On 31 October 2010, a Jetstar Airways operated Airbus A320-232 aircraft, registered VH-VQT (VQT), departed Darwin, Northern Territory on a scheduled passenger service to Adelaide, South Australia.
During pushback and taxi, the active runway changed twice due to a shift in wind direction. The flight crew sought information about the weather in the vicinity of the airport before taking off, using onboard weather radar as well as information from Air Traffic Control. They were unaware that there was a moderate thunderstorm cell above the airport at the time of departure.
During the takeoff roll, the aircraft encountered an intense rain shower and reduction in headwind as the aircraft approached rotation speed. After becoming airborne, and following selection of the gear up, the flight crew received a windshear alert and initiated the windshear escape manoeuvre. A review of recorded flight data indicated that the aircraft maintained a positive rate of climb but that the rate of climb reduced from about 1,500 ft/min to below 1,000ft/min for up to five seconds and reached a minimum, momentary value of 466 ft/min during the event.
The flight continued to Adelaide.
As a result of the incident, Jetstar Airways conducted an internal investigation and disseminated a Safety Update to all flight crew, describing the details of the event and reminding crews to be extra vigilant in similar circumstances.
The Department of Defence advised that they have issued a Safety Flash to all Australian Defence Force air traffic controllers describing the details of this event. Controllers were reminded of the importance of accurate and timely sharing of information in a changing environment like that experienced during this occurrence.