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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 213551
Last updated: 14 December 2018
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Date:18-JUL-2018
Time:23:34 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic A333 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Airbus A330-323
Owner/operator:Malaysia Airlines
Registration: 9M-MTK
C/n / msn: 1388
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants:
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Category:Incident
Location:Brisbane International Airport, QLD (BNE/YBBN) -   Australia
Phase: Take off
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Brisbane International Airport, QLD (BNE/YBBN)
Destination airport:Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL/WMKK)
Investigating agency: ATSB
Narrative:
Malaysia Airlines flight MH134, an Airbus A330-300, returned to land at Brisbane International Airport, Australia after the airspeed indicators failed during takeoff.
The aircraft took off from runway 01 at 13:31 UTC (23:31 LT, July 18). The flight crew circled and landed back on runway 01 at 14:33 UTC (00:33, July 19).
The aircraft had landed at Brisbane Airport at 20:11, after a flight from Kuala Lumpur. The captain, first officer and certifying maintenance engineer from the previous night’s flight, who had been resting at a Brisbane hotel, arrived at the airport to commence their duties for the 18 July outbound flight.
Soon after the aircraft had landed, covers were placed on the aircraft’s three pitot probes. Subsequent inspections during the turnaround did not identify the presence of the pitot probe covers and they were not removed prior to the aircraft’s departure.
The first officer was the pilot flying (PF) and the captain was the pilot monitoring (PM). Prior to aircraft pushback, the captain and first officer calculated the aircraft’s ‘V’ (critical) speeds for the take-off. For this flight, the decision speed V1 (the maximum speed at which a rejected take-off can be initiated in the event of an emergency) was 153 kt and the rotation speed VR (when rotation should be initiated) was 160 kt.
The operator’s standard operating procedures for take-off required the PM to announce when the airspeed reached 100 kt and for the PF to cross check this airspeed indication.
The wind was calm and there was no cloud. At 23:24, the flight crew commenced taxi for a take-off on runway 01. Subsequent events included:
2331:05: The flight crew commenced the take-off roll.
2331:38: The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) recorded that the captain called ‘100 knots’. The aircraft’s recorded groundspeed at this time was 100 kt.
2331:47: The first officer initiated rotation. The recorded groundspeed at this time was 165 kt.
The flight crew recalled that they detected an airspeed anomaly during the take-off roll, including red speed (SPD) flags on both primary flight displays (PFD).
The standard operating procedures stated that the captain held responsibility for the decision to reject the take-off or continue. It stated that rejecting a take-off between 100 kt and V1 was a serious matter, that a captain should be ‘go-minded’, and that very few situations should lead to the decision to reject the take-off. There was no indication on the CVR recording that the captain or the first officer discussed rejecting the take-off.
After take-off the flight crew carried out actions for unreliable airspeed indications and made a PAN call to air traffic control (ATC), advising they had unreliable airspeed indications.
The flight crew continued to climb above 10,000 ft and manoeuvred the aircraft to the north-east of Brisbane Airport where they carried out several checklists, troubleshooting and preparation for an approach and landing on runway 01 .
In accordance with published procedures, the flight crew turned off the three air data reference systems (ADRs) at 23:43. This activated the aircraft’s backup speed scale (BUSS), which provided a colour-coded speed scale derived from angle of attack and other information, and altitude derived from GPS data. The flight crew also obtained groundspeed information from ATC, and used the aircraft’s radar altimeter.
Normal landing gear extension could not be accomplished with all three ADRs off. The flight crew performed a landing gear gravity extension before conducting an overweight landing on runway 01 at 00:33.
After landing the flight crew stopped the aircraft on the runway as nose wheel steering was unavailable following a landing gear gravity extension. The main landing gear doors, which remain open following a gravity extension, had minor damage where they contacted the runway surface. The aircraft was towed to the gate where the passengers and crew disembarked. There were no reported injuries during the flight.
A subsequent inspection identified that the pitot probe covers were still fitted to the aircraft’s three pitot probes after it landed.

There have been multiple reports of insect activity disrupting aircraft systems at Brisbane Airport. These included blocked pitot probes, mainly from nests built by mud-dauber and other wasps, resulting in airspeed discrepancies and other effects.
The ATSB investigated two rejected take-offs that involved A330 aircraft where one of the pitot probes had been blocked with wasp nests, one in 2006 and one in 2013.

Sources:

https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2018/aair/ao-2018-053/
https://www.flightradar24.com/data/aircraft/9m-mtk#1d2c6054
https://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/611306-mas-a330-bne-leaves-pitot-covers-2.html

Previous incident at Brisbane:
https://news.aviation-safety.net/2016/05/06/wasp-nest-blocks-a330-pitot-tube-emergency-landing-at-brisbane/


Images:



Aircraft about to be pushed back with pitot covers in place (two of three visible)

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
21-Jul-2018 09:42 harro Added
21-Jul-2018 10:08 harro Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]
21-Jul-2018 10:41 harro Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
21-Jul-2018 10:46 harro Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
30-Aug-2018 07:23 harro Updated [Embed code, Damage, Narrative, Photo]

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