Edelweiss A320 Nearly Veers Off Runway, Aborts Takeoff


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As reported by The Aviation Herald, a recent aborted takeoff incident at Zurich Airport is being investigated…

Edelweiss A320 aborts takeoff at high speed

This incident happened on October 27, 2023, and involved Edelweiss Air flight 298 from Zurich, Switzerland (ZRH), to Faro, Portugal (FAO). The flight was operated by a 24-year-old Airbus A320 with the registration code HB-IHY. For those not familiar, Edelweiss Air is a subsidiary of SWISS, and is a predominantly leisure airline.

The aircraft began its takeoff on runway 32 at Zurich Airport, when the crew rejected the takeoff at a speed of around 140 knots, which is very close to the plane’s takeoff speed. As you’ll see in the video, the takeoff roll looks stable at first, but then the plane violently jolts to the left as if it’s going off the runway, before correcting course.

The airline states that during acceleration, the aircraft showed abnormal behavior, prompting the pilots to reject takeoff. Then during deceleration, a tire burst. An investigation is now being performed to determine the cause of this.

The aircraft managed to successfully slow down and vacate the runway, and then taxied to a remote stand. When you abort a takeoff at such a high speed, there’s a risk of fire, so emergency services quickly arrived at the aircraft. Everyone managed to get off the aircraft safely, and passengers were rebooked on another flight. This aircraft hasn’t flown since the incident.

Below you can see a video of the takeoff roll.

What went wrong with this takeoff?

An investigation will no doubt reveal what caused this incident. However, looking at the video, a few things are clear. There’s a crosswind during the takeoff roll, and you can see that there are right rudder inputs during the early portion of the acceleration, to keep the plane on the centerline (for those not familiar with the rudder, it’s the back portion of the tail, and it’s the vertical area that can move left or right).

It’s common to use the rudder to keep the plane on the centerline during takeoff and counteract any crosswinds. What’s very strange is how at the 13 second mark in the above video, there’s a strong left rudder input, which seems to be what sends the plane way off the centerline.

The real question is what caused that, and how it relates to the burst tire:

  • Did one of the pilots provide an incorrect rudder input, or was there some other glitch that caused that? Given the crosswind, this definitely wasn’t a situation where a strong left rudder input should have been provided
  • Did the tire burst because of such a strong rudder input at a high speed, or did the burst tire somehow lead to the rudder input?

Fortunately this incident ended okay, as it could have ended much worse (both in terms of aircraft damage and potential injuries) if the plane had actually veered off the runway at such a high speed.

Bottom line

An Edelweiss Airbus A320 nearly veered off the runway during an aborted takeoff at Zurich Airport. Based on the video, it would appear that there was a crosswind during the takeoff roll, and then for whatever reason, there was an incorrect rudder input. Around the same time, a tire burst. The incident is now being investigated, so I’m curious to see what’s determined.

What do you make of this “exciting” takeoff roll?

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