Crashed Airbus A400M experienced engine control problem

The Spainish military air crash investigation agency, CITAAM investigating the May 9 crash of Airbus A400M military transport in Spain have completed readouts of the DFDR (digital flight data recorder) and CVR (cockpit voice recorder).

Preliminary analysis conducted by CITAAM with representatives from Airbus Defence and Space, confirmed that engines 1, 2 and 3 of the four Europrop International TP400-D6 engines, experienced power frozen after lift-off and did not respond to the crew’s attempts to control the power setting in the normal way, whilst engine 4 responded to throttle demands.

When the power levers were set to “flight idle” in an attempt to reduce power, the power reduced but then remained at “flight idle” on the three affected engines for the remainder of the flight despite attempts by the crew to regain power.

Preliminary analyses have shown that all other aircraft systems performed normally and did not identify any other abnormalities throughout the flight.

The crash is now attributed to a software clitch, rather than a engine design issue.

Airbus has sent an Accident Information Transmission (AIT) on 2 June as an update to the Alert Operator Transmission (AOT) of last 19 May to all operators of the A400M.

The AOT required Operators to perform one-time specific checks of the Electronic Control Units (ECU) on each of the aircraft’s engines before next flight and introduces additional detailed checks to be carried out in the event of any subsequent engine or ECU replacement.

The A440M crash has been a huge setback to Airbus's already struggling program, following cost overrun and capability shortfalls.