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Home > Air Crash > What are your views on the Boeing 747 crash on take off in Belgium?
What are your views on the Boeing 747 crash on take off in Belgium?
Aviation - Air Crash
Friday, 04 July 2008 10:55

Hi Captain Lim,

What are your views on the Boeing 747 cargo plane crash (broke into two) on take off in Belgium?

Mike Hodson

Hi Mike,

Even though the reason for the crash is unknown, I can only say that it was probably a case of a rejected take off arising from a technical problem that turned almost disastrous.

Yes, it was a Boeing 747 cargo plane operated by the US based Kalitta Air that crashed in Brussels during the take off. The pilot said he heard a loud noise before the plane crashed. Fortunately the plane did not catch fire when it hit the ground and all the 5 flight crew survived the crash with light injuries.

All pilots are trained and tested to handle rejected take offs should one arise in their life time. Properly handled, it is just a routine exercise but if mismanaged, it can be disastrous. Hence, the question - "to go or not to go?"

Most Airlines have laid down some guidelines to make it easy for pilots to resolve the "go/no go" issue such as - should a technical problem arises below 100 knots, the captain has the discretion to reject the take off. From 100 knots to below V1 (maximum decision speed at which the first action must be taken to stop the airplane within the accelerate-stop distance) he must abort the take off for any fire warning, engine failure or engine low oil pressure amongst others. Further, nose gear vibrations above 100 knots or tire failure do not require the pilot to abort the take off unless the tire debris causes engine damage.

Any failure above V1 is a "go" unless it was a flight control problem that prevents the aircraft from taking off. So aborting a take off above V1 is a No No! The majority of problems that may come up during take-off roll can best be handled once the aircraft is airborne. Most pilots seem to feel that continuing the take-off after V1 will result in fewer accidents; therefore fewer injuries or deaths as a result and less potential damage to the aircraft.

Among the phases of flight, take off is one of the most demanding period. When things are normal, flying the plane can be very liberal and forgiving but within minutes it can turn harsh and demanding, leaving little room for error. So failing to plan for an abort take off in every flight can sometimes lead to very serious consequences.

Did the pilot abort the take off above V1? I don't know...

Kalitta Air Boeing 747 Cargo Plane Crash at Brussel
Consequence of the Boeing 747 Rejected Take Off

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Boeing 747 crash in Belgium
Thanks Capt Lim,

I was thinking, could he have a heavy load and it was not secured and moved on TO - changing the C of G? Just using the brakes would not cause that crash or was metal fatigue a contribution?
Mike Hodson , 09 Jul, 2008
Boeing 747 crash in Belgium
I still have no information as to exact cause of the aborted take off but I understand the Boeing 747 carried 76 tons of freight. The crew reportedly heard one or two loud bangs - which could mean engine problems. Breaking up of the fuselage could be due to heavy impact after a high speed abort.

Meanwhile, yesterday ( 7.7.08 ) another Kalitta B747 cargo plane carrying a load of flowers had taken off from Bogota when the crew radioed that they had an engine fire. They attempted to return to the airport but crashed in a field and destroyed a farm house killing three people on the ground.
Captain Lim , 09 Jul, 2008

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