Qantas Plane Weighed Down During Take-Off

22nd Aug 2014

A Qantas flight had a hard time taking off the ground on May 9, after the plane didn't have an optimum configuration for take-off.

A B737 plane was departing Canberra for a trip to Perth when the pilot sensed something unusual?the aircraft's payload seemed not properly distributed.

Based on the report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), the flight was carrying 87 primary school children and 63 adult passengers, including the flight crew.

In every flight, adult passenger is usually assigned an average weight of 87kg during check-in. During this particular flight, the airline failed to take note of their children passengers and seated all of them on the rear half of the cabin, while the adults were seated at the front half. This caused the balance to tip off, resulting to the aircraft struggling to take off the ground.

The payload imbalance forced the pilot to apply significant back pressure to be able to achieve the proper take-off procedure. Too much back pressure would cause the tail to hang dangerously too low and scrape the ground.

Fortunately, the pilot was able to lift the aircraft successfully onto the sky without much trouble and arrived in Perth as scheduled.

It was discovered later that the plane's total load was placed at 5 tonnes or 3.5 times its actual weight during flight.

The airline subsequently notified its ground personnel at the airport giving them instructions to ensure that the same incident won't happen again. They should be aware of their children passengers, especially if they come in big groups and they should carefully manifest as such in their customer management system.

Qantas readily owned its mistake saying it?s due to administrative error. It said that children were erroneously manifested as adults. But the airline has since reinforced the requirements to get their record as accurate as they can to prevent the same incident from happening again.