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Pilot ran out of runway space at Belfast airport - 156 passengers on board Airbus flight to Luton

By Neil Lancefield

Published 13/05/2016

A software error led to an airliner not having enough runway to abort take off at Belfast International Airport last year, investigators said
A software error led to an airliner not having enough runway to abort take off at Belfast International Airport last year, investigators said

A software error has been blamed for a passenger jet almost overshooting a runway at Belfast International Airport, investigators have revealed.

The glitch resulted in the airliner not having enough space left to abort a take-off.

The pilots had selected the correct take-off plan on their computer, but the calculations were made using a runway more than 1,000m longer than the real thing.

Some 156 passengers and six crew were on board the Airbus A319-111 flight bound for Luton.

When the 33-year-old captain of the plane saw the end of the runway approaching too soon, he made the split-second decision to continue, and the jet became airborne with just 200 metres of Tarmac left in front of it.

He later told the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) he “felt that a rejected take-off would not provide sufficient stopping distance”.

Investigators concluded that the incident on June 25 last year was likely caused by incorrect take-off data after an “anomaly” with the Airbus FlySmart software on the captain’s PC led to a change in runway choice.

A report by the AAIB stated: “This anomaly was not known by the operator or manufacturer at the time and is likely to have been the reason for the incorrect runway selection.

“These figures were not identified as erroneous and were subsequently used for take-off.”

Belfast Telegraph

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