The crew did a thorough pre-flight briefing for a reduced-power take-off on runway 16, and the first officer was to be the handling pilot for the departure. During the take-off roll, the captain called for the first officer to rotate, but the aircraft was slow to respond with nose-up pitch. The captain called again to rotate, and the first officer applied greater nose up command. The nose of the aircraft then raised, and the tail made contact with the runway surface. The captain then selected TOGA, or maximum take-off thrust, the engines responded immediately, and the aircraft lifted shortly afterwards.
An inspection of the runway and the overrun areas identified multiple contact marks. The tail of the aircraft made contact with the runway at three locations. After leaving the stopway, two scrape marks were identified in the grassed area.
During take-off the aircraft also made contact with ground infrastructure. It clipped a runway 34 high-intensity centerline strobe light, and the left main landing gear inboard-rear tyre hit the runway 16 localizer antenna, the impact of which disabled the localizer function.
Significant damage to the aircraft included abrasion to the rear lower fuselage and damage to the rear pressure bulkhead. The abrasion actually wore through the full thickness of the skin. The inspection panel for the waste water drain point came off, and that panel was later found near the end of the runway.
TEXT 22 (2.31 – Track 22)
We were en route from Brussels to Vittoria and the flight engineer had just brought us coffee. Paris gave us a radar heading, and I placed my coffee on the footrest at the bottom of the instrument panel, then reached down to turn the heading bug on the CDI. As I did so, my hand caught the coffee and knocked the cup over. The coffee spread across the GPS, running between the buttons, and the screen started blinking. An error message appeared, then the screen went blank, flickering briefly and then went blank again.
I switched the GPS off before it started smoking or popping circuit breakers. Paris inquired whether we were on the heading, and I turned the heading bug. Bob, the co-pilot, pulled out the high altitude chart. On this the VOR and reporting points were in print so small that they were almost impossible to find. The charts were also not necessarily aligned to magnetic north, making it difficult to work out which direction you were going in, let alone where you were.
‘2434, direct Belen,’ Paris said. I turned right slightly, guessing which way it must be. It was more than 200 miles away, and not even on the same chart. Normally I’d never just punched it into the GPS.
Paris asked us for confirmation ‘… 2434, confirm routing direct Belen?’ We asked for a heading. They told us to turn right ten degrees and after ten minutes or so we managed to find where we were on the chart. We stayed on a radar heading until we picked up Bilbao VOR. We reached our destination without further difficulties and made a mental note to add cups of coffee to the list of things to watch out for on the flight deck.