A Perth-bound Qantas jet with 150 passengers and crew was too nose heavy during take-off because ground staff misjudged the weight of a large group of school children by several tonnes according to Australia’s crash investigator.
Today the Australian Transport Safety Bureau issued a report on the May 9 incident where the captain of the Boeing 737 operating from Canberra to Perth had difficulty getting the plane into the air because there was too much weight forward of the wing.
The captain had to push the speed 50km/hr over the take-off calculation to get airborne.
On board the aircraft were the crew and 150 passengers, including a group of 87 primary school children.
The group of children was seated together at the rear of the cabin and all had been assigned the standard adult weight of 87kg during check-in.
During take-off, the aircraft appeared nose-heavy and the captain found that significant back pressure was required to get it off the ground.
The captain maintained steady back pressure to ease the plane into the air and prevent the potential threat of striking the tail on the runway.
The 737 climbed at a higher initial climb speed than normal, which resulted in a slightly reduced climb gradient, but the crew did not receive any terrain or other warnings.
The crew did not experience any further issues during the flight.
It was subsequently determined that the final load sheet overstated the aircraft take-off weight by about 3.5 to 5 tonnes and the stabiliser trim was out about 1 unit.
Morning news break – September 04