A group of primary school children unwittingly caused a mid-air scare when the Qantas plane they were on went 'nose-heavy' - because they were too light.
The 150 passengers on the flight heading from Canberra to Perth were made up of 87 children, who were travelling as part of a group and were all seated at the back.
The children's average age was 12 but they had all been assigned the standard adult weight of 87kg during check-in. That is almost three times the standard weight of 32kg for a child aged 11 and under.
The miscalculation meant the plane's nose dipped upon takeoff, and the captain had to pull back his elevator controls to rotate the aircraft and lift off from the runway at Canberra Airport.
He then had to maintain steady pressure on the plane's control column to ensure the aircraft's tail didn't hit the runway during the takeoff, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
The children were returning to Perth, accompanied by nine adults, after a school trip to Canberra.
The 9 May incident prompted an investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, reports news.com.au.
New advice about booking large groups of children has reportedly now been issued by Qantas.
Ten things you never knew you could do in Australia
School children cause Qantas plane to 'nose-dive'
Broome in Kimberley, north-western Australia, is one of the most remote towns in the world but once you’re there, you will be rewarded with a beautiful natural phenomenon. The Staircase to the Moon is an optical illusion that occurs when the full moon casts its reflection off exposed mudflats during low tide, creating the impression of a golden staircase. This remarkable rarity occurs just three nights each month between March and October.
The mercury can hit as high as 47 degrees in Coober Pedy, the largest opal mining area in the world. This exhausting heat is why most residents in this South Australian Outback town live underground in dugout-style homes. Visitors can experience this unique way of living by staying at the Desert Cave Hotel, which has 19 underground rooms built into the sandstone and, as a result, gleam a glittery gold. For more underground hotels, see this selection from Flight Centre.
Price: $260 per night
Nullarbor Links, the world’s longest golf course, took five years to build, covers two states, takes four days to complete and was dreamed up over a couple of beers. The 18-hole golf course spans a whopping 848 miles from Ceduna in South Australia to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. There are nearly 50 miles between some holes which can be found along Mile Straight, the most famous stretch of dead-straight road in Australia, and a selection of motels, petrol stations and wombat holes.
Forget bring your own booze – Sydney’s diners bring their own crab. Malacca Straits on Broadway is a Malaysian restaurant located in Ultimo, an inner-city suburb close to the Sydney Fish Markets. For $20, Chef Tan will return your crab dressed in a Singapore chilli sauce or Kam Heong. It’s not first date food but at least you know it’s fresh.
For the ultimate overnight experience, head to the Whitsundays and spend a night on the Great Barrier Reef. Reefsleep’s luxury pontoons are permanently moored at Hardy Reef, 40 nautical miles from the coast. The only overnight option on the world's largest coral reef offers a package that includes snorkelling, semi-sub rides and night-time diving.
Price: $440 per tent, per night
Lake Lefroy, a hard and huge dazzling salt plain in the south west of the country, is the perfect spot for the unusual sport of land sailing. Land yachts have three wheels and a seat for the driver who controls his vessel with nothing other than foot controls and a hand-held rope. The flat, open space invites strong winds that will send you flying along at speeds of up to 100 km per hour.
Tiny Tasmania is regularly overlooked by the bold attractions of Australia’s mainland but it’s been busy racking up cool credentials in recent years. The creative Avalon City Retreat is a 17-metre glass pod that was lifted by crane in a single block to crown a nine-storey office block. The two bedrooms sit at opposite ends of the sleek capsule and, needless to say, the views of Hobart are quite spectacular.
Price: From $680 per night
Australians like to compare their Running of the Sheep in Boorowa, a Irish settler town close to Canberra, to Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls (we assume in jest). Every October, farm dogs shepherd a large flock of sheep along Boorowa’s main street and, following the flock, is a street parade consisting of Irish dancers, floats and a fashion parade where humans model woolen clothes.
Grove Hill Heritage Hotel, which looks a little like a tin shed, sits in an old gold mining locality in the Northern Territory and was built in 1934 from the materials found at abandoned mining sites. It’s as basic as a hotel can be, but on the last Saturday of every month it puts on a free barbeque and live music for the town and its guests. Price: From £78 per night.
Wilpena Pound, a natural amphitheatre that looks like a meteorite crater, is believed to be an incredible 800 million years old. The mountain range sits in the Outback’s dusty Flinders Ranges National Park, a six hour drive from Adelaide. Visitors can camp at the foot of its majestic walls in the Ikara Safari Camp, a cluster of 15 high-end safari tents. Start your day with a scenic flight over the pound, just as the sun rises, and see her in all her glory.
If you want to return a beloved, deceased relation to their homeland, you'll usually have to pay repatriation fees. One way to get round these is to do what two German women allegedly did when Curt Willi Jarant, the women's 91 year old husband/stepfather died and they wanted to fly him home to Germany: bundle him into a wheelchair, stick some sunglasses on him and say he's 'sleeping'. Only trouble is, someone eventually noticed.
Ok, it's slightly annoying and uncomfortable when someone reclines their seat right back during the meal service, but it probably doesn't justify full blown fisticuffs, resulting in an F-16 fighter jet escort back to Washington and $50,000 worth of fuel being dumped, as happened on an American flight to Ghana last year.
It may be tough flying with babies, but if you cause a stink you could be in big trouble. One passenger who cleaned up her baby on a Qantas flight was held responsible for grounding a flight after cabin crew panicked about the 'strange smell'. The flight had to make an emergency landing at Mt Isa, where passengers say they had to be forklifted off the plane because the airport didn't have the facilities to disembark the huge Boeing 767. Not a good look.
Strange as it may sound, one Dutch passenger was caught trying to smuggle hummingbirds in his pants on a flight from French Guiana in September 2011. They were sewn inside his pants, each individually wrapped in cloth and taped up to stop them escape him. Not surprisingly, he was spotted fidgeting and was eventually arrested... lesson learned (we presume).
Tempting as it may be, shutting a toddler in with the hand luggage is a definite no-no. One flight attendant was sacked for doing just that on a Virgin Blue flight in 2011. According to mum Natalie Williamson, he came and put her son Riley into a locker and closed the latch. He claimed it was part of a game of peekaboo, but Natalie - and the airline - saw things differently...
You know how it is - you go on holiday, spot a cute monkey, think how sweet it would be to have as a pet...For most of us, the fantasy ends there. Not so the American woman who spent an entire flight home from Thailand with a drugged rhesus monkey strapped to her to look like a pregnant belly. Incredibly, she got through security back home in LA, and was only caught when she blabbed to a shop assistant, who informed the (slightly embarrassed) authorities.
It's far better to cross your legs - believe us. French actor Gerard Depardieu was thrown off a City Jet flight from Paris to Dublin last August for urinating on the plane. The aircraft was ready to take off when the actor asked to use the toilet - but he was told by staff to stay in his seat. He resorted to peeing into a bottle, much to the chagrin of cabin crew. When some spilled onto the floor, the crew alerted the pilot and the plane had to taxi back to the terminal, where Depardieu was escorted off the plane.
Anyone who has children themselves (or even just a smidgen of common sense) will know that throwing water on a screaming baby is not the best way to quieten it, but this was the approach American passenger Ronald Duffy chose on a flight to Brazil in 2004. He was almost lynched by fellow passengers, his visa was revoked, he was deported...and still the baby kept crying (probably).
It's not actually possible to open a plane's emergency exits when its in the air, but that knowledge would probably have done little to reassure passengers onboard a flight from Palma to Newcastle last year when a 22-year old man tried to pull open the plane doors at 36,000 ft, screaming 'it's ok, we're just on a flight simulator.' It took eight seat belts to restrain him and six police officers were waiting to arrest him when the plane made an emergency landing at Gatwick.
A recent survey found that one in ten Brits claim have joined the 'Mile High Club' by having sex in a plane loo - but it could get you into serious trouble, as one Australian couple discovered on a flight in Queensland in December 2011. The pair were caught in a compromising position in the plane toilet - and the man was promptly charged with offensive and disorderly conduct under the Civil Aviation Safety Act.
Despite the fact that smoking has been banned on aeroplanes for the last 15 years it didn't stop a Canadian family of three from lighting up on a flight to the Dominincan Republic. The plane was forced to divert and make an unscheduled landing in Bermuda and the other passengers had to spend the night in a hotel before continuing their journeys the next day. No prizes for guessing who the most unpopular passengers on that flight were!
It's no secret that most men find air hostesses rather attractive, but one 34-year-old man took his attraction a little bit far when he was caught taking pictures up the skirt of an airline attendant on a Japan Airways flight. He used a small, pen-shaped micro camera to take the photos and admitted that he couldn't help himself as he was "aroused by uniforms." However, he managed to escape criminal charges - because prosecutors couldn't determine exactly which part of Japan the plane was flying over at the time of the incident.