School children cause Qantas plane to 'nose-dive'

87 light children sat at back of plane causing weight drama

Updated: 
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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.

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