View Full Version : Depiction of BAC-111 window rupture...

Ignition Override
17th Sep 2004, 04:18
Tonight, the "National Geographic Channel" (US) had an excellent feature about the very close call for the Captain (Lancaster?)! Saw just a bit, and I missed the superb FO's name (does he read Pprune?). What fantastic control of the situation, while trying to understand the radio and requesting a heading to the nearest suitable airport, never mind the roar through the missing windshield, with one or both Flight Attendants doing their best to hold on to the poor guy's legs! :eek: :ouch:

For some reason, the correct bolts were designed on the -111 to hold the windshield on from the outside, in contradiction of standard practice elsewhere, according to the program. On the incident aircraft, some under-sized bolts had apparently been installed.

17th Sep 2004, 06:25
It does not contradict standard practices, most widscreens have bolts attached from the outside . . . .

Loose rivets
17th Sep 2004, 07:02
It was an airplane that was rather susceptible to windshield failure, and they cost as much as a house in those days

One night over Zagreb my mate had the windshield heat off and the diff down before I had flicked the bits of hot glass off my nether regions. Later, when I complimented him on his smooth performance, he said that he had, "had three that month". And that was with no bogus bolts presumably.

I did read the report a good while ago and I have always wondered weather the emergency decent was carried out at high speed or low speed...we were given the option of using either. I may have missed it as the report was fairly lengthy.

A and C
17th Sep 2004, 07:40
Two sizes of bolts are used in the 1-11 window ( 8-32 and 6-32 ) if I remember corectly and these bolts are quite similar if looked at under normal conditions.

The guy who installed the window was working outside at night and the only ilumination was probably his flashlight.

The bolts that were issued to him ( at BHX ) came from the engineering stores at LHR and had the correct paperwork with them.

The whole of the engineering workforce at LHR was on strike at the time over a 12 hour shift issue so the bolts were issued by members of management working in the stores.

The managenent stance to the 12 hour shift issue did an about face the day after the inccident and the LHR strike was resolved at once.

The CAA took no action aganst the engineer who fitted the window and BA moved him to a managenent position.

I will leave you to speculate how the wrong size bolts got into the window.

17th Sep 2004, 08:11
BA moved him to a managenent position
LOL (In amazement), surely not??

17th Sep 2004, 08:47
I was on the ground at SOU the day this happened. Our departure was cancelled due the emergency, and I will never forget the sight of the 1-11 with all the blood down the side.

Curiously, the report makes no mention of the fact that the captain apparently wasn't wearing his shoulder harnesses, and his lower harness must have been pretty loose to have allowed him to move the way he did.

17th Sep 2004, 08:49
FO Alisdair Aitchison I believe.

Human Factor
17th Sep 2004, 09:37
Curiously, the report makes no mention of the fact that the captain apparently wasn't wearing his shoulder harnesses, and his lower harness must have been pretty loose to have allowed him to move the way he did.

Once you're well established in the climb, it's common practice to undo your shoulder harnesses. As for the lower harness, I can't speak for Captain Lancaster 'cos I don't know, but personally I tend to loosen mine a bit. Funnily enough, having worked at BHX, I always keep this incident in mind when I'm strapped in!

Send Clowns
17th Sep 2004, 11:49
Hehehe, I was in that programme. They filmed it at Bournemouth Airport, mostly at the museum where they have a BAC 1-11 (they were built here). The extras did not turn up one day, and I was not flying due to the miserable weather, so when they came looking for bodies I volunteered. I was on the investigating panel for the AAIB, didn't say anything but looked shocked a few times and wrote things on a piece of paper.

The windscreen had previously been fitted with bolts one size too small, and when they came to refit the new bolts were selected by eye, comparing with the old, and were in fact even smaller. The engineer was advised in the stores that he was looking for the wrong size of bolts, but insisted he was right. He then did not match by sizer number, at least that is how it was depicted fliming the board.

17th Sep 2004, 12:11
The correct bolts should have been 10-32, but the replacement bolts fitted were 8-32.

From the report linked to above:
“The bolts engage with 10 UNF Kaylock floating anchor nuts mounted on the inside of the windscreen frame. The replacement windscreen had been installed with 84 bolts (A211-8C) whose diameters were approximately 0.026 of an inch below the diameters of the specified bolts but of the same thread pitch, and six bolts (A211-7D) which were of the correct diameter, but 0.1 of an inch too short.”

The incorrect bolts were “only” 0.26 of an inch smaller diameter than the correct bolts. Probably if the appropriate engineer were doing the task he would have noticed the difference, on the other hand a manager, not doing his usual job but trying to get an aircraft ready for service didn’t.

Incidentally, it is common for windscreen mounting bolts to be fitted from outside the aircraft, but usually the screen is positioned in the aperture from the inside the cockpit against the frame. The bolts go through the frame then through the screen and are secured by the locking nuts. This means that cabin pressure will keep the screen firmly in place. The bolts are obviously then not so critical.

17th Sep 2004, 12:17
I'm not a PPL or invloved with the industry (just an interested observer), but lived in Southampton at the time of this incident. The street I live in is directly in line with the approach to EGHI when arriving from the Southampton side (on the big hill that gets in the way of the approach in fact!); I just happened to be wondering along doing my paper round as the 1-11 made its approach (I think an AirUK RJ70 normally left at that time, so I was a bit perplexed, especially as I knew BAC 1-11s didn't have much room for error on the short runway). It was clear that there was something up and it's certainly a sight that will remain etched in my memory. I'm glad everything turned out pretty well considering.

PS...my mum still lives in the street; you may see her run out of the house waving her fist if you happen to make a lowish approach or departure in a BAe 146 (which you may or may not wish to take as an invitation to do on purpose ;-) ).



17th Sep 2004, 12:22
Without being critical of the crew in any way, whom I think did a great job of getting the thing down in one piece. One has to ask this question?

If the lap strap was loose enough to allow the extraction of the Captain from his seat during decompression, It would have been loose enough not to restrain him in cruise, during e.g., turbulence, which in my opinion is one of the main considerations for being strapped in at all times while in the seat. IMHO the lap strap can be secure yet comfortable, to provide adequate protection.

17th Sep 2004, 13:35
Human Factor

Yes, I remove mine too (but usually at TOC), but think about it - how loose must your other straps be for you to move the way the unfortunate BA skipper did? I can't see how you could do it without breaking both your legs, if your straps were anything like "comfy" tight.

17th Sep 2004, 14:27
I saw the programme too and was very impressed with its accuracy. From the usual sensationalist re-creations that American tv comes up with, this programme (and the others in the series ) are very well produced and a refreshing change. They even had the a/c registration correct (Romeo Tango) on the computer graphic simulations. The captain however, was depicted on the top of the a/c fully clothed. In fact he was stark bollock naked but I guess you can't show that on US Puritan tv in light of Janet Jackson's recent "wardrobe malfunction".
The engineer was not promoted to management as he already was a manager. He was de-moted to become a regular engineer.
I believe the pilots lobbied for him to be kept on with BA as they knew him to be an extremely experienced, conscientious and hard working person and was working on his own due to economic restrictions at BHX. I was aircrew at BHX for fifteen years and knew all the participants well. The wrong bolts had been fitted 4 years earlier by British Caledonian and BA inherited the a/c from them. B Cal had fitted bolts of the correct diameter but slightly shorter than specified.

17th Sep 2004, 18:02
Flew the 1-11 for Channel, Courtline, Danair and Monarch. Had
a nasty experience with a 500 series that Courtline had down in the Caribbean one winter in 1974. When we stopped in Gander on the way back to Luton during the winter, the windscreen on the F/o side went bang and cracked all over. The F/o disappeared under the instrument panel. We went back into Gander where we spent 3 dreary days while we waited for another windscreen. Had it fixed and took off again and then the other windscreen went bang. The Captain was 'Hazel' Hazedene who used to be chief test pilot for Handley Page. Later that summer Courtline went bust. There is a 30 year reunion this October in Harpenden.

17th Sep 2004, 18:48
:hmm: Thread Drift.. I know, but who and what was Courtline?

17th Sep 2004, 19:05

Sorry sonny but if you have to ask, your too young to attend such events.:O

17th Sep 2004, 19:11
Courtline operated two of the first UK registered Tristars and a fleet of 14 BAC 1-11's for the IT market.
The aircraft were all painted in violent colours, pink, purple, orange and green. The oil crisis in 1974 and the collapse of Clarkson's holidays caused their demise.

17th Sep 2004, 19:12
On a side note, it was this event which sparked ATC Emergency Contingency Training (ECT), now known as TRUCE (TRaining for Unusual CircumstancEs) for which we now occasionally have Pilots attend to drum up some realistic emergency situations and then watch us sweat!! TRUCE is now a mandatory event every year where we get to try out what to do if the ultimate happens, not every day you get complete failures, best try it out somewhere!!!

5mb :ok:

18th Sep 2004, 07:47
Lartington check your PMs

18th Sep 2004, 08:19
Lartington said in part..........

The Captain was 'Hazel' Hazeldene who used to be chief test pilot for Handley Page..........

Surely he died in the low level Victor prototype test over Cranfield when the overstressed tailplane departed? I worked with his daughter some years later. Maybe he had a brother. Not being picky - just trying to sort out what happened at Cranfield and who was flying the Victor.

Aviate 1138

18th Sep 2004, 08:53
The captain was vertically challenged and had to undo his belts
in order to do the aircon changeover after takeoff.What is also
forgotten is the BA witchhunt immediately after the incident
wanting to know why the FO went to southhampton instead of a regular BA airfield.Atc were not much help to him either in the ensuing dirty dive.Beware management you pilots they will ALWAYS seek to apportion blame on you to keep their own arses clean.

18th Sep 2004, 10:11

Slightly off thread.

With regards to the latter part of your post, couldn't agree more. In fact it brings back memories of an accident at East midlands, in the late eighties.

mr Q
18th Sep 2004, 10:52
"The co-pilot had been the handling pilot duringthe take-off and, once established in the climb, the commanderwas handling the aircraft in accordance with the operator's normaloperating procedures. At this stage both pilots had released theirshoulder harness, using the release bar on the buckle, and thecommander had loosened his lap-strap."
Accident Report

"The crew were faced with an instantaneous and unforeseen emergency.The combined actions of the co-pilot and cabin crew successfullyaverted what could have been a major catastrophe. The fact thatall those on board the aircraft survived is a tribute to theirquick thinking and perseverance in the face of a shocking experience.

Up to the time of the loss of the windscreen, the flight had proceededuneventfully and in accordance with the company\'s normal procedures.It was quite in order for the flight crew to release their shoulderharnesses once they were established in the climb and, for reasonsof comfort, the commander loosened his lap strap as he nearedthe cruising phase of the two and a half hour flight to Malaga.Therefore, when the left windscreen was blown out, it was notsurprising that the commander, who was very lightly built, wasdrawn partially through the windscreen aperture. It is not certainwhat prevented his complete egress from the aircraft but, sincethe No 2 steward later bad to free his legs from a position betweenthe control column and the flight deck coaming, it is likely thathe had been restrained by his legs during the initial stage ofthe emergency. Later, he was restrained simply by the effortsof the No 2 steward who was holding on to both of his legs."
Accident Report

18th Sep 2004, 13:49
It was quite in order for the flight crew to release their shoulderharnesses once they were established in the climb and, for reasonsof comfort, the commander loosened his lap strap

No, sorry, I don't accept that for a minute. If the Captain's straps were so loose that he was able to be sucked out of the aircraft, then they were serving no useful purpose whatsover. Article 41 of the ANO specifies that a crew member must be "secured in his seat", which this chap clearly wasn't.

I saw the captain on TV a few months later (the crew did the rounds of the UK morning TV shows at the time), and the captain said on that programme that the only thing holding him into the aircraft, apart from the steward, was some jagged metal that he was impaled on (hence all the blood down the side of the aircraft), and his belt buckle. I may even still have it on video somewhere.

18th Sep 2004, 21:31
what is an aircon change over?

18th Sep 2004, 21:33
Dear MOR,how do you change the air if you cant undo your shoulder harness. Any suggestions?

dallas dude
18th Sep 2004, 21:52
I was lucky enough to meet Alistair at the BA condo in New York, a year or so ago. He's a typical low key, matter of fact guy and an absolute credit to our profession.

When I was really young and stupid, to be in his shoes at that point in time was a student pilot's dream. Now that I know a little more, I hope I never have to repeat his achievement.

Bottom line is, because (hopefully) we make our job look easy, we are sometimes given less than the respect this great profession deserves.

Next time someone says you're paid too much, remind them it's not what you do on a normal day, it's what you'll do when you're in Alistair's shoes.

Cheers, DD

Ignition Override
19th Sep 2004, 04:27
Dallas Dude and GANG:ok:

Another thing in the program which I forgot is how the poor guy could not breathe in the hellacious windblast. Seem to remember his comment that he turned his head towards the airplane's tail and was able to breathe again. The flights attendant(s) must have gone straight to the [email protected]$p!t without any delay (why does Pprune forbid the word #######? Standard terminology since 1903, or so)?

Would be impossible now without 'coordination', never mind being almost impossible to hear the crew interphone through the loudspeaker or the headset? :hmm:

And why did British Airways give the FO such a hard time on selecting an airport with such a crisis onboard? If they were stricter than the CAA, then did they not value the Captain's life very highly? Did a medical emergency divert to a suitable airport only apply to a fare-paying passenger? An emergency is an emergency, is it not, even if there is no smoke or fumes inside the plane? One doesn't want to pick a very short runway to land on, but it seems to have worked out very well, with medical pesonnel available. One hell of a job, with no time to be a Monday morning quarterback (football critic), done by a staff of attorneys (solicitors/barristers...).

19th Sep 2004, 10:19

Dear MOR,how do you change the air if you cant undo your shoulder harness. Any suggestions?

Yes. Assuming for a minute that you consider it OK for a pilot to not be able to do his job without breaking a clear rule in the ANO - you do this.

You loosen you straps to accomplish the changeover. Then you re-fasten and tighten them. Surely this is not rocket science.

If he had done that, this incident would have not have happened (the nasty bit of it, anyway).

20th Sep 2004, 14:48

This is beginning to sound like a Witchhunt when one isn't needed - why all the fuss about Tim Lancaster's harness?

There is nothing in the ANO that says that both crewmembers should be fully trussed up all the time - if there was longhaul would be impossible. Surely all of us (even you?), at some time in flight loosen the harness or worse still actually undo the darned things to perhaps deal to a call of nature or reach manuals etc . The important thing in this case was that the P2 was fully strapped in and able to control the Aircraft .

Raw Data
20th Sep 2004, 23:57
It isn't a witch-hunt.

The ANO clearly states that each pilot must be "secured in their seat" (look it up if you don't believe me). I suppose whether that means "trussed up" is a matter of interpretation.

What is the point in having straps if you don't use them? Sure, I remove my shoulder harnesses on longer sectors, might even slack off the lap strap a bit. However, having had a few CAT encounters in my time, I never loosen it to the point where I can be tossed about (or sucked out of my straps). Try it - see how loose they need to be to have any hope of being sucked out of your seat without breaking your legs.

The "important thing" is to minimise and manage risk. Sure, you may need to visit the loo or whatever, but you still need to consider your safety, and the safety of the flight. That means being strapped in.

You can hardly blame the captain - who goes to work expecting to get sucked out of his or her aircraft? However, the security of his straps was clearly a contributing factor to him being sucked out of the aircraft, and I am also wondering why the AAIB didn't consider that.

21st Sep 2004, 11:46
Having enjoyed Tim lancasters company recently and taking the odd drop of refreshment with him i find these posts very offensive!

Tim is a fine airman, a good Captain and great character his acount of the incident is both imformative and extremely funny!

To have survived such an incident and still continue flying is a credit to the man in itself. He is currently still flying the line as an Airbus captain.

If some of you barack room lawyers had half his courage and charisma you would be trying to rubbish him on this thread!

This incident could have happend to anyone at anytime and up until this happend no one would have expected it!

These guys are hero's to have been there and survive to tell the tale. In my experience there are two types of pilots those that have made mistakes and learnt from them and those that tell lies!!!

By the way Tims impression of him trying to breath at 330kts and sub zero tempretures is worthy of an oscar!

21st Sep 2004, 13:24
Something else that wasn't in the film was that ATC until then had no training for aircraft emergencies! Not just a little, but nada. They were judged too rare to be worth rehearsing, so when LATCC got the first call from Alastair (hope we are not forgetting he was awarded BALPA gold medal, GAPAN award and several others including a Queen's commendation) saying Mayday, London just carried on with other traffic because the rushing air prevented Alastair from hearing him and responding.

One real interesting thing here, especially in view of contemporary concerns over maintenance at BA and generally, was that the AAIB focussed on systemic problems in the hangar. All references to the base's "drifts in standards", "poor trade practices", criticisms of the Quality Assurance, problems in self-certification, skimpy CAA inspections, etc. were excised from the draft AAIB report, or altered to put all the blame on the shift maintenance manager himself. The report, thanks to a posse of silks hired by BA, was gutted before publication.

Having gone to all that trouble to shift blame for systemic problems onto the SMM personally, why did they keep him on? Beats me. Maybe he would have blown the whistle if they hadn't.

21st Sep 2004, 20:35
If I recall correctly, they were practically over Capt Lancaster's house at the time. That would have been a nasty shock for Mrs Lancaster if he had come down in the back garden (well, nasty shock for Capt Lancaster, too!).