View Full Version : BMI's Hailstorm damage- Radar turned off!

Pole Hill Billy
1st Jul 2004, 22:23
Plunge-jet pilot turned off radar
John Scheerhout

A PILOT who flew his passenger jet into a terrifying hailstorm had turned off weather-detecting radar, a report revealed today.

The bmi plane with 213 passengers on board plunged thousands of feet and rolled violently as it was hit by massive hailstones which ripped a hole in the nose-cone and shattered the cockpit's outer windscreen.

A dramatic picture of the damaged Airbus was published in the M.E.N. in May last year. The plane was flying to Manchester from Cyprus when the storm hit.

At the time a spokeswoman for the airline described the damage as "minor".

But a report by the Air Accident Investigation branch today says it was "significant" and called the incident "serious".


The report reveals that the 42-year-old pilot of flight BD8412 from Larnaca would have diverted immediately to the nearest airport had he known the full extent of the damage - but he only realised how bad it was when he later left the aircraft.

According to the report he and his co-pilot had failed to use the weather radar as is recommended and were happy that there were no serious problems ahead.

They switched it off and two hours into the flight, as they were over Austria, flew into the eye of a vicious storm which lasted for three minutes.

Several passengers who had failed to heed the captain's "fasten seatbelt" alert were thrown around the cabin.

Although severely shocked, no-one was seriously hurt.

The report said: "As the flight progressed neither pilot adjusted the radar tilt. They were satisfied that the weather. . . posed no significant threat to the aircraft and thus the radar was selected off."

After the incident, the airline issued an instruction to all flight crews reminding them of the correct use of the weather radar.

bmi declined to comment on the report.

1st Jul 2004, 22:51
Whats your point PHB ?

Although severely shocked, no-one was seriously hurt.

Contradiction in terms, as shock is directly attributed to blood loss.

One of many pieces of journalistic bullsh1t in this report.

1st Jul 2004, 22:53
a report by the Air Accident Investigation branch today "Today"? This report was published about three weeks ago. Good to see another media outlet right on the ball.

1st Jul 2004, 23:44

Sorry to be picky but -

Neurogenic Shock
Septic Shock
Cardiogenic Shock
and even
Rattle of keys, her husband is home Shock

and not one of them "directly attributed to blood loss", well except maybe when husband comes home!



1st Jul 2004, 23:52
"...plunged thousands of feet..." gimmie a break.
Besides, the radar doesn't have much of a return from hail, so suspect the 'radar off' was not a factor.

'Course, if there were indeed TS in the area, would have thought the radar should be on....but maybe BMI 'knows better'...:}

1st Jul 2004, 23:54
What a load of crap!!!

The sad thing is there are many who believe this kind of bull$hit..

Are these people not capable of just sticking to the facts?? Why does every event concerned with avation have to be reported with such drama???

Well the PIC is well and truly named and shamed now. Shame the most factual part of the above is probably the age of the pilot and the flight number.. Was it not enough that this event was captured by some a$$hole and put on national TV along with close up footage of the crew..

The only fact that wasn't mentioned was the body count which was=== ZERO..

Hats off for a good day at the office BMI crew!!!!

Where did you quote this from?? Daily Mirror??

2nd Jul 2004, 02:58
"The only fact that wasn't mentioned was the body count which was=== ZERO.."

I think this quote from the news report makes that point very clearly:

"Although severely shocked, no-one was seriously hurt."

Wig Wag
2nd Jul 2004, 07:08

I think it behoves us all, as aviators, to read this very interesting report by the AAIB.

Follow the link to:


Right Way Up
2nd Jul 2004, 07:39
<<Hats off for a good day at the office BMI crew!!!!>>

I hardly think it was a good day at the office. I believe the 757 behind them was having a better day.

Wanula Dreaming
2nd Jul 2004, 07:46
I wonder if reactions would have been the same if it was a Ryanair airplane that entered a TS/CB with it´s radar turned off.

Of course ´superior´ British companies don´t make mistakes, so if "no-one was seriously hurt" people shouldn´t make a fuss about it...

Bit hypocritical! :rolleyes:

p.s. I don´t work for FR.

Sir George Cayley
2nd Jul 2004, 08:00
I saw the a/c a few moments after it had shut down on stand. I saw the shocked looks on the crews faces as they realised the extent of the damage and the pax taking photos of their relatives posed in front of the holed radome.

It would help if someone cleverer than I could post up a shot of the a/c here now to remind everyone how trashed it looked.

Also be interesting to know how much it cost to repair and the consequential loss bmi suffered.

Finally having met the Evening News reporter in question I can confirm that he operates to an agenda few in our industry will ever comprehend.

Sir George Cayley

Half a Mexican
2nd Jul 2004, 08:23
Link to photo (http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_785167.html)


2nd Jul 2004, 08:37
Is hail damage not 'one of those things'? I'm sure if was pretty frightening for all concerned, but the aircraft withstood it without anything important breaking, the crew did their jobs, and everybody was safe.

I've seen pictures of a Tristar and and Easyjet 733 that looked thoroughly shingled by hail, but whatever dramas affected the aircraft they had happy endings. Surely the professionalism of the crews in all these situations is the emphasis here?

Also, if the Captain was able to agree with his F/O that the WX radar was not necessary at that phase in the flight, how does this tie-in with SOP? I can't believe they switched off the radar just for the sake of it.

Edit: Speak of the devil! There's also some interesting images of that aircraft with some interim repairs, featuring fabricated leading edges for the whole tail, and engine cowlings, before going back to the states for more thorough work.

2nd Jul 2004, 08:37

2nd Jul 2004, 08:40
Here are 3 of my own shots I took when I got off.


PS: Sorry all for bumping the other thread. I only just realised there was a new one because I had the other one in my favourites.

2nd Jul 2004, 08:55
Prats, both of them. Flying a public service aircraft over the alps into an area of forecasted turbulence! No excuses. The radar DOES pick up hailstones, what do you think it's there for?

Young Paul
2nd Jul 2004, 09:17
srjumbo: Don't make yourself look silly. Do you think that public transport (not service) aircraft aren't supposed to fly over the Alps, or into areas of turbulence?

Radar doesn't pick up hailstones - it reflects water.

2nd Jul 2004, 09:27
I bet the radar was off for good after that little lot!

2nd Jul 2004, 09:40
after reviewing catchups photo link ...... if this was a good day at the office I sure wouldn't like to see a bad one :( :( :(


I'm surprised the emphasis is not more directed to "how we avoid this nightmare scenario"

2nd Jul 2004, 10:04
Wx may not show hail but it does, on most occasions, show areas of heavy precipitation, aka Cbs etc.

Whilst the crew have all my sympathies (there but for the grace of God go I!) surely the basic point is that the wx radar should have been switched on and adjusted suitably. What's the reason for turning it off anyway?

Shaka Zulu
2nd Jul 2004, 10:11
So? What's your point?

I wouldn't turn it off even on an clear gin day but I've seen guys do it, perfectly understandable.
I've seen CB's grow with absolutely no return on the wx radar at all but absolutely massive in size. Still no answer to why they turned it off....
Everyone knows how difficult it is to spot a CB (or Embedded CB for that matter) at night with no moon and low cloud so it's pitch black

Alex Whittingham
2nd Jul 2004, 10:55
The report says the radar was turned off 'in accordance with normal procedures'. Is that correct? Is that a BMI procedure or an A321 procedure?

Shaka Zulu
2nd Jul 2004, 11:05
Not an Airbus procedure for sure

Might be BMI but if you look at the SIGMET chart for that sector you would be a bit thick to switch it off. If only fair weather CU was observed I can understand that you can turn the WX radar off, but with TCU all over the area and still crossing the Alps, I dunno man.

Crew expected turbulence when entering the Cirrus Cloud, still elected to leave the WX radar off......

2nd Jul 2004, 12:32
Oops, I meant to say how stupid it was flying over the Alps with forecast T/S with no radar selected.

Right Way Up
2nd Jul 2004, 12:37
One thought that occurs to me; the crew continued based on the fact that they did not realise the severity of the damage. However my personal view would be that anything that damaged the windscreen that badly on both sides must probably have done quite a bit of damage else where. As I have said only my personal view but what would be your thoughts?

2nd Jul 2004, 12:44

I'm with you. My post on the original forum was slagged off, as are most views that dont conform to the ultimate commanders authority/ professional/ safety et al buzz words that apparrantly exempt all UK atpl holders of accountability for their actions.Any divergance will very soon get you an alleged chip on your shoulder from the proffessionals and a slagging worthy of any bitchy cabin crew.

Not a good day at the office, either an oversight, complacency or downright negligence but either way an accountable **** up, not a heroic action by a super pilot.

Lou Scannon
2nd Jul 2004, 13:04
There have always been those pilots who make a point of turning the radar off and those who make a point of leaving it on.

I started flying without it and can remember the shock of hitting cb.'s that we didn't expect. I welcomed its introduction and when we passed the stage of development that enabled it to be on continuously without "wearing anything out" I joined the latter.

There is the Navigation aspect of leaving it on during a long Ocean crossing, even when there is (or should be) nothing to see. The RAF crew who fortunately had it running on the North Atlantic saw a return that the Navigator claimed to be a large ice mass. He was right, but unfortunately it was the ice mass that covers Greenland - a coastline that should have been several hundred miles to their north...and off the screen.

As for leaving it on in any form of cloud on the offchance of their being something there that you haven't noticed, . I think that the
case has been proved yet again.

2nd Jul 2004, 13:13
Taken from the AAIB report (not a newspaper)-

"After the aircraft had been repaired AAIB inspectors, with the assistance of the operator's engineers,
carried out a full operational check of the weather radar and its recording on the DFDR. The DFDR
data was downloaded after the check and analysis confirmed that the DFDR faithfully recorded the
use of the weather radar. It should be noted however that the data recording was not confirmed post
incident before major repair work had been undertaken and some radar components had
been replaced. "


"Therefore because the reliability of the recorded evidence could be questioned the investigation
accepted the account of the events provided by the crew. "

2nd Jul 2004, 13:23
Well I think it was a good day at the office...

Heros= No, they did what they are paid to do.

Prats= Maybe, But the report does not actually say the crew were at fault.

Human= Yes

We all make mistakes, (with the exception of a few on this forum) ranging from silly to outright dangerous, but we all make some kind of mistake every day and there are many of us who have crossed into the dangerous mistake zone a few times.

Can you honestly say that you will never cock anything up??

What is important for me is not the action/lack of, that caused the damage to the a/c,-that is someone else's task, it's the action afterwards. The facts speak for themselves with the pictures shown here, a lot of very pale people with a very damaged a/c... ON THE GROUND, not in the side of a mountain or in a pile of poo at the end of the runway.

I was more trying to make a comment about the as usual over reporting of what - thanks to a good day at the office by the BMI crew, turned out to be a bit of a non event..


2nd Jul 2004, 14:42
Unfortunately hail isn't always found in cloud. Frequently it's found many miles downwind of a large cumulo-nimbus in clear air. Radar won't always "paint" hail-showers clearly either.But if you can alter heading to pass upwind of a large thunderstorm cell, you'll probably avoid damaging encounters like this.

Because hail is a falling phenomenon, you may be inside radar detection range before it's left the cloud (it may never get inside your tilt setting until v close). Like most precipitation it starts lightly and then intensifies. That shadow on radar may not be all that noticeable as it builds slowly. It's rarely the case that a heavy hail-shower persists and muggins just flies into it because he's not watching the scope. The ones that I've hit were in clear air and we didn't see it coming, just heard its arrival.

I wouldn't be too critical of these guys if they were to claim that they'd had nil warning. But flying around with the radar off probably isn't a great defence either.

2nd Jul 2004, 18:04
it makes interesting reading to look thru the original PPRUNE thread .......


one or two guys in it need to Duck!!!! ;) ;) ;)

3rd Jul 2004, 08:40
Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) Report
A Boeing 757 was approximately 25 nm behind G-MIDJ on the same track. The commander of the 757 had his radar selected ON and he could not only see the weather radar returns on his ND but also G-MIDJ displayed by his TCAS. He thought that G-MIDJ had been heading for the gap between two lines of thunderstorms displayed on his radar but realised the gap was closing as the storms were building. He continued using his radar and noted the rapid increase in altitude of G-MIDJ on TCAS as it entered the storm. Initially, in the absence of any radio traffic he initially assumed that G-MIDJ was attempting to climb over the storm. He requested a turn to the right to avoid the weather, which was approved and passed safely clear of the storm activity.
Weather Radar cannot see dry hail, but hail is a convective by-product of thunderstorms which can be seen.

3rd Jul 2004, 19:45
Just checked Grahams photos and was a little bit surprised how

you can continue a flight with a windshield looking like that and

such a damaged nose - i know that pilots cannot walk out during

flight to check their ship (but coming out of a hailstorm and

looking into a "blind windshield" - cockpit might assume that the

A/C is not in the best condition anymore???

And doesn´t these damages really effect the operation of wx-

radar etc.?? - maybe a company-minded-cockpit???

And i cannot imagine that such CBs appear within seconds -

without any possibility to avoid the weather!!

Just to clarify: I´m a simple groundie - dont want to blame

anybody- neither BMI-cockpit nor company but simply interested

in the opinions of cockpit-crews

P.S: Fortunately no fatalities!!

Going Around
4th Jul 2004, 09:18
Surely they must have been VMC on top at some stage before entering said wx. They must have seen something coming irrespective if they had the radar on or off just by looking out in front of them.

Electric Sky
4th Jul 2004, 10:25
I believe they hit embedded CB's which would not be visible and only detectable by wx radar.

ES ;)

4th Jul 2004, 14:19

Thats what i meant - even if CBs were embedded - the crew

should have been aware of what can wait inside and try to


7th Jul 2004, 04:27
Why are hailstones as big as golfballs, but never as big as table tennis balls?

7th Jul 2004, 08:00

PENNY 3/4"
WALNUT 1 1/2"

7th Jul 2004, 10:19
Why are hailstones as big as golfballs, but never as big as table tennis balls?
Because they're solid and multi-layered. Table-tennis balls are hollow.:O

7th Jul 2004, 11:16
Doesn't matter a s**t what size or shape the hail stones are. These guys should have had the radar on- no excuses. Monarch behind them did, as should any other professional pilot flying in areas of forecast T/S. As I said in my previous posting, PRATS!

7th Jul 2004, 13:04
Doesn't matter a s**t what size or shape the hail stones are. These guys should have had the radar on- no excuses. Monarch behind them did, as should any other professional pilot flying in areas of forecast T/S. As I said in my previous posting, PRATS!

So you will have no problems owning up to your next cock-up here on pprune then..

But then again I suspect you don't ever make any mistakes, do you..

Get off the fence [email protected]!!



7th Jul 2004, 13:21
I think this case simply outlines a great misconception about Thunderstorms and Cumulonimbus. If you fly around SE Asia, youll find all the guys there avoid these things like the plague...not only because down on that end of the golfball you CANT fly over them, but also because they spray all sorts of crap everywhere...litterally...

The problem here in Europe is that nowadays aircraft can actually fly over the tropopause, and therefore over what many people incorrectly perceive to be the tops of these things...

But you have to remember, Thunderstorms have got the power of atleast 1 hiroshima bomb dispersed in the space of an hour through the various processes each storm undertakes - the most important of these is the storm's own growth.

NASA aircraft have recorded updraughts of up to 12,000 ft/min in the hearts of small to medium storms, so you can only imagine how these nasties let rip when they get uplifted over terrain (note; the Alps and Pyrennes)

Not only are conditions trecherous inside these storms, but such conditions dont get much different on the top or downwind. The biggest danger is flying over them, because as youll find will happen is before you know it, a massive updraught of cloud from a daughter cell embedded will rise up and swallow you whole - what I think must have happened in this case.

And not only that, hail balls - indeed ranging from the size of golf balls to basketballs - are carried up in the cloud...would you honestly think that with speeds of up to 120 kmph these things will suddenly stop at the top of the cloud and fall back down...

the momentem these storms generates has been known to kick ice debris up to 4,000 to 5,000 feet above the top of clouds.

So, in conclusion...stay WELL clear of CBs and TSs - EVEN if you think you can clear the tops of them.

7th Jul 2004, 13:26
Looks to me that OTB is friendly with the PRATS! I've read the entire report and am entitled to my opinion which is shared by lots of my professional colleagues.
Dare I ask OTB, why didn't Monarch who flew behind BD sustain any damage? Probably because they were looking out of the window (yes it does occasionally happen, especially when flying around thunderstorms) and had their radar turned ON!

7th Jul 2004, 14:15
This is my last posting on this topic because unlike some here I am happy to admit I have nothing of constructive value to add..

However srjumbo lets clear the first one up.. I don't know 'the prats' involved nor any other BMI flight crew..

If you really are a SFO on the 74 (which I have doubt) then you scare the hell out of me pal!


Y O U W E R E N O T T H E R E!!!



However this is a rumour forum so I suppose you have a right to spout your crap in a way..

Again, if you really are a pilot why not try posting one of your dangerous cock-up's on here so you can have everyone 'chew the fat' over your abilities without knowing ALL the facts..

If they were at fault there is nothing that can be done about it apart from excepting that things like this do happen and will happen... Because of human nature..

Maybe they were playing cards??? Having a kiss and a cuddle on the FD.. I don't know, and neither do any of you... And THATS my point..

Enjoy chewing the fat ladies...


Alex Whittingham
7th Jul 2004, 14:25
OK OTB, you are implying the AAIB report leaves out some relevant facts. What are they?

7th Jul 2004, 15:06
Come on folks, lighten up.

The AAIB report states the known facts about the flight but answers little about other following flight's operations/decisions. As always speculation is rife (no quarrels here) but blame has no place in an investigation.

Alex Whittingham
7th Jul 2004, 15:34
Agreed. But the reverse attitude which says 'We're all blameless, and there but for the grace of god...' also has no place.

8th Jul 2004, 05:06
"Because they're solid and multi-layered"

What are the layers in a hail stone?

Young Paul
8th Jul 2004, 08:58
etrang - layers of ice that are deposited in successive updrafts through the CB, I believe.

The policy in accident analysis and incident investigation in the last few years has been not to seek to blame people - who rarely deliberately jeopardise safety - but to identify the systematic problems that allowed the accident or incident to occur. The pilot is usually simply the last link in a whole chain of events any of which could have been broken and the incident/accident would not have taken place. Of course the pilots - particularly the skipper - have to bear some responsibility - they are the ones who sign the tech log - that's what their licence is for. But the aim is to stop things going wrong in future, not work out who was to blame in the past so that you can sue them. This has become the attitude of conscientious regulatory authorities (who are much more concerned these days about corporate responsibility than they used to be) and safety departments in airlines (who realise that the most important thing about accidents is that they don't happen again).

The fact is that anybody could be put into a simulator and made to crash an aircraft - anybody - including the ace-of-the-base pilots who have seen fit to second guess what happened in this incident. So yes, there but by the grace of God go you - the day you stop learning is the day you die - and you are only as good as your last flight. You read accident/incident reports to learn, not to blame. And if you haven't got hold of that fact yet, you don't deserve a third stripe, let alone a fourth.

Right Way Up
8th Jul 2004, 09:28
Yes anybody can cock things up! However we are talking here about a very basic level of airmanship. The AAIB report is fact. Fact is that they believed there was no need for the WX radar to be on. Fact was that they did not see the embedded CBs due to the high level cloud. The fact that they were encountering high level cloud which restricted their outside view should have prompted them to immediately switch the wx radar back on. The premise for them originally switching off the radar had disappeared. This is very basic airmanship.

Alex Whittingham
8th Jul 2004, 09:30
All true, but there are times when an individual is clearly at fault, Tenerife, for instance. Likewise there are times when operating procedures are at fault and we as an industry shouldn't shy away from saying so in either case. Furthermore, reading an AAIB report is hardly second guessing the cause of an accident although this report seems remarkably short on conclusions.

In this particular case I'm not saying the pilots were neccessarily to blame. It seems to me to hinge on the 'normal procedures' the AAIB report mentions then ignores. If it is a BMI SOP to turn the radar off then one would have hoped the AAIB would have questioned the motivation behind that SOP and the CAA inspectors that approved it and then commented on the validity of the procedure. If it was not SOP then the decision to turn the radar off becomes critical, particularly as the report shows the thunderstorms were visible on radar to the following aircraft that did have its radar turned on.

So what do we learn from this report? OTB hints that relevant facts were not included but doesn't explain himself. The report itself doesn't even comment on whether or not the 'normal procedure' of turning the radar off is acceptable.

8th Jul 2004, 09:37
It would also be interesting to know the background and experience level of the crew.

What sort of training have they had concerning avoidance of hazardous weather enroute?

All these things are part of the "system" which has produced this particular incident.

What steps are being taken to prevent future events of this type?

Young Paul
8th Jul 2004, 10:35
Yes, it would be interesting to know the background and experience level of the crew. But would it make flights safer? Would it decrease the likelihood of the same thing happening in future? Or would it just be to give people a feeling of smug self-righteousness?

What is important? Well, for those pilots who might find themselves in that situation:
- make sure you have radar switched on
- know how to use it to get the information that you need from it (which requires active management of the WXR system, not simply setting it up and going back to the newspaper)
For those training departments who don't want to find themselves dealing with the aftermath of a similar incident (and there were at least two more very similar around that time, I believe - one shorthaul and one longhaul - so any mistakes that were made were evidently not just one offs)
- make sure that pilots understand how to use WXR, and understand the meteorology of CB's.

8th Jul 2004, 10:46
>Yes, it would be interesting to know the background and experience level of the crew. But would it make flights safer? Would it decrease the likelihood of the same thing happening in future? Or would it just be to give people a feeling of smug self-righteousness?<

Young Paul, I think we are both coming at it from the same angle but I think "background and experience level" can and do make a difference in the sense that attitudes taught at the basic training level can have a big effect later on. That is not to say that someone who is very experienced is never going to get into a spot of bother, of course!

The training staff themselves must also have suitable background, experience and ability to teach said matters to trainees.

It is my perception (and by the way this is not pointed at BMI or any particular airline) that many of the tried and tested ways of doing things are steadily being watered down and having a damaging effect on flight safety. Things like number of sectors of line training spring to mind, all in the cause of "economy" - there certainly isn't much money saved in the event of an incident like this one.

9th Jul 2004, 16:46
Radar or no radar the safe flight path is always to fly clear especially if they were VMC. Old and bold comes to mind.

10th Jul 2004, 21:37
This alias is new to Pprune, but I was around in its infancy.

The crew involved were, surprisingly enough for BM, not reprimanded.

I understand that there are two types of radar fitted to BM airbus. One is better than the other. One is able to see weather to which DJ was subjected, the other, cheaper (surely not as BM never cuts corners) or is it lighter? does not.

The Captain involved is experienced and able enough in his own right, to STILL command an airliner.

For those of who who fly, perhaps you should know better, for those who don't, a moonless night isn't all that good for seeing something like a dark cloud beneath, nor in front of you. If it's not on the radar, why would you look for it?

Flame away if you please, BUT note well, for once the company did NOT sack, nor endeavour to humiliate, its staff...

Pole Hill Billy
11th Jul 2004, 02:27
Deja Vu?

Turning off something that does not seem important?


11th Jul 2004, 18:58
Pole Hill Billy

you appear to have an agenda.

your last post is crass and insensitive.

suggest you retract it.

Alex Whittingham
11th Jul 2004, 19:34
Duffgen, I'm struggling with this:

"For those of who who fly, perhaps you should know better, for those who don't, a moonless night isn't all that good for seeing something like a dark cloud beneath, nor in front of you. If it's not on the radar, why would you look for it?"

It is many years since I flew, I grant you, but I can still read an accident report. It says the incident happened around 1512, mid afternoon, not on a moonless night, and the reason the cloud didn't show up on the radar was that the radar was turned off.

What on earth are you talking about?

11th Jul 2004, 20:17
Turning off something that does not seem important?

Pole Hill Billy, you should be very careful making remarks like this. Remember that your IP is logged and you can be held to account. The statement you make does no justice whatsoever to the events leading up to the crash at Kegworth or the events leading up to the hail damage more recently.

11th Jul 2004, 20:57
Let me repost this...

I accept I was mistaken with the particular segment of the 12 hour clock, however...

According to the AAIB report ...http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_avsafety/documents/page/dft_avsafety_029049.hcsp :

The radar was set to a scale of 160 nm and with no significant returns ahead and no thunderstorm activity forecast the radar was switched OFF. The aircraft had been in clear skies above towering Cu for most of the flight and, in accordance with normal procedures, the radar had only been turned on when required..."

*****No SIG WEATHER*****
*****Normal Procedures*****
The weather radar, when used by the crew, did not show the severity of the weather ahead of the aircraft....
The apparent lack of significant weather returns resulted in the crew of the G-MIGJ (sic) turning off their weather radar. Having entered the area of turbulence and hail associated with a storm cell, the PF made measured control inputs, monitored by the commander, which reduced the excursions of the aircraft without imposing large load factors on the airframe or those onboard. ...
... The inability of weather radar to detect certain types of precipitation, associated with storm cells, in the upper levels of the atmosphere above 30,000 feet however make it impossible to determine with any accuracy the upper limit of a cell when its vertical development exceeds 30,000 feet. Calculations to determine the aircraft's clearance above the upper limit of a cell can therefore be inaccurate resulting in an aircraft entering the active element of a storm cell whilst attempting to safety over-fly it....

I think I am correct in saying that the crew carried out their SOP

Ergo, you don't like what the crew did??? Slag off their managers, NOT the crew...

More to the point if you don't like what the crew did, don't fly BMA...or whatever the company's trading name is at the moment..

Pilots do as the company prescribes..viz: BA have strobes on before aligning the active runway.. can be good SOPS

or not... if there is someone else within a couple of wingspans away on the taxiway... at night

Look at the BIG picture before shooting either the messenger, who's the Devil's Advocate, or, more importantly the Pilot ... who hurt nobody

Alex Whittingham
11th Jul 2004, 21:32
....and there we are at the nub of it. Had you bothered to read a few posts back you would have seen the question. Whose procedures were these 'normal procedures'? They are mentioned briefly in the AAIB report and then ignored. If adherence to the 'procedures' led to the incident then, at the very least, we should explore the thinking behind the procedures. If the 'normal procedures' originate from neither Airbus nor BMI then there would be questions to ask of the crew and, more particularly, the AAIB.

So the question is, once again, does anyone know whose procedures were these 'normal procedures' referred to in the AAIB report? Airbus pilots say it's not an Airbus thing. Is it an airline specific SOP then, a BMI thing?

[edited to clarify]

Captain Mercurius
13th Jul 2004, 09:00
I am amazed by the amount of crap…

Good day at the office!

Well done !

Switching the WX Radar off, for the sake of it!

“So if "no-one was seriously hurt" people shouldn’t make a fuss about it...”

What, somebody has to die, for you to consider as a serious?

Flying without Radar and knowing that the weather prognostic showed Thunderstorms on that track and region?:mad:

And some of you consider yourselves as Professional Pilots?:}

Regardless, thanks to Lord nothing worst did happen, this is extremely serious, if some of you do not realize it.


15th Jul 2004, 16:34
Well said Mercurious!

16th Jul 2004, 09:00
For me this report is a learning experience that one:

ought not to be lackdaisical regards the use of the Wx radar
ought to be diligent when interpreting the SIGMET chart during the pre-flight brief

If the company SOP is as stated, I find it hard to understand why one wouldn't be expecting CAT + Wx enroute.

Extrapolating forward from 1200 UTC the SIGMET chart has CAT area 2 moving NE placing it around Vienna within 3/4 hrs which extends to FL400 and ISOL EM CB's to FL300 at least...all on the expected flight path.

At FL340 it would always be hard to comply with a SOP that obliged you to be +5000' above cell tops.

In conjunction with a B757 radar picture of the scale reported, echoes certainly weren't being avoided by 15-20 miles as per the SOP.

Of course, their radar wasn't showing the equivalent information.

The incident reminds me not to be too cursory when examining a SIGMET chart and when enroute meteorology indicates TCU/CB/CAT think a little more about what the weather is actually doing. I'd be the first to admit one could say that about my attention to such detail in the past.

Of course if you're at FL550....


28th Jul 2004, 11:33
Why are British hailstones as big as golfballs, but never as big as table tennis balls?

28th Jul 2004, 12:36
I have carefully read all the aforegoing intelligent and sensible posts. Some from evidently well qualified and experienced aircrew(s) and from from complete prats!

Perhaps it is time to say; I guess the Captain and F/O are truly embarrassed! They will NEVER operate again with their WX Radar switched of (bit like riding a m/c with your crash helmet strapped to the rear carrier!) and BMI have taken both a financial and moral bashing, if the crew actually followed to the letter their SOP's.

As an ex-military pilot with 34 total years flying experience I have to say whilst I ALWAYS BUT ALWAYS have my WX Radar switched on, even in clear blue skies...but for the Grace of God there go I!

Time now to bring this to a close - I think they have learned their lesson. Yes! They were PRATS, big time but enough is enough and if murderers can be rehabilitated then surely these guys can be permitted to get on with their lives.

God Bless the Queen and America.