Report on the accident on 6 March 2003 at Tamanrasset
to the Boeing 737-200 registered 7T-VEZ operated by Air Algérie

report 7t-z030306a



This report presents the technical conclusions reached by the national Commission of Inquiry on the circumstances and causes of the accident on 6 March 2003 at Tamanrasset.

The investigation was conducted in accordance with:

and to the provisions of Annex 13 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, with the aim of gathering all information from this accident that may help prevent future accidents.

The sole objective of the investigation into an accident or incident is to draw lessons from this occurrence which may help to prevent future accidents or incidents. It is intended neither to apportion blame, nor to assess individual or collective responsibility (ICAO - Annex 13 - § 3.1).


This report has been translated to make its reading easier for English-speaking people. As accurate as the translation may be, the original text should be considered as the work of reference.


Table of Contents





1.1 History of the Flight

1.2 Injuries to persons

1.3 Damage to Aircraft

1.4 Other Damage

1.5 Personnel Information

1.5.1 Flight Crew Captain Co-pilot

1.5.2 Cabin crew Chief Flight Attendant Flight Attendants

1.6 Aircraft Information

1.6.1 Airframe General Maintenance

1.6.2 Engines

1.6.3 Fuel

1.6.4 Weight and Balance Weight Balance

1.7 Meteorological Information

1.8 Aids to Navigation

1.9 Communications

1.10 Aerodrome Information

1.11 Flight Recorders

1.11.1 Types and readout operations

1.11.2 CVR readout

1.11.3 FDR readout

1.11.4 Summary

1.12 Wreckage and Impact Information

1.12.1 Examination of the site

1.12.2 Visual examination of the wreckage

1.12.3 Observations in the cockpit Instruments on Captain' s side Instruments on co-pilot' s side Center panel instruments Overhead Panels

1.13 Medical and Pathological Information

1.14 The fire

1.15 Survival Aspects

1.16 Tests and Research

1.16.1 Summary of witness statements

1.16.2 Preliminary examination of the engines

1.16.3 Additional examinations of the engines Left engine Right engine Metallurgical analyses Debris recovered from the left engine LP casing and the runway Summary of results

1.16.4 Examination of the equipment, flight instruments and warning lights Electrical power system Warning lights Flight Instruments and equipment

1.16.5 Airplane performance on take-off Performance calculations Flight simulator session

1.17 Organizations and Management

1.17.1 Crew on Boeing 737-200 by Air Algérie Typical type rating training course Recurrent training and checks Crew training

1.17.2 Feedback system


2.1 Accident Scenario

2.1.1 Flight preparation and takeoff roll

2.1.2 Failure of left engine during takeoff

2.1.3 Management of the engine burst during initial climb Crew coordination Maintaining climb rate

2.1.4 Loss of control of the airplane

2.2 Crew Task-sharing

2.3 Flight Analysis and Feedback


3.1 Findings

3.2 Probable Causes








Airworthiness Directive


Automatic Direction Finder


Attitude Director Indicator


Adjustable Jet


Auxiliary Power Unit


Accelerated Stop Distance Available


French bureau for investigation and analysis for safety in civil aviation


Computed Air Speed


Center of Gravity




Flight crew medical test center


Crew Resource Management




Constant Speed Drive


Safety and rescue certificate




Cockpit Voice Recorder


Algerian civil aviation and meteorological authorities


Exhaust Gas Temperature


Engine Pressure Ratio


Federal Aviation Administration


Fuel Control Unit


Flight Data Recorder


Fuel Flow


Fuel Quantity Indicator Panel




Ground Proximity Warning System


High Pressure


Horizontal Situation Indicator


Hot Section Inspection


Instrument Flight Rules


Knot (s)




Landing Distance Available


Low Pressure


Meteorological Aviation Report




Master Warning System


Low pressure turbine rotation speed


High pressure turbine rotation speed


Nozzle Guide Vanes


Nautical mile


Notice to Airmen


National Transportation Safety Board


International Civil Aviation Organisation


Exhaust pressure


Pilot Flying


Power Flight Control Unit


Part Number


Pilot Not Flying


Pounds per Square Inch


Atmospheric pressure at the aerodrome altitude


Altimeter setting to obtain aerodrome elevation when on the ground


Radio Magnetic Indicator


Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum


Static Air Temperature




Significant Meteorological Message


Rescue and Fire Fighting Service


Technical Airworthiness Instructions


Turbine Cooling Air


Throttle Control Unit


Traffic Collision Avoidance System


Take Off Runway Distance Available


Take Off Runway Available


Take Off Weight


Minimum Air Control speed


Minimum Ground Control speed


VHF Omnidirectional Range


Rotation speed


Vertical speed


Zero climb speed


Zero Fuel Weight


Date and time Aircraft

Thursday 6 March 2003 at 14 h 15 min(1)

Boeing 737-200 registred 7T-VEZ
Site of accident Owner
Tamanrasset Aguenar Aerodrome Air Algérie
Type of flight Operator

Public transport of passengers

Scheduled domestic flight DAH 6289

Tamanrasset - Ghardaïa - Algiers

Air Algérie

Persons on board

2 Flight crew

4 cabin crew

97 passengers




During takeoff from runway 02 at Tamanrasset Aguenar aerodrome, a sharp thump was heard just after rotation. The left engine had just suffered a contained burst. The airplane swung to the left. The Captain took over the controls. The airplane lost speed progressively, stalled and crashed, with the landing gear still extended, about one thousand six hundred and forty-five meters from the takeoff point, to the left of the runway extended centerline.




Killed Injured Uninjured Destroyed
Crew 6 - -
Passengers 96 1 -
Third parties - - -

the national airline.

In accordance with the Provisions of Annex 13 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation and the existing legislation, a Commission of Inquiry was established by decision No 283/cab/M of the Minister of Transport on 6 March 2003 (see appendix 1).

This Commission, led by the Inspector General of the Ministry of Transport, went to Tamanrasset on the day of the accident, arriving there at 21 h 15 min.

The Commission immediately started work and undertook:

The Commission determined a work program and adopted the most appropriate working methods to achieve the planned objectives in the shortest possible time. The Commission decided to request technical support from the BEA, the French bureau for investigations and analysis for safety in civil aviation.

The United States were associated with the investigation as State of Manufacture of the airplane. The NTSB named an Accredited Representative, who was assisted by experts from the FAA, Boeing and Pratt & Whitney.

The work of the investigation consisted of:

During the investigation, the commission met regularly to organize the work in progress. Seven meetings, each lasting several days, open to investigators from foreign countries, were held to analyze the results of the work and to review progress.

The commission met the victims' families on two occasions to keep them informed of the progress of the investigation.

The entire operation was carried out in accordance with national and international procedures, in coordination with the relevant local authorities.

In accordance with Annex 13 provisions, the draft report was addressed for consultation to the BEA and the NTSB. These two organizations indicated that they agreed with the report and had no additional comments.


1.1 History of the Flight

On Thursday 6 March 2003, the Boeing 737 registered 7T-VEZ, operated by Air Algérie, was taking off from Tamanrasset to undertake, with a three-hour delay, scheduled flight DAH 6289 to Ghardaïa and Algiers. Six crew members (two flight crew and four cabin crew) and 97 passengers were on board. The co-pilot was pilot flying.

No technical exemptions or deferred maintenance items applied to the airplane; on departure from Algiers it had been subject to routine maintenance for a minor technical problem, a hydraulic pump having been changed in the circuit B landing gear bay.

The speeds decided on by the crew were V1 = 144 kt, VR = 146 kt, V2 = 150 kt. The EPR displayed was 2.18, that is to say nominal maximum thrust on take-off.

At 14 h 01 min 37 s, the crew requested start-up clearance.

At 14 h 08 min 36 s, the tower cleared the airplane to taxi, enter and taxi up runway 02. The wind was 330 at 12 kt.

At 14 h 12 min 30 s, the co-pilot called out "we' re ready".

At 14 h 12 min 31 s, the tower cleared flight 6289 to line up and take off.

At 14 h 13 min 36 s, flight DAH 6289 announced take-off.

About five seconds after airplane rotation, at the moment when gear retraction was requested, a sharp thumping noise was recorded on the CVR. The airplane' s heading veered to the left, followed by a track correction.

The Captain announced that he was taking over the controls. A short time later, the co-pilot told the control tower "we have a small problem".

The airplane continued to climb and reached a recorded height of about 400 ft.

The speed dropped progressively from 160 kt during airplane lift-off to stall speed at the end of the recording. In fact, about ten seconds before, the noise of the stick

shaker is heard on the CVR (which usually indicates that the airplane is 7% from its stall speed).

The "Don' t Sink" aural warning, which normally indicates a loss of altitude during take-off when the airplane is below nine hundred feet, appeared about six seconds before the end of the recording.

The airplane, with landing gear extended, struck the ground on its right side. A severe fire broke out immediately. The airplane slid along, losing various parts, struck and knocked over the airport perimeter fence then crossed a road before coming to a halt in flames.

The control tower immediately sounded the alert.

1.2 Injuries to persons

Crew members

1.3 Damage to Aircraft

The airplane was destroyed by the impact and the fire.

1.4 Other Damage

About two hundred and fifty meters of the aerodrome perimeter fence was damaged.

1.5 Personnel Information

1.5.1 Flight Crew

The crew had no known condition preventing them from carrying out their duties. Captain

Male aged 48

The Captain also flew on Boeing 767‘s as co-pilot. In this role, he had also flown 31 h 57 min over the previous thirty days. Co-pilot

Female aged 44

1.5.2 Cabin crew Chief Flight Attendant

Male aged 48 Flight Attendants

Female aged 32

Female aged 24

Female aged 26

1.6 Aircraft Information

1.6.1 Airframe General Maintenance

Most recent checks

5 November 2000
30 November 2001
7 October 2002
24 November 2002
V2 (A check)
18 February

2003 20 February 2003


Flying hours since checks










V2 (A check)



1.6.2 Engines

1.6.3 Fuel

Before the flight, an additional 5,840 liters of JET A, or 4.6 tons, was added. In total, adding the fuel that was on board on arrival, 5.4 tons, the quantity of fuel on board was about 10 tons.

Note: this operation was carried out in manual mode by two mechanics, one on the ground and the other in the cockpit, because of the unreliability of the center tank fuel gauge located on the refueling panel.

1.6.4 Weight and Balance Weight

The weight of fuel taken into account by the ramp operations technician (TNA/O) to establish the load status was incorrect (8,800 instead of 9,800 kg). In addition, two absent passengers had been included in the count. These errors were identified and corrected by the co-pilot. Taking this into account, the airplane's take-off weight (TOW) was 48,708 kg, compared to a maximum authorized weight of 49,500 kg. Balance

On the basis of the fuel on board and taking into account the loading carried out, the balance on takeoff was 22.70%. This value is within the normal range for airplane usage.

1.7 Meteorological Information

Observations at the aerodrome on 6 March, 2003:

13 h 00

Calm wind visibility 40 km Clouds 6/8 at 7,000m, no phenomena

T = 23/-10 QNH 1020 Hpa QFE 865 Hpa

13 h 30

Calm wind visibility 40 km Clouds 6/8 at 7,000m, no phenomena

T = 23/-10 QNH 1020 Hpa QFE 865 Hpa

14 h 00

Calm wind visibility 40 km Clouds 6/8 at 7,000m, no phenomena

T = 23/-5 QNH 1019 Hpa QFE 865 HPa

1.8 Aids to Navigation

Not applicable.

1.9 Communications

The transcript of radio communications recorded between 7T-VEZ and Tamanrasset control tower on the 118.1 MHz frequency is included in appendix 2.

1.10 Aerodrome Information

Tamanrasset Aguenar, map reference 022° 48' 40" N/005° 27' 03" E, is a controlled civil aerodrome open to public air traffic. It has two runways:

Its reference altitude is 1,377 meters.

The rescue and fire fighting services protection level is 7 (ICAO classification), which corresponds to two vehicles manned by four firemen managed by an operations chief.

At the time of the accident, the fire service was equipped with three vehicles.

The one engine out procedure to be applied is described below:

1.11 Flight Recorders

1.11.1 Types and readout operations

In accordance with the statutory requirements, the airplane was equipped with two recorders:

Readout of these recorders was performed on 13 March 2003 at the BEA.

1.11.2 CVR readout

The CVR had suffered little damage, though its condition required its protective case being cut open before tape extraction.

The Fairchild A100 CVR magnetic tape has four tracks that correspond to the four channels recorded in a thirty minute loop. A readout of the tape was made on an adapted REVOX player after adjusting the tape travel speed using the 400 Hz on-board electrical power supply signal.

The languages used by the crew on the recording are English, French and Arabic. The transcript of the recording is in Appendix 3.

1.11.3 FDR readout

The flight data recorder had no visible deformations, but showed signs of heavy exposure to fire. The outer casing was removed without difficulty.

The data acquisition card situated under the protective case was charred. Inside the protective case the memory card was in place and in perfect condition. This memory card was connected to the chassis of a recorder of the same type whose recording function was inhibited. The combination thus formed allowed direct readout of the data.

Note: the technician did not have a precise and updated conversion document allowing the transformation of the recorded data in binary form to physical data. Additional work was therefore necessary to be able to read out the data.

Only the following parameters were recorded: time, pressure altitude, speed, magnetic heading, vertical acceleration, and send/receive VHF communications. The graph is included in appendix 4.

1.11.4 Summary

In comparing the two recordings, the following elements are of note:

Flight preparation was carried out by the co-pilot alone. At her request, the Captain authorized her to perform the flight leg.

The chief steward was present in the cockpit from time to time during flight preparation and during the take-off. He was talking with the Captain.

The copilot began the pre-take-off briefing by announcing the speeds for V1 (144 kt), VR (146 kt) and V2 (150 kt); she was interrupted by the Captain.

At 14h 12 min 47, the crew was authorized to line up on runway 02 and to take off. The wind, as given by the tower controller, was 330° at 12 kt.

Note: during communications with ATC, the crew was using hand mikes.

At 14 h 14 min 47, that is fifty-two seconds after engine power-up, the Captain announced rotation, at about 150 kt. The magnetic heading was 020°.

At 14 h 14 min 51, the speed of the plane reached 160 kt; it subsequently fell until the end of the flight.

At 14 h 14 min 52, the copilot asked for landing gear retraction (Gear Up callout). This request was immediately followed by a sharp thumping noise. The airplane's speed was then 158 kt, its height in relation to the threshold of runway 02 was 78 ft and its magnetic heading was 018°.

The plane veered to the left and at 14 h 14 min 55, its magnetic heading was 008°. A series of exclamations from the co-pilot, followed by "what' s going on" is heard.

Note: from the FDR data, the vertical speed on initial climb was calculated as between 1,400 and 1,800 ft/min.

From 14 h 15, the Captain asked the co-pilot several times to let go of the controls. The co-pilot read back and, three seconds later, spoke to the Captain and offered to retract the landing gear. There was no response.

At 14 h 15 min 04, the co-pilot told the controller "we have a small problem".

At 14 h 15 min 06, the stick shaker is heard for one second. The airplane's height in relation to the runway 02 threshold was then at its maximum (398 ft). Its speed was 134 kt.

At 14 h 15 min 08, the stick shaker is heard for a half second.

At 14 h 15 min 10, a GPWS "Don't Sink" aural warning is heard. From that moment on, the stick shaker is heard continuously until the end of the recording.

At 14 h 15 min 15, a second GPWS "Don't Sink" aural warning is heard. The two recorders stopped just after that. The airplane's height in relation to the runway 02 threshold was then 335 ft, its speed was 126 kt and its magnetic heading 005°.

1.12 Wreckage and Impact Information

1.12.1 Examination of the site

The take-off area is estimated to be abeam the Tower, just after the taxiway. Practically from this point onwards, engine debris was found. Around six hundred meters before the end of the runway, the debris was scattered to the left of the centerline, showing a track roughly fifteen degrees from the centerline. The first point of impact is at 1,645 m from the takeoff area. From this point on, a strip of land showing the marks of an intense fire shows the right of the track (see photo), roughly in line with the right wing. A lot of debris was found, including the engines. The airplane then crashed into the aerodrome perimeter fence and crossed the road. Beyond the road, the right main landing gear was found (without the wheels) then the main wreckage, which had pivoted towards the right.

The main wreckage was practically in one single piece, had been destroyed by fire, the right wing was folded back along the fuselage and the rear section was detached and tipped over. The wheels of the two main landing gears were found there.

1.12.2 Visual examination of the wreckage

The wreckage was almost entirely destroyed by fire.

The two horizontal stabilizers remained attached to the fin; the elevators were in place, some outer pieces missing.

The two trim tabs are connected to the elevators.

The tail cone and APU were behind the main wreckage; and showed no signs of fire with the exception of the interior part of the APU.

Measurements taken on site:

1.12.3 Observations in the cockpit Instruments on Captain' s side

None of the instruments on the Captain' s side were readable. Center panel instruments Overhead Panels

1.13 Medical and Pathological Information

The post-mortem examinations performed on the crew did not bring to light any evidence of medical or pathological factors related to the accident.

1.14 The fire

The spilled fuel burst into flames on first impact with the ground. The airplane was completely ablaze when it stopped.

In accordance with the procedures, the fire fighters were on standby. They set off as soon as they noticed that the airplane was in difficulty. At the same time, the tower controller raised the alarm at 14 h 15 min 09 s, then, in accordance with the aerodrome emergency plan, he alerted the Tamanrasset fire service at 14 h 15 min 40 s. They came to reinforce the aerodrome firefighters.

Note: the commission examined various timings under the accident conditions: the minimum time to arrive at the wreckage site from the SSLIA parking lot was three minutes and fifteen seconds.

1.15 Survival Aspects

The chief flight attendant was found collapsed over the center console (inside the cockpit. The other cabin attendants as well as the passengers were in their places, with seat belts attached. The severe fire that broke out immediately after impact left them no chance of survival. Only one passenger, seated in the last row and with seat belt unattached, according to his statement, was ejected from the plane by the impact and escaped from the accident.

1.16 Tests and Research

1.16.1 Summary of witness statements

The witness statements taken indicated that at the time of take-off from runway 02, an abnormal noise coming from the airplane' s engines was heard. The plane veered slightly to the left, then back towards its take-off track. During this phase, there was a sharp nose-up pitch attitude. The plane was at low altitude and seemed to be losing speed. It then dived with a slight angle to the right and crashed. The landing gear was extended.

Two witness statements are interesting to quote in full:

Accident flight strip

1.16.2 Preliminary examination of the engines

After the accident both of the airplane's engines and their principal accessories were transported to Brussels (Belgium) to a specialized SNECMA laboratory. There they were completely torn down. The examinations carried out led to the following observations:

Following these observations, additional examinations were decided upon.

1.16.3 Additional examinations of the engines

Note: the following observations hereafter follow the positions of the engine components, in the direction of airflow.


Diagram of the JT8D jet Left engine

The compressor body

The damage observed resulted from the impact and there was no indication of engine rotation or traces of foreign body ingestion.


The body of the regulator was destroyed on impact; it was broken and separated into three parts, with separation of the two main units along the joints. The largest part lost its covers. The different internal mechanisms made it impossible to determine selected thrust.

The fuel injectors

The nine injectors were clean and in good condition. Their output sections are geometrically correct, with no traces of burning or partial obstruction by possible foreign bodies. Their primary and secondary supply conduits showed no blockages.

The flame tubes

The outside of the tubes was in good condition, with no signs of overheating. The most notable characteristic found on the all of the tubes was traces of liquid metal on their inner walls, in rather large droplets, set on the inner thermal barrier of the tubes. These traces were all over the tubes identified as 4 to 7; on the inside of the other tubes (1, 2, 3, 8, and 9), the traces are concentrated in a sector of about 90º. The thermal barrier had normal uniform coloring.

The morphology of the metallic deposits showed that the traces were in the normal direction of gas flow.

The distributor stage (NGV 1) of the high pressure turbine

All of the nozzle guide vanes recovered from the HP turbine were severely damaged, apparently by mechanical impacts, with no signs of any previous damage. The largest missing section of the NGV1 was located in the lower part of the engine. During tear down, this part lacked its four guide vane stages.

Note: these observations are consistent with the large quantities of melted metal deposits observed on the flame tubes in the lower position (tubes No 4 to 6).

Seven blades were broken off at the root, approximately parallel with the base. The remaining blades were broken in a bell shape, the top being about halfway up, with a maximum height of forty-five millimeters. The edges of these breaks showed no signs of fatigue cracking. The lower blades, near the trailing edge, had picked up projections of melted metal. Several blades had suffered abnormally high overheating, without reaching the threshold of the metal's melting point.

The distributor stage (NGV 2) of the low pressure turbine

All of the blades of the NGV 2 stage were destroyed. The elements available showed more or less significant deposits of melted metal. The damage noted was not of the same intensity on each element; it showed that the blades were exposed to excessive temperatures; for certain blades, at least, it was possible to establish that the temperature almost reached the metal's melting point, that is to say 1,260º C. Right engine

Note: observations carried out at the time of the right engine tear down did not show evidence of overheating that would have justified a detailed examination of the injectors. Only comparative examinations with certain components of the left engine were carried out.

The compressor body

The damage observed on the body of the compressor indicated that the engine was in rotation at the time of impact, but it was not possible to determine its selected power. No trace of ingestion of a foreign body was observed.


The FCU unit remained in one piece. The largest part had lost several covers, sheared off or knocked off at the time of impact, exposing the mechanisms and internal components, which were damaged in various ways following the impact. Its condition made it impossible to identify the amount of power selected.

The flame tubes

The tubes did not show any particular damage that would indicate any malfunction.

The high pressure turbine

The blades of the NGV 1 stage remained in perfect condition. Fine projections of melted metal were observed on their upper surfaces. Analysis showed that these projections were the result of contact between the compressor blades and the opposite casing. The particles that were torn off crossed the combustion chamber to be deposited on the NGV 1.

These observations showed that the right engine was rotating at the time of impact, which is corroborated by the signs of contact observed between the NGV 1, turbine HP and NGV 2 blades. Metallurgical analyses

Comparative metallurgical examinations were carried out on components of the left and right engines as well as on deposits of melted metal sampled from the flame tubes.

For the left engine:

For the right engine: Debris recovered from the left engine LP casing and the runway

Debris of various sizes recovered from the left engine low pressure casing and from the runway mainly came from the destroyed blades from the first stage high pressure distributor as well as the upstream part of the engine.

These fragments were all transported by the rotating parts and were subject to a lot of shocks at the time of the event. The broken surfaces are mainly matt, which made any examination of the ruptures impossible. Electrical power system

Examination of the electrical power system did not bring to light any malfunction. The photo below, accompanied by the graphic from the airplane manual, shows the module related to electrical power generating systems linked to the two generators and to the APU.

The bulbs of several warning lights, including the TRANSFER BUS OFF, BUS OFF, GEN OFF BUS and APU GEN OFF BUS, were examined as the following photos illustrate. Their examination showed that most of the filaments were broken on impact.

Warning lights GEN #1 TRANSFER BUS OFF and GEN #2 TRANSFER BUS OFF Warning lights

Examination of the bulbs of the warning lights did not show whether they were lit at the moment of impact. Flight Instruments and equipment

Most of the equipment and flight instruments could be examined in the laboratory. Although blackened by the fire, they were, in general, in good external condition with few deformations. The values noted essentially confirm the values found on the site, though this does not necessarily prove the relevance of the display. Manipulation of the instruments had, however, modified certain values that were therefore discarded.

Note: the quantities read correspond to a weight of 9,620 kg. By adding taxiing allowance (200 kg) and the fuel consumed on take-off (225 kg), on the basis of nine tons per minute, a value of 10,045 kg is reached, consistent with the weight of on-board fuel.

1.16.5 Airplane performance on take-off Performance calculations

A calculation of performance was carried out in the United States (cf. appendix 5). Its goal was the calculation of certain parameters not recorded by the FDR, for example pitch, roll, and engine thrust, by correlating the following various data:

The results of these calculations showed: Flight simulator session

At the request of the Commission of Inquiry, and in the presence of some of its members, several tests on a flight simulator were carried out by a qualified crew using the conditions on the day of the accident. These tests were run with a left engine failure at rotation speed. During the first test, the crew was asked to follow standard procedures. During the second and third tests, the crew was asked to keep the landing gear down, to maintain the speed at V2 in one case and to maintain a constant pitch of 18° in the other.

From this session the following results emerged:

1.17 Organizations and Management

1.17.1 Crew on Boeing 737-200 by Air Algérie Typical type rating training course

The course has in three main phases that cover:

The first phase is completed by groups of about ten people and lasts eleven days. It is made up of sixty-five hours of lectures based in particular on the utilization of training documents. These theoretical courses include:

Visualization of the layout of the controls is supported by visits to the simulator. The study of each system is completed by a debriefing by an instructor responsible for technical follow-up of the Boeing 737-200. This debriefing allows for significant points to be clarified and checks the level of knowledge acquired. The final two days are dedicated to aspects of CRM and to aspects of safety and rescue.

The second phase is open to trainees who have passed the relevant exam in the theoretical section. It is made up of fourteen sessions of four hours each in the FFS simulator, carried out as a crew under the direction of a pilot-instructor, preceded by a briefing in the auditorium of about two hours and followed by a debriefing. These sessions concern basic flying and flying on autopilot. Students study the flight envelope limits, various failures and emergency situations.

At the conclusion of these FFS sessions, a final exam lasting four hours is taken that covers the different types of problems and failures studied during the fourteen sessions.

In the context of this type rating training course, engine failure is tackled in the sixth session. Failures are generally simulated around V1 speed when the plane is rolling for takeoff. Three types can be simulated: engine flame out, damage to the engine (engine severe damage fire) and a surge.

Note: the procedure to follow after an engine failure on take-off after V1 is included in appendix 6.

The third phase (called base training) involves three flights of one hour and thirty minutes each followed by a test flight of one hour and thirty minutes, which leads to type rating certification on this model. Engine failure after V1 is included in the second and third flights as well as for the test flight.

Air Algérie' s program is based on a total of thirty-one days training (including exams).

Following successful type rating, a minimum of six legs is required on line flight training before the test flight. Recurrent training and checks

Regulatory requirements concerning recurrent training and checks are: an annual recurrent course, two annual line checks carried out during a commercial flight and related to flying skills and application of Operations Manual requirements, an annual base check (on simulator) with emphasis on type rating exercises.

Air Algérie has included, in a single module, a recurrent training course and a base check. This takes place once per year. The program for this training course was approved by the DACM. The objective of this training course is to update pilots' knowledge of the Boeing 737-200, as well as their know-how in crew task-sharing. This sometimes provides the opportunity to take into account incidents that occurred during operations, and to revise both normal and emergency procedures.

The training course lasts three days. The first is dedicated to lectures in the auditorium, and the following two to the simulator: Two sessions of four hours are preceded by a two-hour briefing. The first is carried out on the FFS simulator, in the presence of a pilot-instructor from the airline, and focuses on the regulation type rating exercises. The second session consists of a simulated LOFT-type flight at the end of which a recurrent training certificate is issued. Crew training

The two pilots' training and recurrent training files were examined by the commission. Their last exercise in engine failure during takeoff shows:

1.17.2 Feedback system

Since 1999, Air Algérie has had a Flight Safety Office that publishes safety bulletins for crews. This office provides Aviation Safety Report forms in order to get feedback, these being available on board planes. It is also possible to inform them confidentially of concerns. The office was recently equipped with a flight analysis station dedicated to Boeing 737-600 and -800; this analysis is not yet systematic or generalized to the whole Air Algérie fleet.

The first flight safety bulletin was published in August 1999. Two or three bulletins are published every year. Each issue includes studies of accident cases or incidents based on the example of other airlines. Of the twelve issues, only five occurrences that occurred at Air Algérie were analyzed:

All of the case studies described since August 2000 concern foreign operations. No event reported by an Air Algérie crew was analyzed in a written fashion.

It appears that at the time of the accident, the system for providing feedback did not develop completely or systematically, in writing, events occurring within the airline. Such systematic investigation would allow crews to benefit from the experiences of other crews reporting unusual situations, with the goal of preventing them from happening again.


2.1 Accident Scenario

2.1.1 Flight preparation and takeoff roll

Flight preparation was carried out by the co-pilot alone, as the Captain arrived late. It should be noted that the Chief Flight Attendant was present in the cockpit, a fact that contributed to the checklist that the co-pilot had started being cut off after the callouts for the selected takeoff speeds.

This lack of rigor in the preparation of the flight was also noticeable during taxiing, with the failure to observe the spirit of a "sterile cockpit". More generally, the CVR shows that at no time was there any dialogue or briefing related to a possible anomaly during takeoff, as required in the Air Algérie procedures. The crew was not apparently sufficiently psychologically prepared to face any possible problems that might occur.

Taxiing was immediately followed by engine power-up with an EPR of 2.18, which corresponds to the use of maximum thrust with the air conditioning switched on.

2.1.2 Failure of left engine during takeoff

Engine power up, airplane acceleration and the standard callouts were all carried out normally until rotation. The problems started suddenly, at the exact moment landing gear retraction was announced. All evidence gathered by the investigation, especially the airplane parts found on the runway near the place where the airplane lifted off, as well as the twelve degree change of heading to the left, show that the crew was then faced with a contained left engine burst.

Examinations showed that the problem originated in the turbine high-pressure stage located just after the combustion chamber. The rupture of a relatively large part caused the immediate destruction of the high-pressure turbine and the subsequent damage to the low-pressure turbine. The burst caused a sharp drop in the rotation speed and in engine thrust, without causing it to shut down.

Apart from the airplane' s tendency to yaw to the left, the damage to the left engine would normally result, in the cockpit, in a sudden reduction in the performance readings for that engine and a visual oil pressure warning, though without a fire alarm.

2.1.3 Management of the engine burst during initial climb Crew coordination

The crew, which had been in a routine flight situation, was suddenly confronted with an emergency situation that required high levels of alertness, coordination and concentration, a situation for which, as previously noted, they were not specifically prepared. In this context, the Captain did not read back the order to retract the landing gear and did not retract it.

There was no announcement of the failure, no mention of any possible visual warnings such as the one associated with the oil pressure. Only a few exclamations from the co-pilot were heard. Even the callouts related to flying the airplane (speed, climb rate, trim, etc) were not made. Thus, after the failure, there was no longer any formalization of crew action, nor was there any coordination whatsoever on the management of the problem encountered.

A further factor then entered the picture: after eight seconds, the Captain took over the controls of the airplane, without any request from the co-pilot or any use of the standard terminology for handing over the controls.

It is impossible to know what led to this decision:

It is not possible to know whether his taking over the controls (words recorded on the CVR) was not preceded by an input on the controls.

In any event, the absence of any coordination between the pilots at the moment when tasks were transferred meant the Captain had to manage an emergency situation, which he had not had time to analyze completely. For the same reasons, he did not rely on the co-pilot, whom he simply asked on several occasions to let go (of the controls). He likely encountered some problems in taking over control, given that he repeated the terms "let go" and "take your hand off", this continuing until the end of the recording. The co-pilot appears to have carried out the Captain' s orders by reading back in the affirmative and indicating her willingness to act (proposal to retract the gear, radio message to the tower with the hand mike) though without being sure of the role she was supposed to play. This may, for example, have resulted in her placing her hands on the control column at the time of the stall warning alarms, which would explain the repeated requests from the Captain. She was thus not fully carrying out her role as PNF and did not monitor or at least call out the speeds as they were decreasing. The co-pilot' s offer to retract the gear was probably not even noticed by the Captain, due to his sudden excess workload. Maintaining climb rate

Just after the rotation, the vertical speed calculated from the FDR data was between 1,400 and 1,800 feet per minute. This can be explained by the airplane' s initial speed, 160 knots, and the selection of a pitch attitude estimated at about 18°. Such a pitch angle corresponds to a climb with the engines operating nominally. The airplane' s speed fell progressively.

According to the airline' s procedures, the initial climb on one engine should be performed with the gear retracted, maintaining safety speed at V2 until the safety altitude. However, the landing gear was never retracted. With the conditions on the day of the accident (weight, aerodrome altitude and high temperature levels), the calculations and simulations performed show that it was difficult to maintain a positive rate of climb. Since the altitude was continuing to increase at the same rate, it was logical that there should be a progressive drop in speed.

Note: the airline' s procedure corresponds to a rate of climb of around five hundred feet per minute and a pitch attitude of about twelve degrees.

The Captain took over the flight controls in a critical situation while he was out of the loop with regard to flying. This probably led him to focus on a pitch attitude that was incompatible with one failed engine. His decision to take over the controls made it impossible for him to develop and supervise a strategy to adopt for the conduct of the flight.

The left engine failure coincided with the co-pilot' s request to retract the landing gear and disrupted that action. The co-pilot mentioned retracting the gear again but, at that moment, the task-sharing had been reversed. It was up to the Captain to ask for gear retraction. In the end, the gear remained extended until the impact.

The airplane' s aerodynamic performance subsequently deteriorated rapidly, especially as a result of the non-retraction of the gear, which added to the effect of maintaining a high pitch attitude. In addition, it should be emphasized that the high altitude of the aerodrome and the high temperature on the day, as well as a takeoff weight close to the maximum also contributed to limiting the airplane' s performance. During the initial climb, the high pitch attitude and the yaw induced by the failure of the left engine (which had the effect of increasing the drag at a critical moment), added to the factors previously mentioned.

2.1.4 Loss of control of the airplane

The high pitch attitude and the loss of speed put the airplane in a stall situation. About fourteen seconds after the noise and the "gear up" callout, the stick shaker (the device that warns the crew when 7% from the stall speed) began to operate intermittently, then continuously, until the end of the recording. The "don' t sink" aural warning told the crew that the airplane was dropping. The pitch attitude was apparently maintained until impact with the ground, as examination of the site showed. On the wreckage, the horizontal stabilizer trim was found in the position for a normal takeoff, which tends to support this hypothesis.

Examinations on the site show that the rear of the airplane hit the ground first in a stall situation with a high pitch attitude. Maintaining an excessive climb angle until the accident can be explained by the Captain focusing exclusively on this parameter ("refusing" the ground in a rocky environment making an emergency landing impossible).

The shutdown of the flight recorders before impact occurred while the airplane was in a stall situation. This shutdown is related to a loss of electrical power. The Commission was unable to identify the precise cause of this loss of electrical power, which occurred in an unusual situation a very short time before the impact.

2.2 Crew Task-sharing

The above scenario shows a lack of coordination, an absence of mutual control and deviation from procedures. The problems encountered were not subject to any formalized actions by the crew. The Captain' s takeover of the controls without agreement with the co-pilot, putting the latter out of the loop, occurred before the failure was identified. This sudden change destabilized task-sharing and thus crew teamwork. Management of the airplane' s track and flight strategy were severely affected.

2.3 Flight Analysis and Feedback

The existing regulations do not oblige operators to analyze flights systematically. No such analysis then existed for the Boeing 737. This may help to explain the lack of follow-up in the management of conversion documents. If it had not been possible to validate them, the flight parameters for the event might not have been usable, even though they were recorded on the FDR.

This absence of flight analysis can be assimilated with the non-systematic and unwritten nature of internal feedback. Formally registering the analysis of an event in written form allows all those who might be concerned to be informed in a coherent and standardized manner; it also allows a systematic record to be kept which will not be lost in the course of time.

3 - conclusions

3.1 Findings

3.2 Probable Causes

The accident was caused by the loss of an engine during a critical phase of flight, the non-retraction of the landing gear after the engine failure, and the Captain, the PNF, taking over control of the airplane before having clearly identified the problem.

The following factors probably contributed to the accident:


The accident to 7T-VEZ brought to light failings in the area of task-sharing, joint control and handing over the controls.

Consequently, the Commission of Inquiry recommends that:

The Commission of Inquiry recommends that:

Considering that flight safety can only benefit from the input provided by a system of feedback entirely based on events that have occurred during operations, the Commission of Inquiry recommends that:

Finally, considering the importance of a permanent dialogue on safety issues with a national feedback system, the Commission of Inquiry recommends that:




Decision No 283/cab/M of 6 March 2003



Transcript of radio-communications




13 h 50 min 26 s


Tamanrasset rebonjour Air Algérie 6289

13 h 50 min 30 s


6289 Tamanrasset bonjour

13 h 50 min 33 s


Oui s'il vous plaît les derniers paramètres merci

13 h 50 min 37 s


Oui le vent est calme CAVOK température 23° QNH 1020 QFE 965 à vous

13 h 50 min 44 s


Copié merci je vous rappelle pour mise en route

13 h 52 min 20 s


6289 Tamanrasset

13 h 52 min 23 s


Je vous écoute

13 h 52 min 24 s


Le dernier QNH 1019

13 h 52 min 28 s


1019 reçu

13 h 56 min 21 s


Juliet Alpha d'Echo Zoulou

13 h 58 min 37 s


Juliet Alpha d' Echo Zoulou (Saut de la référence temps)

13 h 58 min 47 s


Juliet Alpha d' Echo Zoulou

14 h 01 min 37 s


Tamanrasset 6289 mise en route sur Ghardaïa s'il vous plaît

(+ 2 min)


(Saut de la référence temps)

14 h 03 min 21 s


Reçu on vous rappelle

14 h 03 min 23 s



14 h 05 min 01 s


6289 Tamanrasset

14 h 05 min 03 s


Je vous écoute

14 h 05 min 04 s


Mise en route approuvée, rappelez au décollage

14 h 05 min 06 s



14 h 08 min 32 s


Pour rouler Air Algérie 6289

14 h 08 min 36 s


6289 Tamanrasset roulez pénétrez remontez piste 02-030 degré force 10 kt

14 h 08 min 43 s


Bien reçu on roule pour la 02, on remonte reçu 6289

14 h 09 min 33 s


6289 Tamanrasset

14 h 09 min 36 s


Oui monsieur je vous écoute

14 h 09 min 38 s


De la part des opérations de Ghardaïa ils vous demandent le nombre de transitaires

14 h 09 min 42 s


Confirmez s' il vous plaît

14 h 09 min 44 s


Oui les opérations de Ghardaïa ils vous demandent le nombre de transits

14 h 09 min 49 s


Quarante passagers de transit sur Alger

14 h 09 min 52 s



14 h 11 min 24 s


6289 Tamanrasset de la part d' Alger initialement niveau Deux Huit Zéro destination Ghardaïa Via point TIFOU

14 h 11 min 33 s


Bien reçu destination Ghardaïa initialement Deux Huit Zéro Via TIFOU Air Algérie 6289

14 h 12 min 30 s


On est paré 6289

14 h 12 min 31 s


6289 Tamanrasset autorisé à vous aligner et décoller en piste 02 - 330 en force 12 noeuds

14 h 12 min 55 s


Bien reçu on s' aligne et on décolle en piste zéro deux Air Algérie 6289

14 h 13 min 36 s


On décolle 02

14 h 13 min 40 s


Deux coups porteuse (accusé réception)

14 h 15 min 04 s


On a un petit problème 6230 …89

Remarque : les temps enregistrés sur la piste UTC présentent des variations semble-t-il aléatoires. Ils ne peuvent donc représenter une référence absolue.




CVR Transcript



The following is a transcript of the elements which were comprehensible at the time of the readout of the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) of the Boeing 737-200 registered 7T-VEZ involved in the accident at Tamanrasset on 6 March 2003. This transcript contains conversations between crew members, radiotelephonic messages and various noises corresponding, for example, to the movement of selectors or to alarms.

The reader's attention is drawn to the fact that the recording and transcript of the CVR are only a partial reflection of events and of the atmosphere in a cockpit. Consequently, the utmost care is required in the interpretation of this document.

The voices of crew members are heard via the cockpit area microphone (CAM). They are placed in separate columns for reasons of clarity. One column is reserved for the voices of others, noises and alarms, also heard via the CAM.



UTC time given by the ATC center


Synthetic voice

Communication to ATC, from the ground and from the cabin crew by interphone


The words or groups of words in italics are translated from the Arabic

( )

Words or groups of words in parentheses are doubtful


Words or groups of words not understood


FDR Graphs


Performance calculations


Engine failure on take-off



(1) Except where otherwise noted, the times shown in this report are expressed in Universal Time Coordinated (UTC). One hour should be added to obtain the applicable time in Algeria on the day of the accident.

(2) It was not possible to determine whether this abnormal value corresponded to the display made before the flight or resulted from manipulation after the accident. (See