Airbus Industrie Flight 129
|Date||30 June 1994|
Loss of control
|Aircraft type||Airbus A330-321|
Airbus Industrie Flight 129 refers to an Airbus A330-321 that crashed on 30 June 1994 at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport while undergoing a test to certify its takeoff capability with a single engine failure. It was the first fatal accident involving an Airbus A330 as well as the first hull-loss of the type. It remained the only fatal accident involving an A330 until the crash of Air France Flight 447 on 1 June 2009.
The aircraft involved in the accident was an Airbus A330-321, registration F-WWKH, c/n 42. Equipped with a twin Pratt & Whitney PW4164 powerplant, it first flew on 14 October 1993. The aircraft was 259 days old at the time of the accident.
The objective of the flight was to test the performance of the aircraft with the center of gravity near its aft limit. Tons of water were carried in bladders in the rear of the aircraft's cabin to move the center of gravity to the desired position. The particular test that led to the crash was a simulated engine failure after takeoff, which meant shutting down one of the aircraft's engines and switching off a hydraulic circuit. During the test, the aircraft's autopilot would also be set to fly the plane to an altitude of 2,000 feet (610 m).
The aircraft had just successfully completed a landing in extreme weather conditions, and was in the process of demonstrating a takeoff with a simulated loss of one of the two engines, with the aircraft's center of gravity located in an extreme aft position. The aircraft was flown by the co-pilot, while the actions to shut off the engine and hydraulic circuit, and engage the autopilot, were carried out by the captain. The takeoff was completed successfully and the captain shut off the engine and hydraulic circuit. Three attempts were needed to engage the autopilot and the aircraft started to ascend to 2000 ft. The aircraft climbed too steeply, decreasing speed to 100 knots (120 mph; 190 km/h), below the minimum 118 knots required to maintain control. The aircraft started to roll so the crew reduced power on the operating engine to counter the thrust asymmetry. This exacerbated the problem and the aircraft pitched down 15 degrees and soon after crashed into the ground. All seven people on board were killed.
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 July 2012.
- "Accident record for the Airbus A330". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
- "Airbus A330 - MSN 42 - F-WWKH". Airfleets.net. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- Learmount, David (6 July 1994 – 12 July 1994). "Autopilot test ends in A330 take-off crash". Flight International 146 (4428): 4. ISSN 0015-3710. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012.
- Learmount, David (13 July 1994 – 19 July 1994). "Airbus defends A330 but warns on autopilot (page 4)". Flight International 146 (4429). ISSN 0015-3710. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012.
- "Airbus defends A330 but warns on autopilot (page 5)". Flight International. Archived from the original on 8 March 2014.
- Learmount, David (10 August 1994 – 16 August 1994). "A330 crash caused by series of small errors" (PDF). Flight International: 6. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012. "Immediately after take-off, the captain then carried out the test procedures: autopilot engage, throttle-back port engine and trip circuit-breaker for blue hydraulic circuit."
- Learmount, David (17 August 1994 – 23 August 1994). "Airbus wary over A330 changes" (PDF). Flight International: 4. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012.