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Voyager plunge caused by unsecured camera in cockpit

written by | March 20, 2014
File image of a RAF Voyager. (UK MoD Crown Copyright)
File image of a RAF Voyager. (UK MoD Crown Copyright)

An interim report on an incident in which a UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Voyager A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport rapidly lost altitude has concluded that “human factors” rather than technical issues were to blame. It appears that a pitch-down command inadvertently resulted when a digital camera became jammed between an armrest and the captain’s side-stick unit.

The aircraft known as Voyager ZZ333 was flying at 33,000 feet when it suddenly pitched nose down and dropped 4,440 feet within 27 seconds, according to the interim report released on March 17. At that point, the aircraft’s “self-protection system” initiated recovery to controlled flight and the aircraft diverted to Incirlik Airbase in Turkey.

Almost all of the unrestrained passengers and crew were thrown towards the ceiling, and a number of minor injuries were sustained. The aircraft was carrying a crew of nine and 189 passengers.


The investigation by the UK’s Military Aviation Authority into the incident, which occurred on February 9 during a non-stop flight from RAF Brize Norton to Afghanistan, is set to continue and full findings will be published in due course.

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  • Adrian


    A timely reminder to every one regarding the danger of loose objects in the cockpit.

  • RHHastings


    Must have been on big digital heavy camera.

  • Dane


    Or the suction cup has failed on the gopro. I can’t see why it has taken so long for a report to be released on something that has been caused by the crew.

  • Steven Pam


    A sobering reminder, in this age of GoPro-ing seemingly every flight, to check and double check that cameras are properly mounted. Imagine if the aircraft had been below 4,440 feet at the time of the incident!

  • John Harrison


    I guess it is good they (RAF) told the true story and not trying to cover it up. Full marks to RAF for telling it as it is (or was)

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