On 22 November 2011, during pre-flight performance calculations at Melbourne Airport, the crew of a Qantas Airways Boeing B737-476 aircraft, registered VH-TJL, inadvertently used the full length runway 16 distance to calculate the take-off performance figures despite planning a runway 16/taxiway Echo intersection departure. Neither crew identified the error, which produced inappropriately high take-off reference speeds. During the take-off run the crew realised there was inaccuracy in the figures and elected to continue the takeoff, rotating the aircraft below the calculated rotation speed (VR). The error was attributed to the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) menu structure defaulting to the full runway length.
As a result of this incident, Qantas Airlines advised that they have modified the EFB to require a positive selection of the runway length. The application of correct operating data is a foundational and critical element of flight safety, but errors in the calculation, entry and checking of data are not uncommon. The ATSB has published a research report that addresses the issue.