This brand-spanking-new Airbus 340-600, the largest passenger airplane ever built, sits just outside its hangar in Toulouse, France, without a single hour of airtime.
Enter the Arab flight crew of Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT) to conduct pre-delivery tests on the ground, such as engine run-ups prior to delivery to Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi. The ADAT crew taxied the A340-600 to the run-up area.
Then they took all four engines to takeoff power with a virtually empty aircraft. They had not read the run-up manuals, so they had no clue just how light an A340-600 is without passengers and luggage.
All 4 engines were at full power--the takeoff warning horn was blaring in the cockpit.
The aircraft computers thought they were trying to take off, but the aircraft's flaps and wings had not been configured properly.
In order to silence the alarm, one of the ADAT crew decided to pull the circuit breaker on the Ground Proximity Sensor. This fools the aircraft computer into thinking the plane is in the air.
The computers released all the brakes and set the aircraft rocketing forward. (The ADAT crew had no idea that this is a safety feature so that pilots can't land with the brakes on--they hadn't read the manual.)
Not one member of the seven-man crew had the presence of mind to throttle back the engines from their maximum power setting, so the brand-new $200 million aircraft crashed into a blast barrier.
The extent of injuries to the crew is unknown due to the news blackout in the major media in France and elsewhere. Coverage of the story was deemed "insulting to Arabs." Most coverage was whitewashed--some reports had the aircraft jumping over its wheel chocks or blaming the accident on some mechanical failure.
The photos are starting to leak out.
A French Airbus A340-600: $200 million dollars
Untrained Flight Crew Salary: $300,000 per year
Unread Operating Manual: $300
Aircraft meets immovable object: PRICELESS!!!