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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 163810
Last updated: 8 July 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic A332 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Airbus Voyager KC2 (A330-243MRTT)
Owner/operator:Royal Air Force (RAF)
Registration: ZZ333
MSN: 1312
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 198
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: None
Location:over Turkey -   Turkey
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Brize Norton (BZZ)
Destination airport:Camp Bastion (OAZI)
The aircraft departed from RAF Brize Norton, U.K., bound for Camp Bastion, Afghanistan at 12:00 hrs.

Initially, the flight progressed without incident, with the exception of at least one instance of turbulence, significant enough to warrant the illumination of the seat belt signs. At 15:49 hrs, with the aircraft in the cruise at FL330 and auto-pilot 1 engaged, the Co-pilot had left his seat and was in the forward galley in the vicinity of the forward left passenger door. The Captain reported that he suddenly felt a sensation of weightlessness and being restrained by his harness, accompanied by a rapid pitching down of the aircraft. He attempted to take control by pulling back on his side-stick controller and pressing the auto-pilot disconnect button but these actions were ineffective.
Immediately prior to the pitch-down, the Co-pilot reported feeling a sensation similar to turbulence. The Co-pilot then experienced weightlessness and struck the cabin roof but was able to re-enter the flight deck through the open door. He reported a disorderly scene with audio alarms sounding and a violent shaking of the aircraft. He reached down to pull back on the side-stick control. Both pilots report hearing a dual input audio warning, indicating simultaneous inputs by both pilots on their respective side-sticks. As the aircraft began to recover from the dive, the Co-pilot was aware of excessive speed building and called for the thrust levers to idle which decreased the speed rapidly.
The Captain took control, setting Take-off and Go-around power and subsequently re-establishing a power attitude combination for straight and level flight at FL310. The aircraft had lost 4,400 feet in 27 seconds, registering a maximum rate-of-descent of approximately 15,000 feet per minute.
The aircraft was diverted to Incirlik Airbase in southern Turkey without further incident.

The Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder has shown that the Captainís side-stick moved at one minute and 44 seconds prior to the event (introducing a sustained, small pitch-down command of 0.8 degrees) and again at the onset of the event (introducing a sustained, fully-forward pitch-down command). The recorders have also shown that the Captainís seat moved at precisely one minute and 44 seconds prior to the event, and at the onset of the event.
The movement of the seat was linked to the movement of the side-stick, in the form of a Digital SLR camera obstruction which was in-front of the Captainís left arm rest and behind the base of the Captainís side-stick at the time of the event. Analysis of the camera has confirmed that it was being used in the three minutes 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 arm rest and the side-stick unit. Crew interviews have corroborated this evidence. As such, the Inquiry has confidence that the pitch-down command was the result of an inadvertent physical input to the Captainís side-stick by means of a physical obstruction (the camera) between the arm-rest and the side-stick unit. 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 arm rest and the side-stick, generating an identical pitch-down command to that seen during the incident. Safety advice has been issued to the RAF and to Airbus to highlight this possibility.

The full SI report was issued 23 March 2015.



Photo of ZZ333 courtesy

Glasgow - Prestwick (EGPK / PIK)
29 December 2020; (c) Ian Howat

Revision history:

12-Feb-2014 16:45 Rumbachtaler Added
21-Mar-2014 14:04 harro Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
23-Mar-2015 13:10 Aerossurance Updated [Aircraft type, Source, Narrative]
14-Aug-2016 15:56 Aerossurance Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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