The South African CAA report gives the “probable cause” of the Emirates A340-300 accident: “During the take-off roll the captain applied an improper rotation technique by referencing the Side Stick Order Indicator to the 9° position on the primary flight display [PFD]. This caused the aircraft to de-rotate and not to lift off as expected. When the aircraft overran 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 was that this was both flightcrew members’ second flight in the actual aircraft of this variant of the Airbus A340 [and the captain’s first flight as pilot flying]”.

Source: Flight International