In an incident that may have been caused by improper weight and balance onboard, an Air Canada 737 MAX 8 rotated on its own, forcing pilots to hold the nose down until the aircraft obtained sufficient takeoff speed.
Air Canada 737 MAX 8 Rotates On Its Own During Vancouver Takeoff
The incident, noted in the Aviation Herald, occurred on December 19, 2021 utilizing a Boeing 737 MAX 8 (C-GEKX) and performing AC234 from Vancouver (YVR) to Edmonton (YEG). 166 passengers and eight crewmembers were onboard.
Rotation is the action of applying back pressure to a yoke or other control device in order to lift the nose wheel off the ground during takeoff.
When the nose rose expectedly, pilots were able to push it down and keep it down until the aircraft gained enough speed for takeoff. The incident is likely attributed to a weight imbalance in the cargo hold, though that is not clear.
Last week I wrote about the Emirates 777-300ER takeoff incident from Dubai and was pleased at how many pilots chimed in. I hope the same is true here, particularly some who may fly the 737 MAX. My questions:
- What could have caused this incident?
- Had the pilots failed to keep the nose down, would the plane have been able to lift itself off the ground?
- Does this happen on other plane types?
An Air Canada 737 MAX 8 rotated on it owns, at least ostensibly pointing to an aft-heavy cargo hold. I’m particularly curious about this incident because I was not aware that an aircraft rotate on its own while speeding down a runway.
image: Air Canada