structional engineer and an aircraft electrical technician. We still have his “Ticket” as they called them to be fully qualified on Airbus the aircraft series he worked on.

    I learnt a lot from him before he passed away. Air New Zealand pilots are the best and they fly Airbus aircraft daily. There is a very strict training process and although my last email seems to have gone how about calculate the safety record of landings and flight hours of NZ vs British airways. This is not a who’s the best competition but if you must slag people and countries without sympathy at least have the guts to do the research and calculations. Happy flying

  24. Dennis Horne July 5, 2010 at 3:36 am #

    Had the pilot flying continued on the (cleared) approach, the aircraft would have made a landing. Instead, the three pilots agreed to perform, at an unsafe altitude, a test reserved for Airbus factory pilots.

    The undercarriage was down (contrary to instructions in the manual) and the speed dropped so low the aircraft “thought” it had landed. Now in Direct Law, the aircraft needed to be hand flown, with no automatic trim. Clearly, attempts to do this failed.

    This is mostly a matter of record. What is a matter of speculation is what accounts for this madness. My guess is that the Germans wanted to be cooperative and wanted get home, but mainly, they didn’t want to explain to the boss a glitch in the handover: “Sir, the Kiwi hadn’t ticked all his little boxes!”

    Such speculation is legitimate and necessary as we try to comprehend yet another incomprehensible accident.

    The particular test is not deemed necessary by Airbus Industrie or (I believe) approved by ATC. Nor was it initiated by XL, the German airline.

    It was something dreamed up by Air New Zealand. A nightmare of lives lost and lives ruined. Who has been sacked?

  25. Marty July 5, 2010 at 6:56 am #

    Has anyone else got any comment other than Mr Horne. The report seems accurate and has in summary is pilot fault and some sensor failure. It is not the German pilot wanting to get home quickly and because we (The public) do not have the full un adulterated CVR transcript we rely on on the “Final report” which has 3 months to be contested. Mr Horne this is a sad event and if you want to keep insulting people I suggest you grow some balls and visit the German pilots family and say what you have said. Then come and see the Air New Zealand once you are out of hospital.

    Please anyone that has valid comment Make it as I will no longer converserse with mr Horne and his insults others. Regards Martin E Haisman

  26. Marty July 8, 2010 at 3:35 am #

    I do apologise to Air New Zealand. The Fairchild Metro III incident was a private company not accociated with Air New Zealand. That makes two sad incidents a very long time ago with a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 31 in 1979 and a Friendship f -27 also in 1979. Devastating to a small country with just over 3 million people at the time.



  27. Marty July 21, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    Marty – Brian Richard Allen – I forgot in my reply to your Concorde summary and reading the BEA corruption. Here is a report from the BBC itself verbatim – BBC News, Saturday, 29 July, 2000, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK. As attention in the Paris Concorde disaster focuses on a possible tyre blow-out, a regular Concorde passenger has told the BBC he was on a previous flight when debris from a burst tyre pierced the wing, rupturing the fuel tank. Bill Lightfoot said the drama happened on an Air France Concorde, flying from Washington to Paris in June, 1979. He says he was told by the crew that it was not the first time a tyre had burst – but the co-pilot went grey when he saw the hole.
    Speaking on BBC World Service radio, Mr Lightfoot said the drama had begun as the plane had been preparing to take off. “There was a shuddering sensation, like a car would feel if you had blown tyres, and something went vertically past my window,” he said. “When I loosened my seatbelt and peered down through the three layers of glazing, I could see a hole in the wing. It appeared to be a good size, with pieces of ripped aluminium or some other alloy, and huge amounts of liquid spewing out of this hole. It became clear the tyres had blown, and dropped the wheels onto the pavement. They shattered and pieces spun off, ripping through the wing and through at least one fuel tank.”
    Mr Lightfoot, an aviation consultant at the time, says he tried to alert the crew to the damage as the aircraft accelerated. Cabin crew at first tried to insist he had mistaken the flaps for a hole, but when he persisted the steward agreed to go to the cockpit. “He came back and said: ‘The pilot says he knows he’s blown some tyres and it’s happened before’ – which is interesting as already in June 1979 they knew they were blowing tyres.”
    Mr Lightfoot says he again insisted something was seriously wrong, and finally the French co-pilot came to the cabin to investigate. “I grabbed his head and pushed it over by the windows so he could see. “He said: ‘Mon Dieu’. He just blanched, he turned grey, ashen.” Since the Paris crash, US investigators have revealed that on at least four occasions between 1979 and 1981, Air France Concorde did suffer burst tyres on take-off. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) confirmed that in the June 1979 incident, two tyres on the left-hand side had burst, showering tyre debris and wheel shrapnel into number two engine, puncturing three tanks and the severing several hydraulic and electrical wires. A large hole was also torn in the skin of the top wing.
    Mr Lightfoot says he believes the plane which crashed in flames had suffered exactly the same fate – but the only difference was that the fuel leaking from his plane had not ignited. “In the incident I was in, fragments of the wheel went into number two engine,” he said. The same thing happened in a later accident.
    “Exploding tires have been a problem on the Concorde in at least seven cases, USA Today said, citing aviation databases, causing severe fuel tank leaks, severing hydraulic tubes and damaging engines. In an incident at London’s Heathrow Airport on Oct. 25, 1993, a tire exploded on a Concorde, causing a ‘substantial’ fuel leak, USA Today said, quoting the English Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB).” (, “French decline comment on Concorde tire guard report”, August 3, 2000, Web posted at: 1440 GMT)

    I have the original BEA report on PDF file. Pure cow cow cookies.

  28. personal injury  September 7, 2010 at 10:23 am #

    I just can’t get it that if they dont have tech to make it stall or to make the plane slow why dont they improve or invest more on R&D.

  29. harx xavier September 10, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    AIrline company is liable for not having strict safety regulations.

    personal injury

  30. Marty November 17, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

    On the face of it as per most crashes there is a series of errors that contributing to them one being pilot communication and responsibility. At one stage the captian asks for confirmation of changing to Alternate law (Yaw damping only – low speed stability). I may be wrong but the French translation indicates the aircraft flight controls changing to normal law (High AOA protection – pitch altitude protection). With the pitot input being faulty what false speed information was ADIRU being fed? what was the aircraft deciding to do with this false input? What speed was the pilot seeing on his display? Was the ADIRU installed of the faultless model? One consistant factor contribiting to many crashes seems is the sloppy French maintenance facilities,in this instance EAS Industries…In order to eliminate the dust that had settled on the fuselage a rinse with cold water was carried “without following the applicable procedure and specifically without protection of the angle of attack sensors”. (A cessna pilot knows to check this this!!!!) I would put pilot error as being putting too much confidence of his aircraft to perform as per Airbus expectations and overconfidence of the aircraft to do so at such a height. EAS industries and Airbus must put their hands up and take responsibility for the main contributing factor to this accident.

  31. Marty November 18, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

    Hi Katy and Dylan. I think you have jumped into the wrong forum as this blog is for aviation disccussion specifically the XL Air/Air New Zealand A320 crash. A serious forum including the death of people involved in a plane crash. Good luck with your musical pursuits.

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