View Full Version : Air France A340 Crashed!

2nd Aug 2005, 22:47
An Air France passenger jet skidded off the end of the runway and burst into flames after landing in a thunder storm at Toronto's Pearson International Airport today, media reports said.

Air France says that according to latest information, no one died in the Toronto plane crash.

A Canadian official also said no one was killed.

The Canadian airport authority said 14 people suffered minor injuries in the crash.

The airline said 297 passengers and 12 crew were aboard the plane.

Witnesses said the plane was cut in two and at least two fireballs were seen coming from the debris after the crash.

The long haul A340 jet, which can carry up to 250 people, overshot the runway and crashed into trees and bushes in a gully that separates the airport perimeter from a busy highway.

Thick flames and black smoke billowed from the jet and fire crews were at the scene.

The incident occurred when there were heavy thunder storms across the region. The airport had suspended departures and arrivals for a while because of the storm.

Passengers who survived the crash said the A-340 jet was probably hit by lightning.

"I saw lightning," passenger Roel Bramar told CNN television. "Maybe the plane had already been hit by lightning," he said.

"The reason I'm mentioning that is because just as we landed, the lights turned off. And that's unusual. So I'm sure that the bad weather was responsible," said Bramar.

A witness, Corey Marks, told CNN he saw the jet land and get into trouble at about 4.00pm (0600 AEST).

"It was getting really dark and all of a sudden lightning was happening, there was a lot of rain coming down," he said.

"And this plane - I didn't see the size of the plane but it was an Air France plane - came in on the runway. Everything looked and sounded good. It hit the runway nice and all of a sudden, we heard his engines backing up."
Marks said the jet "went straight into the valley and cracked in half.

Whatever you're seeing now, you're probably seeing the back end of the plane because it's way down in there.

"Two of us that were standing here, we were about to run over and try to help, but it went up in such flames." Marks said he saw two fireballs come from the plane.

A Toronto radio station said some passengers were seen climbing from the plane, and that most of the others had been safely evacuated.

AM 680, an all-news station, reported live from the scene that there were two explosions on the plane. The station quoted a police official on the nearby freeway as saying two groups of passengers had been evacuated from the jet.

A portion of the plane's wing could be seen jutting from the trees as smoke and flames poured from the middle of its broken fuselage. At one point, another huge plume of smoke emerged from the wreckage, but it wasn't clear whether it was from an explosion.

CNN reported the flight was Air France Flight 358, which was due to arrive in Toronto about 4pm from Charles de Gaulle International Airport near Paris.

"They made an approach in weather that was worse than what they anticipated," John Wiley, a retired Airbus pilot in Toronto, told CNN.

Leah Walker, a radio reporter in Toronto, said she saw a third of the plane fall and that the rest became a fireball. "This plane attempted to land in some very fierce weather we had today," she said.


Its great no one was killed! a miracle really, but i just love the reporting, and witness comments! "it must have been hit by lightning!" :hmm: engines backing up ?

2nd Aug 2005, 23:42
I wonder how much money Air France will be prepared to spend on repairing the aircraft concerned in order to avoid recording a hull loss?

2nd Aug 2005, 23:48
From the TV film footage I saw, ownership of the A340 passed from Air France to their insurers around touch down.

No amount of money would ever restore what's left to anything remotely resembling a serviceable aircraft!! It appears to be broken in two for starters.

297 passengers, 12 crew, no fatalities, 14 injured - amazing! A superb effort by the crew!! :ok:

3rd Aug 2005, 00:07
I agree with Woomera that it was a good job done in getting all the occupants out with just a few injuries

Whilst watching the news this morning, there seemed to me to be an over emphasis on the fact the aircraft may have been struck by lightning.

3rd Aug 2005, 00:26
Good effort by cabin crew maybe, if TS cause aircraft overruns then there would be no aircraft left flying. :ooh:

3rd Aug 2005, 01:19
because a plane crashing as a result of a lighning strike :rolleyes: will sell more papers than just not being able to stop on a wet runway

Going Boeing
3rd Aug 2005, 01:52
What a great effort by all crew members to evacuate the aircraft with no loss of life.

Not wanting to start speculation but I recall reading years ago when Airbus was developing the A320's Fly-by-Wire and associated electrical system, it was sent to the French military's nuclear research establishment for testing of the systems shielding for Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) hardening and resistance to lightning strikes etc. The "official" Airbus description of the test results was that it was the "hardest" system that the military had ever tested.
Removing the Airbus hype, can any PPRuNer with the necessary technical knowledge advise whether the Airbus systems are so well shielded that a severe lightning strike would not not caused the Flight Crew to lose authority over the flight controls.

3rd Aug 2005, 02:09
Going Boeing

The main R&N thread maintains A340 has hydraulic backup but no antiskid. See Tom Sawyer's answer on Page 6.

Might be advisable to switch viewing to that thread to get the most up-to-date info.


3rd Aug 2005, 02:53
The reports indicate that rescue services were on location in 40 to 50 seconds.

That is amazing and would surely have played a part in saving lives. Well done to all involved.

3rd Aug 2005, 02:53
What concerns me is that there have been a few run offs lately in heavy rain and I wonder whether some blame can be put on Airport authorities maintaining runway surfaces to a sufficient standard to reduce chances of aquaplanning.
I understand there are always many contributing factors, like runway length, windshear,pilots trying to grease her on,etc, but if a nice layer of rubber has built up over the years around the touchdown zone, well, that's the straw that breaks the Airbus back.
Is this ever a consideration in Crash investigations?

3rd Aug 2005, 03:44
Even if they could repair this one (0.000000001% of that happening) what about the Concord crash a few years ago, that would have been a Hull Loss, so their record isn't 'perfect' anyway.

3rd Aug 2005, 04:07
didnt they get away with the concorde anyway, being able to blame it on an american carrier cause of the peice of metal on the strip or something?

Dark Knight
3rd Aug 2005, 04:42
Commandment 6:

Thou shalt not take-off nor shalt thou attempt a landing in thunderstorm conditions


3rd Aug 2005, 06:22
from what i understand the concorde was a result of numerous factors, overloaded, Shim missing from UC assembly allowing it to shimmy and create a brakeing force, causing the aircraft to pull to the left, which resulted in the capt rotating below safe speed, and the FE shutting down an engine at the same time..
The fuel leak, i am to belive is not uncommon after a tyre burst, and once the fuel has drained the fire extinguishes. so it was possible to continue to fly and safely return . i am under the impression the metal strip did not cause the tragedy on its own.

3rd Aug 2005, 07:03
Hope you don't mind a post from the 'old' country...

Ref runway state:

Is this ever a consideration in Crash investigations?

Can't speak for Canada, but in the UK, it's certainly on page one of the AAIB's list. Reports into recent over-runs at UK airports have included their views on the state of the runway at the time.

One of our first actions, after we've rescued all the pax & crew and secured the scene, would be to carry out a full-length friction measurement; in fact we wouldn't be allowed to re-open the runway, even with re-declared distances, until we are satisfied it's up to standard. Ideally we would want to carry out the inspection in the same conditions as for the accident, so ASAP.

The Odd One

3rd Aug 2005, 07:16
just saw images on the local news, thrust reversers were deployed.. i just hope the gearboxes didnt fail when the pilot jammed the engines in reverse!

witness reports it landed in bad storm with lots of wind, but it lost control when it was hit by lightening!...

my guess is it was hit by a microburst or downdraft resulting in excessive tailwind during the landing sequence..

Ronnie Honker
3rd Aug 2005, 07:41
Let's see now......extra speed, windshear, touch down a little bit late with a lot of power on (because of the w/s), and a wet runway.
And the final ingredients, a Captain who is too macho (probably one of the supervisory boys) to go around, and an F/O who is too shit-scared to say "Go around".
Let's wait and see.

3rd Aug 2005, 08:33
You could imagine that, especially in a more classed society such as france, but then again us pilots are often over confidant with our own skill, after all, you would have to be to fly a piece of tin at the heights we do......maybe it was just a misjudgement on the crew behalf, and they landed to far down the runway?

Who knows, pax and crew are alright, there will be a investigation and in a few years maybe a Air Crash Investiagtion series that will be repeated on Foxtel 2 x a day for a few years.....

3rd Aug 2005, 11:14
In this day and age, with technology so far advanced and endless redundancy measures in place both on the ground and in the air, surely it must be something pretty darn complex to go wrong for something as complex as an A340 to go to pieces.

Either that or just the holes in the swiss cheese lining up again, maybe a few simple things. Investigation findings will be interesting.

In reference to the Concorde crash, wasn't the fire burning wings, ailerons and vitals like that, contributing to the loss of control?

That has GOT to ruin your day. Losing two on takeoff and the gear not retracting. I still feel sorry for those guys...


Eastwest Loco
3rd Aug 2005, 11:44
First A340 hull loss too. The good news is that all departed the stricken lady with only a few minor injuries. Well done indeed crew. Top marks.

Best all


3rd Aug 2005, 11:59
first report that came out was... a lufthansa 737 which had 200 people on board. I guess the germans 737ETOPS has reached new levels of seating arrangements. And you thought VB was cramped..
ah... gotta love aviation reporting

3rd Aug 2005, 12:11
This from the initial post on this thread has got me scratching my head.

"The airline said 297 passengers and 12 crew were aboard the plane."

Followed a couple of lines later with......................

"The long haul A340 jet, which can carry up to 250 people, overshot the runway and crashed into trees and bushes in a gully that separates the airport perimeter from a busy highway."

So tell me, how many does a 343 carry and how many were onboard the aircraft.

Well Done Crew.

me thinks somebody just used one of my 9 lives.

Eastwest Loco
3rd Aug 2005, 12:33

Just went to Sabre and they configure the a340-300 used on that run at J 30 Y 261.

That is obviously saleable seats. No doubt some are kept clear for crew rest.

Best regards


3rd Aug 2005, 22:26
Makes you guys on QF1 look pretty lucky really.

Just one broken fuel line on one of those bent engines could have caused the same thing - but the precautionary disembarkation would have fixed everything I guess.....

4th Aug 2005, 06:17
what is it with new airbusses and trees?

4th Aug 2005, 09:27
Eastwest Loco,

Just a little correction.

Maybe the first A340 hull loss in a crash however Air France lost a brand new A340, I don't think it had actually done a revenue flight since new but stand to be corrected on that, while it was parked due to an over heated hydraulic pump that caught fire and the aircraft was completely gutted.

SQ had a similar incidence a short time later however a very alert ground crew spotted the fire and called "F Troop". Fire extingushed with a considerable amount of damage but repaireable.

4th Aug 2005, 12:44
How'd you be?

Brand new A340 basking in the sunshine, not yet 'christened', and it catches fire cause of a hydraulic pump and gets written off!!

Wonder if the warranty covers that one? If not, hopefully it was insured when it happened, or if they were really unlucky, the insurance policy commenced the next day. :D

Some things, as unfortunate as they can be, are very funny.


4th Aug 2005, 22:14
oh yeah .. about as funny as a mercury spill ..

5th Aug 2005, 03:45
"I told you so Jean (John)";).

Someone had to say it:) . Look forward to the new accent on the next CRM video.

safe flying, hoss:ok:

coitus interuptus
6th Aug 2005, 11:16
Just heard on ABC radio that the a/c was "half way down the runway before it touched down". The suggestion was the cabin crew did an excellent job but they could have negated the procedure if the pilot(s) touched down in the touch down zone.

In this age of politically correct rubbish and fragile ego's, how far do you let bloggs go before you say something? Perhaps a little pre-emptive but pertinent all the same.

6th Aug 2005, 11:54
Decisions, decisions. Will I go 'round or stay on the runway, get me that QF1 report so I can refresh my memory:ok:


7th Aug 2005, 00:27
Boys and girls........What's done is done.

It makes no use or good by speculating or listening to media reports, especially when they interview passengers already suffering from shock for sensationalism.
There's always a "witness" prepared to get on camera and over dramatise actual events just to either get some cash or to get their 15 seconds of fame by seeing their rough melons on the screen.

We dont know the real facts or chain of events - that's why the Canadians have a very professional and experienced team to deal with it and investigate accordingly.

A well done to the crew though for dealing with whatever transpired by getting everyone off alive, I will say that much.

7th Aug 2005, 02:30
No doubt about what you say TIMMEEE, but if it wason the bitumen at the appropriate point, it would not have overrun no matter what the condition of the runway

Not unlike QF 1 in Bangkok
You touch down half way along the black bit, and you risk all

You could probably say in this case though that when the pax said "we thought we were gonna die" that they really knew what they were saying. Not too sure about the 'struck by lightining" commen tthough

Capt Fathom
7th Aug 2005, 04:46
It's interesting to read the comments here about what you would and wouldn't do in similar circumstances.
Sounds easy when sitting in front of a keyboard. But I wonder what you would do out there in the real world.
Hands up those who haven't come back from a flight at one time or another and said...'why the hell did I do that ?'

7th Aug 2005, 21:49
Fathom, I unerstand ientirely what you're saying, and yes I have been guilty of saying exactly what you suggest.

BUT, the point I make is that if the aircraft was on the bitumen when it should have been, it would not over run, even if the brakes failed.
I'm sure you've seen the exercise in the sim where you dont use brakes, land at mLW, use only reverse and stop in time.

I'm not saying I will never F$%^ up and do what occurred here, but I hope I don't.
I'm not bucketing the crew, merely suggesting that they didn't get it on when they should have, and then not pressing the GA button when they should have.

Get it on the ground at the right place and it will stop. If it's not there, then go around. It can't be simpler than that.