Red Bull – the Dark Side

I came across this item in the normal course of research.  Put yourself, if you will, in the place of a nervous air passenger with a window seat on this flight:

On 24 September 1994, TAROM Flight 381, an Airbus A310 (YR-LCA) flying from Bucharest to Paris Orly, went into a sudden and un-commanded nose-up position and stalled. The crew attempted to countermand the plane’s flight control system but were unable to get the nose down while remaining on course. Witnesses saw the plane climb to a tail stand, then bank sharply left,

Airbus 310 image, courtesy of Wikipedia. NOT the ‘plane described in this article!

 then right, then fall into a steep dive. Only when the dive produced additional speed was the crew able to recover steady flight. An investigation found that an overshoot of flap placard speed during approach, incorrectly commanded by the captain, caused a mode transition to flight level change. The auto-throttles increased power and trim went full nose-up as a result. The crew attempt at commanding the nose-down elevator could not counteract effect of stabilizer nose-up trim, and the resulting dive brought the plane from a height of 4,100 ft at the time of the stall to 800 ft when the crew was able to recover command. The plane landed safely after a second approach. There were 186 people aboard.

I would so like to meet with one of those 186 passengers, just to find out if they have ever flown since……


4 responses to “Red Bull – the Dark Side”

  1. As much as I love to travel, that flight might have called it quits for me in the air-travel department. Yikes.


  2. Yep, most airlines if you want aerobatics you have to pay extra.


  3. Fred, I had rough flights twice. Once coming home to NY from Jamaica. And once going from Moscow to Magnitogorsk. Each time I held my breath and prayed for the best. And it did make me apprehensive when flying the next time.


  4. They stick in your memory, don’t they? I was on a local flight once from London to Edinburgh. It should have taken fifty minutes, but there was a massive thunderstorm over England and we had to detour out around the North Sea. It took nearly two hours – seat belts fastened and leaning sideways all the way. Scary!


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