A Qantas Airbus A330-300 fly-by-wire aircraft flying from Singapore to Perth, Australia suddenly experienced pitch control problems while enroute. The aircraft first pitched up some 300 feet before plunging earthward several thousand feet hurtling passengers in the rear of the aircraft into the headliner of the aircraft injuring some 74 passengers.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau reported that another Airbus A330-300 aircraft had been driven off course in a three degree bank when a passenger clicked a wireless mouse mid-flight recently. With this in mind investigators will be asking passengers on this most recent flight if they were using a computer or wireless mouse when this incident occurred.
On the other hand, Qantas and other airlines had been warned in July of 2004 and again in August of 2007 about the possibility of serious malfunctions aboard the Airbus A330-300 series of aircraft. The Civial Aviation Safety Authority warned about potential dangerous problems with the break down of hydraulic O ring seals in the elevator control system. As a result airlines were instructed to conduct pre-flight checks of the system and to properly maintain the system to avoid the elevator loss of control potential.
Some of the passengers recounted end of life fears as the aircraft plunged first once and then again as passengers hit the ceiling of the aircraft. 14 of the passengers received serious injuries while another 30 suffered bruises and whiplash injuries.
The crew reported that the aircraft systems singalled a problem just prior to losing control of the aircraft at 37,000 feet. While the crew were attempting to take normal procedures the aircraft suddenly climbed rapidly and then suddenly pitched down quite rapidly. The Civil Aviation authorities were satisfied the aircraft had been maintained properly prior to the incident.
Makes you want to jump right on one of these Airbus aircraft, doesn't it!
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds...and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of...wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up, the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor even eagle flew.
And while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space...
...put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
by John Gillespie Magee, Jr