This Almost Was Australia's Worst Air Crash | Emirates Flight 407

This Almost Was Australia's Worst Air Crash | Emirates Flight 407

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Footage: @N125AS and The ATSB
A340 Image: Konstantin Von Wedelstaedt (
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This is the story of Emirates flight 407, On the night of the 20th of march 2009 an emirates A340 was to fly from melbourne to dubai with 275 people onboard. The flight was to depart at 10:25 pm local time and the flying time was 14 hours and 8 minutes. Going off topic for a second it feels kind of weird seeing the emirates livery on a quad engined plane thats not the A380, I didn't know that they used to operate the A340 did you?

As they prepped for departure the pilots were busy in the cockpit getting the plane getting ready for the departure. The first officer was on a laptop known as the electronic flight bag, he would be using this laptop to calculate the takeoff metrics for runway 16. Its a simple process really, you put in parameters like the wind direction, take off weight, altimeter setting , temperature air conditioning , flaps runway condition and a whole host of data and it gives you the performance data for that take off, what power setting to set your engines to, their reference speeds that sort of thing. With all of that calculated they copied all of that data onto the master flight plan.

As the crew discussed the instrument departure from melbourne the laptop was handed to the captain who type the data into the plane's computers. The first officer was in contact with the tower for the clearances that they needed. The captain had finished entering the data into the flight management computer and he checked with the first officer and the master flight plan to make sure that he had done everything correctly. They checked again, the first officer read out the take off weight of the plane from the flight management system of the plane, the take off weight was 361.9 tonnes but the first officer read it out as 326.9 tonnes, he immediately corrected himself and stated 362.9 tonnes as their take off weight, one tonne was added to the take off weight to account for any last minute changes made to the plane. At 10:18 pm the plane was pushed back from the gate 7 minutes ahead of schedule. At 10:30 pm it was at the northern end of runway 16 ready to take off, a plane was on final and flight 407 was given the all clear to take off before it landed, the pilots lined up and set the engines to take off power.

10:31 and 53 seconds they hit the calculated rotate speed. The captain who was the pilot monitoring called out “rotate” the first officer pulled back on the stick. But the nose barely budged, the captain called out rotate again, the first officer pulled back even more the nose rose up slowly but the plane did not take off it was still on the ground. Sensing that something was wrong the captain immediately pushed the throttles to TO/GA or go around power. The four rolls royce trent engines reacted quickly. As the plane accelerated it ran out of runway. It went through the stop way and a grassy part beyond the runway but three seconds after full power was commanded the plane was airborne. It was a close call So close infact that the a340 had knocked out a light on the runway and the ILS Antenna for runway 16, runway 16 did not have ILS anymore but they were airborne.

Melbourne ATC came on and told the pilots that they had just had a tailstrike and so the pilots decided to land to assess the damage. They climbed to 7000 feet to dump some fuel so that a safe landing could be attempted, the plane was fueled up for a 14 hour flight and as of right now it was too heavy for a landing. As they climbed the relief first officer noted that the plane was not pressurizing the tail strike must have done some damage, the captain immediately asked the relief first officer to pull up the checklist for a tail strike, but he or she could not find it.