Emirates A340 tail strike attributed to pilot error

Singapore
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A preliminary factual report into the tail-strike at Melbourne Airport in Australia last month, involving an Emirates Airbus A340-500, has found the aircraft's thrust setting and take-off reference speeds were too low.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) says in a statement that after the tail-strike "the crew noticed that an incorrect weight had been inadvertently entered into the laptop when completing the take-off performance calculations prior to departure."

"The performance calculations were based on a take-off weight that was 100t below the actual take-off weight of the aircraft."

"The result of that incorrect take-off weight was to produce a thrust setting and take-off reference speeds that were lower than those required for the aircraft's actual weight."

The ATSB says "damage to the aircraft included abraded skin to the rear, lower fuselage and damage to the rear pressure bulkhead."

"There was also damage to a fixed approach light, an instrument landing system (ILS) monitor antenna and the ILS localiser antenna."

And the "flight data recorder was dislodged from its mounting at the rear of the aircraft during the tail-strike and only recorded data up to that point."

The ATSB says the investigation into the accident is continuing and will take months to complete. This Emirates A340 tail-strike occurred at Melbourne Airport on 20 March at approximately 22:31 while the aircraft was taking off for a flight to Dubai. The aircraft has registration A6-ERG and manufacturer's serial number 608.