Airbus out of control (Moscow, 1991)

From:         "Dr. Martin Erdelen" <>
Date:         24 Mar 94 14:01:49 PST
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According to the daily Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (Tuesday, 22 March), a
"unique" incident involving an Airbus A-310 near Moscow in 1991 has now been
analyzed by the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (German equivalent of FAA). The incident
seems to have gone basically unnoticed by the public at the time it happened.
Here's a partial translation (or attempt thereof...) of the newspaper article:

On 11 February, 1991, the Airbus from Berlin-Schoenefeld is approaching
Moscow when - due to a blocked runway - it is told by ATC to go around
up to altitude 500 m [1640 ft]. The go-around is started fully automatically,
but "too steep according to the pilot's feeling". The pilot de-activates
the autopilot and tries to correct manually. However, the automatic is not
yet switched off and reacts to the manual maneuvre by moving the trimming
fin. Only after alt. 500 m has been reached, the autopilot is uncoupled
automatically by pushing the stick. However, the pilots don't realize this,
the plane goes sharply nose-up and skyrockets vertically at full thrust.
Speed goes down, and at altitude 1318 m [4324 ft] is only 63 km/h [34.02 kn].
The plane goes over its left wing, and now dives vertically for nearly
900 m [2953 ft] in 29 seconds. It then starts to climb again, and does so
for 1300 m [4265ft] in 29 seconds. This cycle repeats four times. Only after
"instinctively" reducing power the crew regains manual control and lands the
plane safely at Moscow. Noone of the 109 passengers is injured (seat belts
fastened). The plane has been out of control for six minutes.

The report (of the German FAA) puts the blame to the pilots apparently having
insufficient experience with the modern "screen" [glass] cockpit, and
maintains that they were overtaxed and violated basic essentials and rules.
The plane involved (formerly owned by the then GDR "Interflug") was and is in
flawless technical condition, and is today flown by the German Airforce.

[Not all of this is making sense to me, but the article sounds "from the
horses mouth", so I'll leave it to more knowledgeable comment.
The gurus have the floor, esp. the Airbus lovers and "lovers"...]

Martin Erdelen

    (~  , ,
Dr. Martin Erdelen                       EARN/BITNET: HRZ090@DE0HRZ1A.BITNET
(speaking for/to himself)                Internet: