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Last Updated: Monday, 15 December, 2003, 12:20 GMT
NZ report blames Singapore pilots
Singapore Airlines Boeing 747
Singapore Airlines has accepted the report's findings
An investigation in New Zealand has said that basic pilot errors were responsible for an incident which almost caused a Singapore Airlines plane to crash after take off from Auckland airport in March.

The Boeing 747 passenger plane dragged its tail along the runway for about 500 metres while it was trying to get off the ground.

The tail was badly damaged and the plane was forced to make an emergency landing.

There were 369 passenger on board, along with 17 cabin crew and three pilots, but no one was hurt.

The report released by New Zealand's Transport Accident Investigation Commission said the incident had happened because the plane was taking off at a too low speed.

It blamed all three pilots for the error.

The report said the first officer had mistakenly entered the wrong weight into the take-off calculations.

The captain had failed to notice the error when he checked the calculations and the second officer had failed to carry out a double check.

Airline response

The report acknowledged that Singapore Airlines had since changed its proceedings so that pilots have to check their manual calculations against those of the flight management computer.

Singapore Airlines has accepted the findings of the report in full.

It said the all three pilots had been disciplined and the captain had been demoted and had since left the airline.

Last year, Singapore Airlines dismissed two of the three pilots involved in a plane crash in Taiwan in October 2000.

83 people were killed when a Boeing 747 crashed into construction equipment while trying to take off in bad weather from Taipei's International airport.

Taiwanese investigators said the crash was caused by pilot error, but the Singaporean authorities said the runways at Taipei airport were not properly marked.

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