The US National Transportation Safety Board says it is assisting the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch in a probe of a "violent" pitch-down by an EasyJet Boeing 737-700 (G-EZJK) during a non-revenue flight over East Anglia, UK, on the afternoon of 12 January.

According to an NTSB preliminary incident report, the 737 was carrying four flightcrew members only when a "violent pitch down during flight" occurred. Though the pilots had recovered the aircraft and landed normally, the aircraft had exceeded its maximum operating speed (VMO) by 100kt (185km/h) and lost 10,000ft (3,000m) of altitude during the event. No-one was injured. The NTSB says the figures it has provided are subject to confirmation.

In a just-released statement, EasyJet says: “EasyJet can confirm that we are working with the AAIB regarding an occurrence over the North Sea involving EasyJet test flight, EZY8010 from Southend to Stansted - which diverted to Southend, on the afternoon of 12 January 2009.   

We can also confirm that the only people onboard the aircraft were the Captain, the First Officer and two observers. The Boeing 737-700 was being tested as part of the hand-back procedure to its leasing company.

Unfortunately, at this stage we can not provide any additional details on the occurrence as we are collaborating with the AAIB”. The AAIB has not yet responded to questions on the event.

EasyJet 737 
 © Chris Proctor/

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news