View Full Version : Low flying airliner over Bracknell, U.K.?

22nd Dec 2005, 20:18

The facts should be interesting when they emerge.

22nd Dec 2005, 23:23
Even though you can make fun of this article, it raises a interesting question;

What were they doing there?

It is obviously not normal to see a 777 there. And is the NATS hushing it down?

22nd Dec 2005, 23:28
A spokeswoman for National Air Traffic Services (NATS), which is responsible for air movements over the UK, said: "NATS is aware there was an aircraft flying lowish over Bracknell on Wednesday 14.

ATC: "ABC123 report altitude?"

ABC123: "One thousand five hundredish feet"

hold on the left
22nd Dec 2005, 23:45
SID altitude is 6000ft.

Instruction given is "after departure climb straight ahead until passing 1500ft before turning left".

Above aircraft climbed straight ahead to 1500ft

pax britanica
23rd Dec 2005, 00:28
I live near Camberley (Only parts of which should be destroyed) and LHR Outbounds heading for Midhurst or occasionally Southampton are common and while most I would guess have made it to 4000ft or more there are occasionally 'heavies' a fair bit lower . BA and SAA 744s in the summer are good examples.

If LHRs is on easterlies theres a constant procession of inbounds and these vary in height crossing Bracjnell but I doubt if they are evr lower than 2000ft . I am sure the Egyptair wasn't exactly at 'treetop' height but if it was at only 1000 ft or so it would have looked immense to people accustomed to seeing planes most days but usually at 3000-4000 ft.

Doesnt anyone from the ATC forum have any idea what happened in this case -would losing one engine on 777 impair climb out that much that it was only at say 1000ft ten miles from LHR?

SW of Bracknell the ground is relatively high for the London area -almost 400ft asl and on top of the highest point is the Bagshot mast at about 780 ft asl. Many years ago a Pan Am 744 lost an engine on departue from LHR and did get pretty close to the mast area and made the news then . But that was in the early days of 74s and they struggled on hot days even with all four running. I thought a 777 would have performed a lot better on one .

Any ATC guys with further info?


Flying Lawyer
23rd Dec 2005, 00:43
"almost clipped trees and buildings"

That's just the sort of thing I have to contend with when defending GA pilots against allegations of low flying. :rolleyes:

23rd Dec 2005, 04:51
Some people do know what happened, but I'd contend that there are very few who have all the facts, so until the MOR gets released, after investigation, they won't be saying anything on an open forum.

23rd Dec 2005, 07:36
Pax B: It wasn't a 744, but an early 747 - 100 of (I think ) Pan Am in about '72 or '73. As told to me it came past the Camberley area heading for Heathrow at about 1200ft and dumping fuel!!
I was on duty when the very first Pan Am 747 departed Heathrow on its first day of operation in 1970 on a 'jolly' out to BCN and back so not much fuel etc. It's first call to London Control? 'I'm not going to make 4000 by Woodley'!!

23rd Dec 2005, 08:08
i have heard some stories about airliners inbound for 09L passing over white waltham at overhead join height (1300 QFE). was one Korean? im sure somebody will put me right.

23rd Dec 2005, 08:42
I presume it was just a big aircraft on a normal approach to 09 at Heathrow.

pax britanica
23rd Dec 2005, 09:27

As youare usually never one to hold back from making an informed comment I think your frank answer closes this off- we will just have to wait and see although could you say if was an arrival or departure?

Chevvron you are I think correct that it was Pan am and indeed it was a 747-100 (Typo on my part)

I was just curious about this incident because I didnt think it these sorts of incidents happened after take off with more modern high powered engines

23rd Dec 2005, 09:48
Passed through Bracknell the other week. I see they've taken a wrecking ball to the old Met Office HQ. What a shambles.

I happened to be in the tower at Wycombe Air Park, booking out, when that PanAm 747 got into trouble. The controller, who was an LHR tower controller on a 'day off' looked to the south (WAP elevation 520 ft) and said 'BLIMEY!' grabbing the binoculars. He could plainly see the fuel coming out. We all watched as it crawled off to the west, plainly not gaining height. With commendable presence of mind, he didn't ring his mates in Heathrow Tower figuring (a) they knew all about it and (b) they wouldn't want sundry idiots interrupting them at that precise time!

23rd Dec 2005, 10:51
We live closer to Woking and hence also get the BA & Springbok 744's plus the VIR 744's and A340's plus Air Mauritius etc etc.
It brings some interest to the area on balmy summer evenings!!

23rd Dec 2005, 11:45
I think that the aircraft referred to at White Waltham overhead was in fact Lufthansa, whom had neglected to stop a descent upon leaving a hold.

23rd Dec 2005, 20:10

Couple of things.

744's out of LHR are over 4000ft over Camberley. I

And the Egypt Air ac didnt loose an engine.


23rd Dec 2005, 20:42
SID altitude is 6000ft.
Instruction given is "after departure climb straight ahead until passing 1500ft before turning left".
Above aircraft climbed straight ahead to 1500ftIf the above is true, I am sure many will jump up and down and criticise the crew :(

I believe (ATC thread on here) an AF A320 did something similar sometime back, but off 09R... so ATC / Police / Security whatever went bananas as it blatted over London at 1500' (Doubt anyone's so concerned about Bracknell :) ) ATCers here expressed amazement the AF pilot had not understood the brief, last minute change to his SID given with his TO clnc...

I did express my feelings that a SID is extensively briefed well prior departure, FMCs checked and cross checked etc., and if ATC give, esp a non-English speaker, a quick and maybe "English shorthand" amendment as he starts to roll, that errors like this are more likely.

As a wild guess, seems a bit of a non-event to me, and hopefully lessons will be duly learnt.

PPRuNe Pop
23rd Dec 2005, 22:23
I remember, a good few years back now, a People's Express 74 t/o from LGW and barely cleared Russ Hill just west of the airport! Very hairy! I was at the time driving past the end of 26L when being seriously aware the 74 had very little height.

Not sure what the outcome of that was. Potentially very nasty though.

24th Dec 2005, 07:53
I think you are referring to the infamous(?) Continental 747 (100 or 200) departure where they suffered a double engine failure (or something like that) on T/O. Apparently the cars in the locality all took a good kerosene wash!


24th Dec 2005, 08:53
C'mon Flightman, they're sometimes only just over 4000ft; I've watched them on radar whilst also eyeballing them! I've also seen them just make 4000ft by Guildford, but that's very rare. I see them over the Woking area struggling to climb AND accelerate with 'large' amounts of flap and power selected on many occasions.

PPRuNe Pop
24th Dec 2005, 12:26
Apparently the cars in the locality all took a good kerosene wash!

Ughhh! Mine included. I forgot to mention that - wondered what the hell was happening! :yuk:

Ummm! Continental/Peoples Express - you may be right.

24th Dec 2005, 13:16
Think it was a Conti 747, one eng fail during T/O, pitch was to hi and aircraft was failing to climb.

Crew lowered the nose and fixed the problem, however a close shave, many lessons that day.

Crew did a great job to save aircraft, think it was a Lady Capt.

24th Dec 2005, 16:40
Actually the Continental crew could have made life much easier for themselves if they had turned 20 to the left and avoided Russ Hill.

We've had this conversation before but the problem was that the FAA would not allow an emergency turn within the net flight path whereas the CAA allowed such a manoeuvre provided that the bank angle did not exceed 15. (To those of you who don't know what the net flight path is it is that portion of the flight that extends from an engine failure at V1 to 1500 feet above datum).

This meant that UK operators could come out of LGW on Runway 26 at much higher gross weights than their American brothers.

Nevertheless, I have often wondered what the conversation on the flight deck must have been like.

"Holy sh*t Al, we are going to get really close to that hill".

"Yeah but we are not allowed to turn to avoid it!"

It's a bit like saying "I don't mind dying but I would as sure as hell hate to lose my licence!"

25th Dec 2005, 01:19
Infomation please.

Dep or ARR.

If this was a BA 744 on 3, we would know all the tyre pressures by now.!!!

25th Dec 2005, 10:17
1 Some say a 777,but the local paper shows an A340 on their front page.
2 Egyptair
3 Heathrow
4 People say it was northbound at about 1500 feet..so probably arriving for 09L
All above very much hearsay and not worth the screen it is printed on!
Happy Christmas

25th Dec 2005, 19:54

Thanks for information.

Think many posts, mention Departure.

Think this Airline has many many types in service, belive they even have more types than a British Airline.

I guess about 1/2 will come out in the wash......

25th Dec 2005, 20:04
Look (http://www.egyptair.com.eg/docs/inside/insideaircraft.htm) at all the types. :ugh:

26th Dec 2005, 08:37
As a resident of a village south of Bracknell, I would be very interested in the source of this article or claim (and the facts)
Yes there have been some seemingly (to the laymen) low flights when EGLL using 09L/R ops, but nothing exceptional that I have witnessed.( Yes the GA traffic and odd vintage aircraft do fly around the area.)
One Bracknell resident quoted in a newspaper, but not one peep from anyone on board, I am sure if they had been exceptionally low, and wobbling about (press/witness words) there would have been someone who will have said something.
BUT, however, saying that, there seems to be some interesting press reports of UFO's in the north Bracknell area, maybe someone has been sniffing the xmas sherry a bit early.

27th Dec 2005, 13:47

What type of height finding system were you using?
When was it last calibrated?
What laboratory carried out the calibration, and where is the calibration certificate?

Sorry to single you out, but that's what I would say to anyone who said things like 'it was only at 1500ft'.

Reports from untrained observers like the one in the Bracknell News should be taken with a pinch of salt.
There is a retired scientist who lives near the place where I work; he apparently has a line drawn on his window; if an aircraft passes below that line, he claims it's too low and he complains. This has never been calibrated by an approved authority of course, but as he's a scientist, the local press and NIMBYs always believe him.

Charles Darwin
27th Dec 2005, 14:54
Did the Conti continue to the US on 3 engines??? :}

27th Dec 2005, 22:10
Couple of facts.

The Egypt Air flight was a departure, and I can categorically state it didnt have a technical issue.

Cant say anything else incase I get rumbled. :uhoh:

27th Dec 2005, 23:36
Air or Airlines.

777 or 340.

Dep or Arr.


Guess time will tell the true story.....!!!!

28th Dec 2005, 00:01

You have a fair and valid point, but what I said was

"I would guess, no more than 1500 ft AGL."

with the emphasis on guess.

I have a reasonable familiarity with aviation and, in particular, with the traffic patterns at Wycombe, and this was a most unusual event. FWIW, I've had a little experience flying light aircraft and, in happier days, been a guest on the flight deck of 744s many, many times. I think I can make a fair guess at an aircraft's height -- but you are of course correct, it was a guess.

But if he was at 1500' AGL, he would have been at 2000'+ QNH which would be OK for transiting the Wycombe ATZ :}

I share your dislike of the "retired scientist" with the line on his window and the laziness of the press who love an easy story from a pseudo-authoritative source.

My local paper loves stories about people "threatened" by "radiation" from "telephone masts".

Del Prado
29th Dec 2005, 08:30
Hold on the Left gave a pretty good explanation on page 1. Why all the hypothesising?

There is a video on t'internet (somewhere) taken from the cabin of that Coa 747 out of Gatwick.