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A306, Paris CDG France, 1997

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Summary
On 30 July 1997, an Airbus A300-600 being operated by Emirates Airline was departing on a scheduled passenger flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle in daylight when, as the aircraft was accelerating at 40 kts during the take off roll, it pitched up and its tail touched the ground violently. The crew abandoned the takeoff and returned to the parking area. The tail of the aircraft was damaged due to the impact with the runway when the plane pitched up.
Event Details
When July 1997
Actual or Potential
Event Type
GND, HF, LOC
Day/Night Day
Flight Conditions On Ground - Normal Visibility
Flight Details
Aircraft AIRBUS A-300-600
Operator Emirates
Domicile United Arab Emirates
Type of Flight Public Transport (Passenger)
Origin Paris/Charles de Gaulle Airport
Intended Destination Dubai International Airport
Flight Phase Take Off
TOF
Location - Airport
Airport Paris/Charles de Gaulle Airport
General
Tag(s) Inadequate Aircraft Operator Procedures
HF
Tag(s) Flight Crew / Ground Crew Co-operation
Data use error
GND
Tag(s) Hold Loading
LOC
Tag(s) Aircraft Loading
Unintended transitory terrain contact
Outcome
Damage or injury Yes
Aircraft damage Minor
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation
Safety Recommendation(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation
Air Traffic Management
Investigation Type
Type Independent

Description

On 30 July 1997, an Airbus A300-600 being operated by Emirates Airline was departing on a scheduled passenger flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle in daylight when, as the aircraft was accelerating at 40 kts74.08 km/h
20.56 m/s
during the take off roll, it pitched up and its tail touched the ground violently. The crew abandoned the takeoff and returned to the parking area. The tail of the aircraft was damaged due to the impact with the runway when the plane pitched up.

The Investigation

The French BEA carried out the Accident Investigation. Their Final Report stated that “during the center of gravity calculations, made with the aid of a computer system, an incorrect value had been recorded. This had led to the aircraft being loaded and fuel being transferred so as to produce an actual center of gravity (C of G) well aft of the maximum limit authorized by the manufacturer”.

It was found that “the incident occurred due to the incorrect distribution of weight in the aircraft, causing a C of G a long way aft of the authorised limit. This distribution was the consequence of an error in entering the dry operating index at the beginning of the process of calculating the loadsheet, an error which was not subsequently detected.

The following four Safety Recommendations were made in the Report:

  1. that during the initial training and at regular intervals, aircraft loading specialists be made aware of the importance of double-checking work performed at each stage.
  2. that the GAETAN system (the computer system used to generate aircraft load and trim data) be updated with already existing or newly-developed options which allow computer operations to be carried out in sequence without any need to revert to manual calculations.
  3. that computerized checks and tables of values be integrated into the system, to allow values considered abnormal to be detected when entered.
  4. that controllers be made aware of the importance of passing on to crews, in their working language, any safety information transmitted to the controller in other languages.

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