Cobham 146 freighter takes off with tail-stand attached

Aviation

Australian investigators are probing an incident in which a BAe 146-300 freighter crew unintentionally took off with the jet’s tail-stand still attached.

The tail-stand is normally stowed on board the aircraft and installed in the aft fuselage jacking point when the aircraft is being loaded or unloaded, to prevent possible tipping.

Investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau state that the Cobham Aviation Services aircraft (VH-NJZ) departed Sydney at around 04:55 on 22 January.

“After take-off the tail-stand sheared off resulting in foreign object debris on the runway,” it says.

The inquiry describes the incident as an “aircraft preparation event”. No injuries occurred.

Procedural tasks used by the carrier will be examined, it says, while ground crew and witness to the event will be interviewed.

Flight Fleets Analyzer lists the aircraft as a 30-year old airframe originally delivered to the UK’s Dan-Air.

It was subsequently operated by carriers including Flightline and Aer Lingus Commuter, before being converted to a freighter in 2009-10.

This aircraft has experienced a number of operational incidents, including suffering tail-strike damage in 1996 and an occurrence the following year in which a crew member fell out of an open hatch.

It also sustained substantial underside aft fuselage damage during a landing accident in Florence in 2004.