Some photographs are beginning to circulate more or less covertly of an astonishing air crash. This took place in France, at Toulouse, where a European consortium is building the Airbus 340-600, the largest passenger airliner ever designed or built. All sorts of criticisms have been made of this gigantic project, but the aircraft is in production regardless.
Etihad Airways (ultimately Iranian-owned, I believe, but am not in a position to confirm) is interested in purchasing the Airbus, and an Arab flight crew of seven men from Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT) arrived in Toulouse for pre-delivery testing. In a brand new aircraft with no previous airtime, the crew taxied to the run-up area. They couldn’t handle it, they made one mistake after another, losing control and finally wrecking the aircraft against a blast barrier. The photographs show impressive heaps of scrap, with the Etihad logo legible on the fusillage. And that’s $200 million down the drain. The fate of the ADAT crew is unknown.
I have the story from a source I think is reliable, but a news blackout in the media in France and elsewhere means that it cannot be checked. The reason for the secrecy, according to my informant, is that the story is deemed insulting to Muslims.