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British Airways Incident at Johannesburg

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British Airways Incident at Johannesburg

Old 26th Dec 2013, 14:58
  #281 (permalink)  
 
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ATC have the answer to that in their hands, they should just tell BA to enter the runway, taxi down to a suitable exit and vacate and go the the back of the queue for take off..... simples.
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 15:32
  #282 (permalink)  
 
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SMOC
Ever flown to china? please explain how your would brief the relevant bits

All I'm saying is a blanket statement of briefing taxi plans is not always practical so I can see Check Airman's point, going through the motions as part of an SOP knowing full well that the taxi instructions are very fluid and unlikely to be "as briefed" is pointless. It's probably to do with the fact that I'm flying in Asia where the obvious taxi instructions are rarely given.
You obviously missed the point about it being a first step in orientation as to the possible routes to the runway and taking a good look to identify threats. If all you're doing it blabbing out a route and not taking a good look and considering threats, then indeed there would be no point. All you're really saying is you don't want to put any thought into it beforehand. That's your choice, but your stated reason for not doing so is weak and doesn't wash.

China is not singular, or different than any other case/location as far as the stated reasons (establishing orientation, emphasizing/prioritizing vigilance, identifying threats before movement begins) for doing it are concerned. I've flown into/out of China and domestically/internally in China oh, probably a couple hundred times over the years and its nowhere near the worst-equipped, dysfunctional, or confusing place out there. LaGuardia, O'Hare, or Boston are crazier with taxi clearance changes on a busy, lousy day. Airport infrastructure/lighting/signage and paint on the pavement are far worse in half the airports in Africa and S. America than what you'll find in the Peeps Republic. And you speak of not bothering because you'll get changes in instructions, in China at least you can usually understand what ATC is clearing you for. If you have an idea of where they're likely to send you, understanding the clearance as spoken becomes much easier.

It's your prerogative not to brief the taxi. It's your prerogative not to brief or anticipate anything during your entire flight if you can convince yourself it's not really worth trying due to how dynamic and changeable flying is. Blow it off, it's your ship, but if anything happens in the end it's you who'll have to do the explaining as to why whatever bit you was a big surprise.
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 16:12
  #283 (permalink)  
 
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What, if anything, has happened to G-BNLL since Sunday? We have seen photographs that indicate that it has been extricated from the building, but no other information about what is happening.

Some photographs suggest that damage is limited to the area in front of a spar that runs out to the winglet, and that the lower surface is relatively intact.

So will repairs require no more (assuming that that spar and structures nearer the root are not deformed) than replacement of 20-footsworth of ribs, associated skin, and some wiring? Not forgetting a new winglet.
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 16:18
  #284 (permalink)  
 
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SOP

A 'Provisional Loadsheet' system is used at BA to assist on time departures.

So-called 'Final Figures' are then passed to the crew via ACARS which are either 'No Change' or 'Last Minute Changes' (LMC) dependent of the magnitude by which certain of the provisional parameters change from the point of push back.

The latter requires reprogramming of the FMC and cross-checking by the handling pilot. It also requires the aircraft to be brought to a stop due to the possibility of distractions occurring. Some macho pilots ignore this and continue taxying.

On this service approx 1,000 kgs of freight no-showed, but due to another BA flight to LHR being oversold there were some additions in the passenger load. However, the net change in ZFW and index was small , thus an 'LMC' was not triggered.

This removes any possibility that the crew would have been distracted by BA's SOP's per se.

On the the other hand we know BA leave pilots roundly unpunished for sending a lewd sexual texts whilst uniformed, on the flight deck and operating flights in direct contravention of the law and their employment contract - if you don't believe this sort of thing goes on just 'Google' the following 4 words 'Sun newspaper pilot text'.

Now, I'm not saying this was the case here, but maybe just maybe the crew dropped their guard and became distracted by non essential tasks.

Either scenario is negligent and sackable.
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 16:43
  #285 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Top Bunk
ATC have the answer to that in their hands, they should just tell BA to enter the runway, taxi down to a suitable exit and vacate and go the the back of the queue for take off..... simples.
We do. ATC should be pro-active knowing that BA have their load issues and find out as early as possible if they will be ready at the runway. If there is any doubt, ATC should move the offending flight out of the main flow of traffic until they are ready. We shouldn't put them in the position of having to do the LMC whilst moving just because a line has formed behind them. Likewise, the crew should inform ATC if they believe there will be a delay to them being ready in good time so that another plan can be formulated. It all comes under professionalism.
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 17:17
  #286 (permalink)  
 
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You've got to love prune.

747 loses an engine. Crew elect to continue. Land safely. Castigated on prune.

A380 loses engine. Continues. Lands safely. Castigated on prune.

Now 747 collides with building, crew elect not to evacuate. All is well. castigated on prune.

One would imagine the safe outcome would show who was right. Apparently not.

I'll add my name to the list of people held up by BA at the holding point whilst they "wait for numbers". Especially annoying when they have been pushing for taxi ahead of other aircraft, causing all of us unfortunate enough to be stuck behind them to be delayed. Poor show. A touch of common sense, or airmanship as it can be known elsewhere would dictate to give way to everyone who actually is telling the truth when they say they're ready.
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 17:29
  #287 (permalink)  
Sir George Cayley
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I understood BA taxi along Alpha to the 03L hold to await the numbers whilst other traffic by-passes them on Bravo.

If this is the norm why this departure routed along Bravo may be key to understanding the sequence of events.
 
Old 26th Dec 2013, 17:45
  #288 (permalink)  
 
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On this service approx 1,000 kgs of freight no-showed, but due to another BA
flight to LHR being oversold there were some additions in the passenger load.
However, the net change in ZFW and index was small , thus an 'LMC' was not
triggered.
Never ceased to amaze me; this practice of receiving Final load sheet after pushback/during taxi. Asking for trouble IMHO (and I'm sure this has been discussed ad nauseam in previous posts, and so apologies if bringing up same again).

Do BA really still stick to this procedure? If so, why?! In my outfit, we can go up to 2 tons above flt plan/prelim figures for performance calcs. Final load sheet figures should normally be well below that. If so, no changes to figures (such as if lower temp, higher QNH, more favorable wind comp, aft CG turn up. It all means you stay conservative, so stick with current figures. 777 OPT allows it).

Everything done/briefed before pushback, including possible last minute change of runway (can we do it?), Now lets focus on taxi.

Common sense, aka airmanship?!

(p.s still feel sorry for the guys, S--t happens...., no matter what).
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 19:07
  #289 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by hyatt 1 alpha
A 'Provisional Loadsheet' system is used at BA to assist on time departures.
Correct.

So-called 'Final Figures' are then passed to the crew via ACARS which are either 'No Change' or 'Last Minute Changes' (LMC) dependent of the magnitude by which certain of the provisional parameters change from the point of push back.
Close, but no cigar.

The latter requires reprogramming of the FMC and cross-checking by the handling pilot. It also requires the aircraft to be brought to a stop due to the possibility of distractions occurring. Some macho pilots ignore this and continue taxying.
Incorrect.

On this service approx 1,000 kgs of freight no-showed, but due to another BA flight to LHR being oversold there were some additions in the passenger load. However, the net change in ZFW and index was small , thus an 'LMC' was not triggered. This removes any possibility that the crew would have been distracted by BA's SOP's per se.
Clearly you are not au fait with BA 747 SOPs!

On the the other hand we know BA leave pilots roundly unpunished for sending a lewd sexual texts whilst uniformed, on the flight deck and operating flights in direct contravention of the law and their employment contract - if you don't believe this sort of thing goes on just 'Google' the following 4 words 'Sun newspaper pilot text'.
Or alternatively BA don't think they should punish a pilot because he sent a comic text to a girlfriend whilst on a turnaround and said girlfriend became embittered and sent it to the press. An entirely reasonable decision in my opinion. Perhaps you'd explain to us which laws were broken in that particular case?


Now, I'm not saying this was the case here, but maybe just maybe the crew dropped their guard and became distracted by non essential tasks.

Either scenario is negligent and sackable.
I disagree, as probably would most rational professional pilots who don't have a rather obvious axe to grind.
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 19:25
  #290 (permalink)  
 
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Been getting final load sheet after departure for 25 yrs. Company wide it's thousands of flights per day x decades. Update the FMC/numbers if required. Stop the a/c if required.


Mgt pilot displayed me on a leg. Gave the FO, a former Captain, a briefing on the taxi route that the FO had done hundreds of times. Day VFR. Not required per SOP. Painful.


Heads down is safe in places. In other places it absolutely isn't safe. The amount of time where it is safe to go head down varies. Know the difference and act/perform accordingly.
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 21:35
  #291 (permalink)  
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Sir George Cayley

I understood BA taxi along Alpha to the 03L hold to await the numbers whilst other traffic by-passes them on Bravo.

If this is the norm why this departure routed along Bravo may be key to understanding the sequence of events.
That would be the norm if their starting point had been the usual "E" (echo) parking stands

That night the aircraft started out from an "A" (Alpha) parking stand, thus the taxi was thru the main apron which exits directly onto taxiway Bravo.
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 22:32
  #292 (permalink)  
 
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This really strkes a chord with me:
That said I do think the events this year should be a wake up call to some at BA (not just management) who seem to think that safety is a given, that the ability to operate the aircraft now comes secondary to being customer focused and that the answer to each and every problem is to produce an app for the iPad.
Safety does indeed seem to be thought of as just what we do! The number of additional (non primary) tasks which are either required or encouraged is very much on the increase.

Last minute loadsheets, sometimes by radio. Single engine taxi out. Ipad apps. BFD. Constant changes to procedures.

Yes, they are all manageable by a reasonably organised crew having a reasonable day. But they all have the potential to distract from the primary task, particularly on a bad day. At that point you are relying on individuals to both recognise and accept their own limitations. Prioritising the most important stuff even when under pressure which may occasionally be self induced!

It's difficult to conceive that distraction from the primary task was not involved here? I'll be absolutely intrigued to hear how that happened.

hyatt_1_alpha

If you work for BA, be very careful.
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 23:04
  #293 (permalink)  
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It's been said before:
Whether it's the load sheet, unfamiliar taxi route, poor signage on taxiway M or whatever then the managers know that the Cpt will carry the can.

YES, the Cpt gets the big bucks but the flight crew are seeing the demands on their working time, leisure time, and brains increased steadily and the mgmt stay on the golf course, tut-tutting that some lousy Cpt couldn't hack it ....

It's Catch 22.
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Old 26th Dec 2013, 23:38
  #294 (permalink)  
 
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Old 27th Dec 2013, 01:53
  #295 (permalink)  
 
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With a "taxi way" that narrow one ought to give kudos to the crew keeping all of the heavy vesselís wheels on solid ground ... inches to spare I am sure.
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Old 27th Dec 2013, 07:59
  #296 (permalink)  
 
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Several posters have stated that they have taken similar 'wrong turns' at night, fortunately without consequence. As a pax with great respect for the safety culture of the aviation industry, I would like to know if such incidents are reported/investigated as they would be (I think) if they happened in the air.

It appears that this precise event had occurred before at JNB (not to mention many other airports), but not with an aircraft with sufficient wingspan to cause an accident. In which case it was truly an accident waiting to happen, which I would have hoped could have been identified and mitigated if previous incidents had been reported and responded to.
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Old 27th Dec 2013, 08:12
  #297 (permalink)  
 
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It just deepens on how much trouble they cause. If someone takes a wrong turn, and it *doesn't* result in a runway incursion, and it doesn't cause a conflict with other taxiing aircraft, and it's easily resolved by ground control issuing amended taxi instructions, it's quite probable that nothing would ever come of it.

In this particular situation, a wrong turn at that that location would probably result in needing a tug to unwind the situation, even if no buildings were contacted and that sort of mess usually triggers reports and investigations.
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Old 27th Dec 2013, 08:16
  #298 (permalink)  
 
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Loadsheet before departure

A 'Provisional Loadsheet' system is used at BA to assist on time departures.

So-called 'Final Figures' are then passed to the crew via ACARS which are either 'No Change' or 'Last Minute Changes' (LMC)
I think maybe BA should revisit the need for loadsheet generating from afar (via ACARS) and start using final figures before pushing back. It would solve a number of issues here mentioned, at the very minimum.
  • It prevents the need for reprogramming an FMC after movng under its own power following e.g. a weight change;
  • It enables both crew to keep their attention focussed on the critical phase of flight called taxiing;
  • Modern performance methods and/or systems used in some other airlines are instant, they do not rely on a (London based) central performance department issuing instructions to crew scattered globally taxiing their aircraft, totally unaware of the delays it causes other operators;

A risk assessment would be justified if such a change in SOP's could benefit this company.
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Old 27th Dec 2013, 08:39
  #299 (permalink)  
 
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I don't think the final figures are to blame here. Remember, there were three pilots on the flight deck on this flight. Quite often the 'heavy' will deal with the figures.

Also, BA has recently changed the SOP's on the 747 substantially. One noticeable upside of this was the removal of nearly all distractions during the taxi phase. (I.e. the flight controls are now checked before taxi etc).

This was just a simple mistake in a very dark area of the airfield. Unfortunately, the consequences were severe. Looking at the photos on here, it is a very badly designed portion of the taxiway.
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Old 27th Dec 2013, 08:45
  #300 (permalink)  
 
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It enables both crew to keep their attention focused on the critical phase of flight called taxiing;
Good point - its a hole in the cheese whichever way you look at it

Modern performance methods and/or systems used in some other airlines are instant, they do not rely on a (London based) central performance department issuing instructions to crew scattered globally taxiing their aircraft, totally unaware of the delays it causes other operators
I know quite a few Nigels and they are very totally aware of it, believe me. My understanding is that it isn't just London based, there are, or used to be, several additional regional centres which handle BA clearances via ACARS. Are there any alternatives that are as safe? Crew operated Laptop? (think MK - Halifax). You could argue that they shouldn't push back or should push back and hold while waiting, however, but on a crowded ramp or when there is a shortage of gate space that is possibly just as bad.

I'm not a professional runway engineer so I cant say whether the signage at that turn meets international standards but I find it hard to imagine that it passes the red face test at night.
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