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Pilot Miscalculates Plane Weight, Avoids Disaster

Thomascook

First Posted: 12/09/11 08:05 AM ET Updated: 12/12/11 09:56 AM ET

A Thomas Cook flight with 223 passengers aboard narrowly averted disaster after a pilot miscalculated the aircraft's weight by 17 tons (34,000 pounds) reports the Daily Mail.

The Airbus A321 was flying from Manchester in the UK to Heraklion in Crete on April 29, Royal Wedding day. The incident was revealed Thursday in an accident report, which stated that the pilot forgot to account for the fuel when calculating the plane's weight for take off.

The weight of the plane dictates the speed required to take off and too little speed could have caused pilots to lose control of the aircraft. Luckily, the captain realized something was wrong and compensated before the plane ran off the runway.

According to the report there have been "a significant number of reported incidents and several accidents resulting from errors in take-off performance calculations around the world in recent years."

"On recognising the error, the captain immediately amended the flight path to ensure the aircraft climbed safely away. No impact whatsoever was felt by the passengers," Thomas Cook told the Daily Mail.

This is only the latest in a string of woes for the British tour operator. Shares in the company have sunk and it's in deep financial trouble. Despite being given a 200 million pound ($313 million) lifeline, the company was still poised to cut 1,000 jobs in a restructuring effort.

Pilot error was also reportedly to blame for the September crash that killed a Russian hockey team, and were found partly to blame for the 2009 Air France crash.

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Filed by Rebecca Dolan  |