A Boeing E-3A Sentry (MSN 22852/969, first flight 5th of June 1984) was scheduled to fly a mission from Préveza-Aktion Airport in Greece to Geilenkirchen NATO Airbase (Germany). Onboard a crew 0f 16. (Although some sources state a crew of 5 and 11 passengers).
The aircraft in its final position (Source: baaa-acro.com © Unknown) After all flight preparations were completed the four engines (TF33-100A, a military version of the Pratt & Whitney JT3D) were started. After a successful series of engine starts the aircraft taxied to the runway. With all checklists completed the thrust levers were advanced and the aircraft accelerated down the runway. The necessary callouts were made. Shortly after the "V1" call* the Pilot In Command (PIC) heard a loud noise. This noise was interpreted as a bird strike by the PIC. He decided it was prudent to abort the take-off. The abort take-off procedure was initiated and emergency braking was applied. As the aircraft had passed V1 the remaining runway length was not sufficient to bring the aircraft to stop on the runway. The aircraft overran the runway edge, struck a dyke, and came to rest with the forward section of the fuselage breaking in two. The fuselage forward of the wing was partly submerged in the sea.
The investigation that followed could not find any evidence or indications of a possible bird strike during the take-off run of the aircraft. In September 1995 an E-3B Sentry crashed on take-off after multiple birdstrikes in two of the aircraft engines, this possibly influenced the PIC's decision-making in this situation. More info on that accident can be found by clicking here.
*V1 is the "Take-Off decision speed. An engine failure that occurs prior to V1 must result in a rejected takeoff. If the failure occurs after V1, the takeoff must be continued. Transport category aircraft are certified, and their performance charts are developed, based on these criteria.
The aircraft in better days (Source: baaa-acro.com © W.Fishdick)
** Editorial note **
V2 Aviation - Training & Maintenance has not been able to obtain an investigation report on this accident. This blog is therefore based on several internet sources. should there be an inconsistency in the blog don't hesitate to get in touch with us. There are two possibilities to do that, via the comments function at the bottom of this page or via the contact page of the website.