Air France and Lufthansa Look to Improve A340 Takeoff Safety With One Simple Tool: Math

Jul 13, 2019

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After a number of extra long take-off rolls experienced by A340s, including one incident involving an Air France A340 departing Bogota, Air France and Lufthansa have finished a joint study of the issue, according to FlightGlobal.

Back in March 2017, an Air France A340 departing Bogota experienced a low rate of rotation that effectively made the take-off roll almost 1,000 meters longer than it should have been. The result: the aircraft lifted off the end of the runway with only 140 meters to spare, at a height of about six feet, barely clearing the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the end of the runway.

The two airlines reviewed almost 2,500 departures from Bogota in the joint study. The airlines found that the actual rate of rotation during take-off averaged only 1.8 degrees per second. The performance models for the A340 expect a rotation rate of 3.1 degrees per second.

As a result of the study, both airlines are turning to math to solve the issue with long take-off rolls for the A340 at Bogota. The airlines are artificially shortening the runway in their take off calculations to increase safety margins for departures from the airport. For Air France crews, they must use a reduction of 380 meters for take-off calculations, while Lufthansa crews will use a reduction of 280 meters. Air France is also changing the take-off procedure to require crews to reach a minimum of 50% thrust while still having the brakes fully engaged — which should make for a fun launch down the runway for passengers.

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Featured Photo courtesy of Lufthansa

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