Air Platforms

Wedged camera caused UK Voyager aircraft to plummet

19 March 2014
Seven Royal Air Force Voyagers were grounded after an 'incident' involving an aircraft flying from the UK to Afghanistan caused it to plummet several thousand feet. The cause has been identified as the pilot's camera becoming wedged between the armrest and the side-stick. Source: Crown Copyright

A digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera becoming wedged between the pilot's armrest and side-stick control column caused a UK Royal Air Force Airbus A330-200 Voyager tanker-transport aircraft, en route to Afghanistan, to plummet several thousand feet before making an emergency landing in Turkey, a preliminary investigation has found.

The interim report, which was released by the Military Aviation Authority (MAA) on 17 March, concluded that the 9 February incident involving Voyager ZZ333 occurred when a movement of the captain's left-hand seat moved the armrest forward, which in turn forced the camera into the side-stick control column.

"The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have shown that the captain's side-stick moved ... prior to the event (introducing a sustained, small pitch-down command ...) and again at the onset of the event (introducing a sustained, fully forward pitch-down command). The recorders have also shown that the captain's seat moved ... prior to the event, and at the onset of the event," the report noted.

"The [investigating] panel has found evidence to link the movement of the seat to the movement of the side-stick, in the form of a digital SLR camera obstruction, which was in front of the captain's left armrest and behind the base of the captain's side-stick. Analysis of the camera has confirmed that it was being used ... leading up to the event. Furthermore, forensic analysis of damage to the body of the camera indicates that it experienced a significant compression against the base of the side-stick, consistent with having been jammed between the armrest and the side-stick unit. Crew interviews have corroborated this evidence.

"Simulations have been carried out which have re-created the scenario, which has shown that it is possible for objects to become inadvertently lodged in the space between the armrest and the side-stick, generating an identical pitch-down command to that seen during the incident."

According to the report, this unintended input resulted in the aircraft losing 4,400 feet in 27 seconds, registering a maximum rate-of-descent of approximately 15,000 feet per minute, before the self-protection system initiated a recovery back towards controlled flight. There were nine crew and 189 passengers on board, many of whom suffered minor injuries. The aircraft diverted to Incirlik Airbase in Turkey, with the rest of the fleet of six aircraft being temporarily grounded until the cause was found.

"Given the weight of evidence, the Service Inquiry is confident that the cause of the event was [a result of] human factors. Nevertheless, the inquiry continues to pursue a standard of evidence that will allow other lines of inquiry to be closed across a range of possible causes. In accordance with its terms of reference, the Service Inquiry continues to examine other factors, such as the post-occurrence management of the event, in order to identify any relevant lessons that may enhance air safety," the MAA report concluded.

All UK Voyagers were cleared to resume flight operations on 21 February.



(487 words)
By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and our Terms of Use of this site.

RELEVANT PROFILE LISTINGS

  • Airbus TR-50

    Type Fixed-wing tactical reconnaissance UAV. Development Airbus Defence and Space describes the TR-50 tactical reconnaissance UAV as being designed for overland surveillance; SAR; reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition; convoy/VIP protection; imagery and communications intelligence

  • AVIC Nimble Loong

    Type Fixed-wing surveillance UAV. Development The Nimble Loong (Nimble Dragon) fixed-wing surveillance UAV is understood to have been publicly unveiled at the Airshow China 2014 exhibition that was held in Zhuhai in southern China during the period 11 to 16 November 2014. As of the given date

  • AVIC VD200

    Type VTOL surveillance UAV. Development First publicly displayed (in model form) at the Airshow China 2014 exhibition that was held at Zhuhai in southern China between 11 and 16 November 2014, the VD200 VTOL UAV is designed for use in environments (such as mountainous and urban terrains) where

  • Insitu ScanEagle 2

    Type Fixed-wing surveillance UAV. Development The ScanEagle 2 UAS was publicly unveiled at the Euronaval 2014 trade exhibition that was held in Paris, France during October 2014 at which time, IHS Jane's sources were reporting the possibility of upgrading existing ScanEagle AVs to ScanEagle 2

  • INTA HADA

    Type Technology demonstrator. Development The HADA (Helicopter Adaptive Aircraft) formed part of a larger Spanish national programme that was known as Platino (Plataforma Ligera Aérea de Tecnologías Innovadoras, or Light Aerial Platform for Innovative Technologies) and which was backed

ADVERTISEMENT

Industry Links

IHS Jane's is not responsible for the content within or linking from Industry Links pages.
ADVERTISEMENT