The inaugural U.S. flight of one of Airbus’s newest aircraft models was supposed to be a big deal, showcasing the impressive new jumbo jet on its very first trip from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.
Instead, it was spectacularly terrifying and embarrassing fail. The high tech jet’s computer system aborted it’s own takeoff — because it deemed the runway too short.
Journalists and staff were among the passengers on the Airbus A350 for the chartered Qatar Airways flight that was supposed to travel 12 hours to Hamad International Airport.
The airplane even had screens on each seatback via which the passengers could watch the taxi and takeoff as it happened. Unfortunately, rather than watching the plane soar to 30,000 feet, it taxed, picked up speed — and then came to a startling and screeching halt.
According to The Points Guy Editor in Chief, Zach Honig, who was one 36 journalists and staff members on the charter flight, “About 18 seconds after we began rolling down JFK’s runway 22R, the aircraft self-aborted, bringing us from more than 100 mph to a loud, screeching halt in roughly 15 seconds.
“For a plane of this size and weight, stopping that quickly required a lot of force.”
An Airbus 350 (Photo: Airbus 350/Facebook)
Though no one was injured, passengers on the flight were confused, and some were scared and upset and wanted to get off.
The flight crew told passengers to remains seated. They also told them to turn off their cameras and Honig was also asked to stop tweeting updates for his 9,600 followers, according to the Daily Mail.
Eventually the highest-ranking executive on the Airbus explained to the travlers there was no reason to fear for their safety. “For some reason the A350 decided that our 11,000-foot runway was too short to support the takeoff, and the plane applied the brakes at full force — all on its own,” writes Honig.
The New York based flight, which had arrived earlier from Doha, was meant to give Qatar Airways the ability to boast the first flight Airbus 350 flight to and out of the U.S., “a significant milestone in what’s quickly becoming one of Qatar’s fastest-growing markets,” says Honig. It also gave the airline the chance to one-up Delta on its home turf — the airline will be launching flights on the Airbus 350 in 2017 — and to show the goods off to journalists.
After the failed takeoff, and after a nearly two-hour delay, (and more than a few drinks for the passengers) the Qatar Airways Airbus 350 did takeoff and fly to Doha.
The Airbus 350 is set to begin service on from the U.S. on Qatar Airways on Jan. 1, 2016.