Or, why you should always read your instruction manual.
Last November, there was a little notice story on the European wires, about a brand new plane that rather mysteriously crashed while on the ground:
French authorities have launched an investigation into a crash involving an Airbus plane due to be delivered to the United Arab Emirates carrier.
Etihad Airways said none of its staff were involved when the A340-600 crashed into a barrier at Toulouse airport, injuring five people on board.
A spokesman for the airline said those hurt belonged to a firm contracted to test the plane before delivery.
None of them suffered severe injuries. The cause of the crash remains unclear.
In the intervening months, the truth is slowly emerging, so that the cause of the crash is becoming quite clear. It seems that someone forgot to read the instructions that came with the brand new $80,000,000 plane:
The brand spanking new Airbus 340-600, the largest passenger airplane ever built, sat in its hangar in Toulouse, France without a single hour of airtime. Enter the Arab flight crew of Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT) to conduct pre-delivery tests on the ground, such as engine runups, prior to delivery to Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi. The date was November 15, 2007.
The ADAT crew taxied the A340-600 to the run-up area. Then they took all four engines to takeoff power with a virtually empty aircraft. Not having read the run-up manuals, they had no clue just how light an empty A340-600 really is.
The takeoff warning horn was blaring away in the cockpit because they had all 4 engines at full power. The aircraft computers thought they were trying to takeoff but it had not been configured properly (flaps/slats, etc.) Then one of the ADAT crew decided to pull the circuit breaker on the Ground Proximity Sensor to silence the alarm.
Okay, I can’t steal someone else’s punch line. Go here to find out exactly what happened. Have a good laugh, and then head to the glove compartment of your car, dig out that unopened driver’s manual, and find out what’s really going on once the engine starts!
Hat tip: Danny Lemieux