NTSB Identification: FTW02LA198.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR FedEx Express
Accident occurred Monday, June 10, 2002 in El Paso, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2007
Aircraft: Airbus Industrie A300-600F, registration: N681FE
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The flight crew briefed the departure, completed the taxi-out and pre-departure checklist and entered the V-speeds (V1 was 139 knots and Vr was approximately 143 knots) into the flight management system (FMS) with both crewmember's primary flight display (PFD) displaying the V-speeds with the standard blue lines and no discrepancies noted. The captain entered the V2 speed (approximately 143 knots) into the flight control computer in the glare shield and entered 250 knots for the extended speed to 10,000 feet msl. The first officer did not recall being distracted during the checklist or before takeoff procedures. The flight crew requested and was cleared for departure on runway 04. The PF aligned the airplane on the runway and applied standard take-off power. The flight instruments were cross-checked at 80 knots and the V-speeds were correctly displayed on the PFD. The first officer checked the engine diagnostic page to observe the #2 engine vibrations. According to the first officer, when he looked back at the PFD, the V-speeds were not displayed, and V2 had reset to 100 knots. The first officer did not look at the speed index (correct raw speed data) on the left side of the PFD. The first officer called V1 rotate, and the captain responded to an aircraft pitch of approximately 12 degrees. The captain realized the airplane was not climbing or accelerating properly. The first officer realized the airspeed was approximately 120-125 knots (below V2) and called for the captain to lower the nose of the airplane. The captain lowered the nose, and executed a rejected take-off by pulling the throttles to idle. The flight control computer automatically applied maximum auto brakes, the airplane slowed, and the captain taxied the airplane off the runway. Neither flight crewmember recalled the aft end of the airplane strike the runway. The flight crew deplaned, entered the discrepancy "rejected T/O due to FMS speeds dumping and blue A/S line rolling back to 100. Rejected @ 120 knots Raw data still indicated properly." in the Aircraft Maintenance Log (AML) and departed the airport. The flight release weight and balance indicated the takeoff gross weight was 297,184 pounds. The takeoff center of gravity was 24.9. The DFDR revealed the following (1) The airplane became airborne for about 4 seconds. During the takeoff roll, pitch attitude reached 13.4 degrees airplane nose up with control column position recorded as 7.1 degree aft and elevator position recorded as 16.6 degree trailing edge up. (2) Pitch attitude decreased and was approximately 6 degrees upon touchdown of the left and right main landing gear, at which time the airplane experienced a vertical acceleration of 1.844 g's. (3) Airspeed was recorded as 114 knots when the nose gear initially left the ground. Airspeed continued to increase and was recorded as 131 knots. Following touchdown of the nose landing gear, airspeed reached its maximum recorded value of 138 knots. (4) Engine 1 and engine 2 thrust reversers were briefly unlocked before both were unlocked again and remained in that state. (5) Longitudinal acceleration reached -0.584 g's and lateral acceleration reached -0.151 g's during the rejected takeoff sequence. According to the operator's representative, the "test results for the Flight Control Computer, Flight Management Computer, Flight Warning Computer, ECAM, Flight Augmentation Computer, and Signal Generator Unit found no faults. Examination of the aircraft found no anomalies that would have prevented it from operating per design prior to the tail strike.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The flight crew's failure to obtain the Vr speed prior to rotation which resulted in insufficient lift and the subsequent tail strike.

Full narrative available

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