Captain's Aircraft Acceptance

Captain's Aircraft Acceptance


The formal pre-flight acceptance in the Aircraft Technical Log by the designated aircraft commander that both the aircraft and the Aircraft Technical Log have been inspected and found to be, respectively, fit for flight and in order.


This acceptance is a formal pre-flight certification in the Aircraft Technical Log by the pilot who will be in command of an intended flight. By signature, the certifying pilot indicates that sufficient checks of the aircraft status have been carried out to be able to indicate that they are satisfied that, to the extent that they are able to ascertain, the aircraft is airworthy to the degree necessary to safely complete the intended flight. The signature also indicates that the pilot in command is satisfied that the log book is in compliance with all associated documentary requirements for which the Aircraft Technical Log is the recording medium. One of the specific implied requirements is that the signatory or a suitable person specifically delegated by them has carried out an external aircraft inspection as well as all the specified pre-departure flight deck-based system checks required under AFM or AOM procedures prior to the intended flight. It is evident from the above that the first flight of the day and/or the first flight to be undertaken by a new aircraft commander are likely to require more activity prior to the acceptance signature.

Accidents & Incidents

Events in the SKYbrary database which include aircraft acceptance as a contributory factor:

On 27 July 2019, a fuel configuration advisory was annunciated on a Boeing 767-300 about to depart Auckland as a result of wing tank imbalance. Having established there was no evidence of a fuel leak, they planned to correct the imbalance in flight but then delayed this until it had exceeded the permitted limits. The fault was only verbally reported after flight and the aircraft continued to operate without centre tank use with maintenance remaining unaware of the fault for several days. The cause of imbalance was a fuel system fault subject to a crew response which was not followed.

On 23 April 2005, a Boeing 737-800 being operated by Turkish charter airline Sky Air on a passenger flight from Stuttgart to Dusseldorf tipped onto its tail when take off thrust was applied for the intended departure from Runway 25 in normal day visibility. The attempt to take off was immediately abandoned and the aircraft towed back to the gate for the 100 passengers to disembark. One of the cabin crew was slightly injured and the aircraft was severely damaged .

On 2 October 1996, the crew of an Aero Peru Boeing 757 which had just made a night take off from Lima after maintenance found that all their altimeters, ASIs and VSIs were malfunctioning. A return was attempted but they did not respond to correctly functioning SPS or GPWS activations or use their RADALT indications and control was lost and sea impact followed. The instrument malfunctions were attributed to protective tape placed over the static ports which was not removed by maintenance before release to service or noticed by the crew during their pre flight checks.

On 4 July 2009, an Airbus A332 being operated by Jetstar Airways on a scheduled passenger flight from Sydney to Melbourne carried a 750 kg ULD which had been expressly rejected by the aircraft commander during the loading operation without flight crew awareness. There was no reported effect on aircraft handling during the flight.

On 11 August 2010, a Douglas DC8-63F being operated by Afghanistan-based operator Kam Air on a non scheduled cargo flight from Manston UK to Sal, Cape Verde Islands failed to get airborne until after the end of departure runway 28 during a daylight take off in normal visibility. The aircraft eventually became airborne and climbed away normally and when ATC advised of the tail strike, the aircraft commander elected to continue the flight as planned and this was achieved without further event. Minor damage to the aircraft was found after flight and there was also damage to an approach light for the reciprocal runway direction.

On 7 December 2003, a Boeing 737-800 being operated by SAS on a passenger charter flight from Salzburg, Austria to Stockholm Arlanda with an intermediate stop at Goteborg made a high speed rejected take off during the departure from Goteborg because of an un-commanded premature rotation. There were no injuries to any occupants and no damage to the aircraft which taxied back to the gate.

On 13 September 2000, an Airbus A320-200 being operated by Canadian airline Skyservice on a domestic passenger charter flight from Toronto to Edmonton was departing in day VMC when, after a “loud bang and shudder” during rotation, evidence of left engine malfunction occurred during initial climb and the flight crew declared an emergency and returned for an immediate overweight landing on the departure runway which necessitated navigation around several pieces of debris, later confirmed as the fan cowlings of the left engine. There were no injuries to the occupants.

On 21 March 2001 an Airbus A320-200, operated by Lufthansa, experienced a flight controls malfunctions shortly after take-off which resulted in loss of control and subsequent near terrain impact. The uncontrolled roll, due to the malfunction of the pilot flying's sidestick, was recovered by the other pilot and the aircraft safely returned to land in Frankfurt without further incident.

On 7 September 2008 a South African Airways Airbus A319 en route from Cape Town to Johannesburg at FL370 received an ECAM warning of the failure of the No 1 engine bleed system. The crew then closed the No. 1 engine bleed with the applicable press button on the overhead panel. The cabin altitude started to increase dramatically and the cockpit crew advised ATC of the pressurisation problem and requested an emergency descent to a lower level. During the emergency descent to 11000 ft amsl, the cabin altitude warning sounded at 33000ft and the flight crew activated the cabin oxygen masks. The APU was started and pressurisation was re-established at 15000ft amsl. The crew completed the flight to the planned destination without any further event. The crew and passengers sustained no injuries and no damage was caused to the aircraft.

On 28 November 2004, the crew of a Bombardier Challenger 601 lost control of their aircraft soon after getting airborne from Montrose and it crashed and caught fire killing three occupants and seriously injuring the other three. The Investigation found that the loss of control had been the result of a stall caused by frozen deposits on the upper wing surfaces after the crew had failed to ensure that the wings were clean or utilise the available ground de/anti ice service. It was concluded that the pilots' lack of experience of winter weather operations had contributed to their actions/inactions.

On 28th April 1999, an AS-355 helicopter suffered an in-flight fire attributed to an electrical fault which had originated from a prior maintenance error undetected during incomplete pre-flight inspections. The aircraft carried out an immediate landing allowing evacuation before the aircraft was destroyed by an intense fire.

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