The Airbus 340-600 is one of the largest passenger aircraft ever built and a snip at £250m million. This short story is allegedly what can happen if you get behind the controls of new technology without proper training or even reading the manual.
Allegedly, on November 16th 2007, a flight crew boarded a brand new Airbus 340-600 to conduct pre-delivery ground tests, such as engine run-ups, prior to handing the aircraft over to Etihad Airways. The crew taxied the A340-600 to the run-up area, then they took all four engines to take-off 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 take-off warning horn was blaring away in the cockpit because they had all four engines at full power. The aircraft computers thought they were trying to take-off, but aircraft had not been configured properly (flaps and slats set, etc.).
One of the crew decided to pull the circuit breaker on the Ground Proximity Warning Sensor to silence the alarm. This fools the aircraft into thinking it is in the air. Unfortunately this also caused the flight computers to automatically release all the brakes, a safety feature implemented so that pilots can’t land with the brakes on. No member of the crew thought to throttle back the engines from their maximum power setting, so the £250 million brand-new aircraft rushed forward and crashed into a blast barrier. The blast barrier won.
There is some further information and photos on the Flight Story blog, here. Enjoy!