Investigators have determined that an Antonov An-124 aborted its take-off run from Leipzig, after protective covers were inadvertently left on the pitot-static tubes.

The Antonov Airlines aircraft was operating a service to East Midlands airport in the UK on 27 December last year.

Ukrainian investigation authority NBAAI states, in a newly-released annual review of incidents, that 19 crew members and technical personnel were on board the heavy cargo transporter.

The take-off was aborted at about 80kt after the pilots realised that none of the instruments was showing an increase in airspeed.

Neither reverse-thrust nor emergency braking was used during the deceleration, and the aircraft returned to a parking bay.

UR-82029 An-124-c-Mark Harkin Creative Commons

Source: Mark Harkin/Creative Commons

Pictured in a previous Antonov Airlines livery, the An-124 involved in the Leipzig incident

While inspecting the aircraft in the parking bay, the technical team discovered that covers for the pitot-static system had “not been removed”, says the authority.

It points out that the aircraft maintenance technician is responsible for removing covers and plugs from the aircraft prior to departure. During pre-flight preparation, before engine start, the pilot’s checklist query about covers and plugs had been answered with the response, “Removed”.

No dangerous cargo was being carried at the time.

After an assessment, the An-124 was cleared to continue the flight to East Midlands. NBAAI identifies the jet involved as a 1991 airframe, UR-82029.