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2nd of January 2005

29 Passengers and 3 crew (2 pilots and 1 cabin attendant) were onboard the Saab Scania SB SF340B at Sumburgh Airport on the Shetland Islands, Scotland getting ready for their flight to Aberdeen, Scotland.

G-LGNH in April 2005 at Aberdeen-Dyce (©Neil Pulling)


The weather was far from ideal, the crew were preparing their take-off with the wind gusting up to 52 knots (60 mph / 96 kph).

After completing the necessary checklist the engines were started and the condition levers were moved forward, right at that time the aircraft pitched up and settled with its tail on the ramp. The crew quickly moved the condition levers to the "FUEL OFF' position, stopping the engines. With engines spooling down

the aircraft settled back on its nose landing gear. With no injuries to the occupants, the focus turned to the reason for the aircraft pitching up and any possible damage caused. The Conditionlevers (Source sf340com) The damage to the aircraft was minimal, only the attachment bracket for the tail support used during loading and unloading got some light damage. The reason for the tail tipping obviously had to do with the Weight and Balance of the aircraft, its centre of gravity must have been extremely aft bu incorrect baggage loading and (unauthorised) relocation of some of the passengers. After a previous incident with the Weight and Balance on a company aircraft, it was decided to use actual baggage weights, as weighed at check-in) instead of standard weights. This procedure was known by the handling agents at the scheduled Saab SF340 destinations, However, as the Aberdeen - Sumburgh was normally operated by a BAe ATP the handling agent at Sumburgh was not aware of this requirement. This led to the use of standard weights for the luggage. This was one of the findings into the incident investigation launched by the operator. Another finding was the fact that 3 passengers were seated at row 13 after the incident. It remained unclear if they were seated there with the crews' consent, what was clear is that they were not checked in at these seats.

Saab SF340 FLightdeck (Source https://www.aerospace-technology.com/)


The investigation concluded with the following findings;

  • Use of standard weights instead of actual weights as required by procedures.

  • Loading was not performed as required and instructed

  • Not all passengers were in their allocated seats

The cause of the incident was identified as being an extreme aft Centre of Gravity caused by the findings mentioned above. As a result of the incident and the report, the operator took measures to prevent reoccurrence. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch Bulletin on the report can be found by clicking here.

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