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Computer Contributes To 747 Tail Scrape.”

3569 words - 14 pages

?Computer Contributes To 747 Tail Scrape.? Introduction On 19th February 1996, an Air Canada Boeing 747-400 Combi aircraft scraped its tail along the runway when taking off from Toronto Airport, Canada. The aim of this report is to outline the events that took place, to establish the cause of the accident and to examine the system failures that led to it.Outline Of Events The Boeing 747-400 Combi aircraft (the Combi aircraft is one that is intended to carry cargo on the main deck behind the passenger compartment) was scheduled to depart from Toronto International Airport at 08:45 on a non-stop flight to Vancouver International Airport.The loading of the aircraft was a routine procedure, with its planning calculated using the Automated Load Planning Air Canada (ALPAC) application. However, during loading, six of the seven pallets placed in the cargo hold areas (i.e. the forward and aft hold areas which are situated under the main deck cargo area) were seen to exceed their height restrictions and had to placed in the main deck cargo area. The ALPAC application was used to calculate weight and balance information for the aircraft and its cargo of 19,782kg (well within safety limits) and this was passed on to the flight crew. The data was then entered into the flight computer, which calculated the take off speed and the stabiliser trim, which both appeared to be within the operational limits of the aircraft. The aircraft was cleared for take off at 09:51 and all take off procedures were performed in accordance with Air Canada standard operating procedures.Information obtained from the flight data recorder showed that the nose of the aircraft started to pitch up slowly at approximately 120 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) without any movement of the elevators. At approximately 134 KIAS, when the aircraft nose was about 5 degrees up, there was a significant elevator movement and the nose rose more quickly, lifting off at 143 KIAS with a 13 degree nose-up attitude. The lower area of the fuselage, at the rear of the aircraft under the tail, struck the runway during lift-off and was undetected by the crew. During the initial climb-out, the aircraft was found to be very tail heavy and near full down stabiliser trim was required to maintain the correct climb. Shortly after take off, the flight crew radioed that they believed there was an error in the weight and balance of the aircraft, due to the way it was flying.The aircraft was later inspected at its destination and the damage consisted of scraping and minor buckling of the bottom of the fuselage tail area (i.e. where the auxiliary power unit access doors are situated and the area slightly in front), due to coming into contact with the runway.Analysis The accident could be attributed to four factors: 1) The aircraft was not airworhty.2) Environmental factors contributed.3) There was an error in calculating the weight and balance of the cargo during loading.4) There was pilot error.Once the aircraft...

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