View Full Version : Brussels Airlines - 6 incidents in 3 weeks (RJ1H flaps)

23rd Nov 2010, 07:50
I was considering posting after 5, but didn't want to sound alarmist - but having a 6th the next day?! With passengers?!

3/Nov - OO-DWI
Incident: Brussels Airlines RJ1H at Vienna on Nov 3rd 2010, flaps problem (http://www.avherald.com/h?article=433064c3&opt=1)

16/Nov - OO-DWD
Incident: Brussels Airlines RJ1H at Gothenburg on Nov 16th 2010, flaps problem (http://www.avherald.com/h?article=4338a9c5&opt=1)

18/Nov - OO-DWD
Incident: Brussels Airlines RJ1H at Bologna on Nov 18th 2010, flaps problem (http://www.avherald.com/h?article=4339a757&opt=1)

19/Nov - OO-DWI
Incident: Brussels Airlines RJ1H at Brussels on Nov 19th 2010, flaps problem (http://www.avherald.com/h?article=433b50a8&opt=1)

21/Nov - OO-DWI
Incident: Brussels Airlines RJ1H at Vilnius on Nov 21st 2010, flaps problem (http://www.avherald.com/h?article=433b9465&opt=1)

22/Nov - OO-DWD
Incident: Brussels Airlines RJ1H at Budapest on Nov 22nd 2010, flaps failure (http://www.avherald.com/h?article=433c2769&opt=1)

23rd Nov 2010, 08:12
De Standaard Online - Brussels Airlines houdt twee Avro-toestellen aan de grond (http://www.standaard.be/artikel/detail.aspx?artikelid=DMF20101122_079)

Article in a Belgian newspaper stating that Brusseks Airlines has grounded 2 Avrojets. for further investigation.
I guess that will be the same two.

Agaricus bisporus
23rd Nov 2010, 11:09
resulting in a safe landing at a higher than normal speed.

Flap lockouts are a well known feature of 146/RJ operations, the system design is just prone to them. Certainly there is a trend developing there and it needs to be looked at, my guess is that examination of maintenance procedures will solve it, but its not exactly a big deal. Not like the SAS Dash undercarriage business, and that hurt precisely no-one except the accountants.

23rd Nov 2010, 11:48
Quote: I was considering posting after 5, but didn't want to sound alarmist
Dymonaz what is your point? You are either a jorno phishing or do not really understand flying. A flapless landing is only a big deal if the runway is short. The airline obviously has a tech problem on these 2 aircraft which is finally going to be sorted after grounding them, no big deal, it happens every hour of the day somehere in the world.

23rd Nov 2010, 12:39
You are either a jorno phishing or do not really understand flying.

No, I'm not a journo, but I'm not a pilot either - that's why I hesitated about posting - even though I do spend [too much] time here reading.

Is there cause to be worried? I don't know. Should they have grounded the aircraft earlier? I don't know. Is there a need to discuss this? As far as I understand, your opinion is "no". Thank you, it is noted and appreciated. If it makes anyone feel any better - I do not plan to participate in the discussion, nor post any of my own opinions, simply because I'm not qualified to do so - but creating a topic for this particular fact - I feel it had to be done.


6 very similar "occurencies" which are categorized as "incidents" did happen in 3 weeks. They didn't happen for others. That's a fact - not even a rumour.

no big deal, it happens every hour of the day somehere in the world.

You mean flapless landings (when they shouldn't be flapless) happen every hour? Then how come Brussels Airlines are singled out in the incident list?

Joao da Silva
23rd Nov 2010, 12:54
it happens every hour of the day somehere in the world.

If you mean an airliner performing a flapless landing, would you be kind enough to provide a definitive reference for that?

23rd Nov 2010, 13:26
my guess is that examination of maintenance procedures will solve it
my guess as well, shortening the lubrication interval did the trick when the 737-300 series had the same problem; although that was at the beginning of its lifecycle, not at its end as is the case with the RJ;)

23rd Nov 2010, 14:37
The BAe146/Avro RJ aircraft has always had a bit of a thing with flap problems. I have had to do a couple of flapless landings myself. As someone has already said, it is absolutely no big deal unless the runway is too short. If it is, then you need to divert to an airfield with a longer runway.

The cause is usually the flap computer or a lack of grease in the runners.

23rd Nov 2010, 14:51
Littleboy 262
I find it really amazing to be told to "pull my head in" by someone of such obvious vaste experience in aviation matters. Is is some sort of african equivalent to "wind my neck in"? because I am rolling about laughing at the moment. Read JW 411's post. This problem is well know to operators of the 146 and I do not think any of them would be at all woried about one side coming out as a result of a few flap failures. You guys should really go and find something real to be concerned about as opposed to revealing your ignorance on these matters. How about aviation safety in Africa, that should be good for starters.

23rd Nov 2010, 15:08
One of my many roles in the industry was as an aircraft inspector at Hatfield. U/C, hydraulics and flaps were a daily task and the flap system was never brilliant at new build stage. I gaurentee, everyone aboard would be awake on final approach!

23rd Nov 2010, 17:00
Flapless in the 146/RJ is indeed no big deal. In my eight years on type, I had two or three or four (it was such a non-event that I canít remember just how many).

But what doesnít impress me is the laissez-fair attitude of the successive crews who didnít insist on a proper investigation. One of ours had a (parallel) short history of pressurisation failures. When it happened to me, I decided that enough was enough Ė and so did my fleet manager. So it was taken out of service and FIXED PROPERLY.


23rd Nov 2010, 17:26
Quote "Hawker, Look at the stats. Most of the "market" for this forum is not even registered.

Currently Active Users
512 (169 members & 343 guests)"

That's not at all the topic here, but personally I usually don't log in, so I might appear as guest, and as such I don't mean to be rude to my hosts but there may be more people than you think who are in this case.
Just to add a bit of moderation to the idea behind what you say. But again not the matter here.

23rd Nov 2010, 18:12
Looks to me like someone jumped out of bed the wrong side...the guy doesn't deserve to be shouted down so stridently.As a non-pilot "aviation professional" I may have asked a similar qu.

I see Dymonaz is in Dublin...are your savings tied up in the Irish bailout fund Hawker? I might have had a little shout at him too if that were the case:E

23rd Nov 2010, 18:49
I'm surprised SN Brussels had a problem with their RJs, they have the most reliable, fault free RJs in the world. Having worked at a European outstation with Brussels RJs as a nightstopping aircraft for the past 7 months, no defect ever went in the tech log when I was on shift. I did see one Captain writing something in the tech log, funnily enough it was a flap fault, but when I started to look into doing a flap reset he stopped me saying "..no action is required because I wrote 'for info' at the start". Yeah right....

23rd Nov 2010, 18:58
Don't know what happened to my previous post. But I'll take the bait and reply to you hawker.

First of all. This is a public forum. It is a rumour network. It is set up not just for pilots, but for engineers, cabin crew, plane spotters, military and ATC as well. I have a few other choice words that I could use here to describe where your head is, but I guess thats the reason as to why my original post was deleted.

Obviously since you have a lot of years on me, Im sure that your logbook will have a few more hours than mine, but theres no need to talk down on my experience.
No doubt you've shot a few more ILS approaches onto many long runways around the world. But I've sure as hell had some experiences here that I doubt you have ever, or will ever, experience in your lifetime. Where I am, flaps are a pretty important piece of equipment. Yes, a lot of runways you don't need them, and if you understand your plane and what is going to happen without them, then it wont be a big deal.

But tell me. If you look there has been a 747 overrun into seattle. Before everyone starts jumping up and down like crazed babboons, I realise different aircraft, different place, different circumstances than what we are talking about here and is in no way related to that incident.

Thats a pretty large runway there. Crap conditions, icey and all the rest of it. Now it stopped in the clearway after the &quot;runway&quot; finished. Tell me how that would have worked out if the flaps had failed to deploy? Im pretty sure they wouldn't have expected to run out of runway even with if they had failed flaps.

Scenario 2. Im unfamiliar with that aircraft, so do not know if there are failsafes with how the flaps deploy, or what settings they use on take-off. So the pilots are low to the ground just after take off, through 300ft, captian calls for flaps to be retracted. One goes up. One stays down. Next moment we have assymetric flaps and the plane is wanting to roll onto its back.

Now that is just me playing the doom bringer in how something like this COULD play out. Chances are that it will never happen, but, and there is always that but, it could happen.

This is meant to be Europe. High safety standards. If you have a system, you expect it to work most of the time. Not become a common incident that you just shrug off. Otherwise, what is the point in even having it on the aircraft?

Oh and by the way, I'm not from Africa. Im just working here. And I find the safety standards of most of the countries around the one that Im working in, appaling. Specially to the north. But thats totally a different matter and not one that needs to be discussed here.

23rd Nov 2010, 19:01
And apologies for my above post. I am trying to put spaces between paragraphs and it isn't letting me... Unless it is something to do with the display at my end, then I apologise for this useless post.

23rd Nov 2010, 19:10
I have found that to get proper paragraph spacing you might need to hit Return twice. The "Preview" mode will enable you to see what you are about to post and give the chance to make corrections.


23rd Nov 2010, 20:41
Don't know what happened to my previous post.

hawker750's original post has disappeared - moderated, I guess - and so have all the immediate replies - at least three, including mine.

24th Nov 2010, 00:40
I'd be greatly surprised if an AVRO, with take-off flaps selected, would go into a irreversible roll ending up-side down if it had asymmetrical flaps occurence during climb-out.

Lolflyboy, I'm not sure what outfit you fly for in Africa, but flap retraction through 300ft AGL is to my knowledge completely unseen with regards to medium passenger jet aircraft.

Regardless, performance on an AVRO is not an issue when we're talking landing distance. The aircraft is a brick with 4 engines strapped to it. Even coming in at clean speed.

24th Nov 2010, 08:18
Well that edit seemed to make it work properly :8

like I said D105, Im unfamiliar with the settings on take off for this type, but even 10 degrees would make a hell of a difference in a assymetric situation! Had one before and it scared the bejebus out of me.
Im still with the "heavy" lighties so 300ft is usually pleanty, but I would have thought the first stage of flap would be retracted pretty early?

Its not the floating on landing thats going to kill you, thats something that is easy to anticipate, its the higher ground speed and longer ground roll that can be a little harder to judge, specially in contiminated runway situations.

All you need to do is look through previous accidents and you will see the "Swiss cheese" model to a majority of them. A simple fix to a common problem fills in one of these holes and can stop the chain of events.

24th Nov 2010, 09:51
Yesterday evening at GVA: Another Brussels Airlines Flap problem with an RJ100...

24th Nov 2010, 10:34
The BAe146/Avro RJ has a built-in flap asymmetry protection system. If the slightest asymmetry is detected, the flaps stay exactly where they are.

24th Nov 2010, 11:38
after 6 years on the 146/RJ 100 / 85 flaps are very big and powerful and that`s why its got so many flap problems. You have flap computers that give low rate flaps at the drop of a hat with any problems, i think any driver knows the ground reset procedure off by heart! and other problems and the safety lanes kick in to lock flaps in position to prevent asymmetric flap as this will kill you!. The RJ had a better drive shaft than the 146 to stop it breaking if you made a flap reversal selection but still retained the same safety system, with flap fail you had hyd safety brakes activate. With any flap down reduced flap landing not a problem but flapless was very fast and expect to have brake overheat / fire. You needed a very long runway at high weights. Turb use to "re rack" the flap computers and cause problems. also incorrect selection, not being positive with what you wanted also created a flap fault. Faulty sensors on flaps or selection lever would generate failures also electrical spikes would give you a flap fault. Its one of those RJ things!. Just like the air system! lots of dings to keep you awake!. May find that the start of winter ops is causing problems, liberal use of De-ice in the wrong places often causes problems.

24th Nov 2010, 15:45
It depends how you use the brakes. I have never seen more than 650 degrees on a flapless. Landing distance required is usually around 2500 metres depending on weight.

24th Nov 2010, 18:33
Thanks for that DHC.
I knew it couldnt have been such a "no problem" event. That sort of thinking is excatly why there are so many crashes in my part of the world!

Sure now with so many of these aircraft around, and for the length of time they have been in service, someone could have designed something to work these kinks out? Why hasn't a CAA around the world somewhere gone... "Now hang on a minute"

24th Nov 2010, 19:26
I have a terrible confession to make. I only flew the BAe146 for 19 years so I quite obviously do not know what I am talking about. You might possibly end up with the flaps stuck up or at any other intermediate position but I have never ever heard of anyone having a flap asymmetry.

24th Nov 2010, 19:48
Uh JW, I never said that you didn't know what you were talking about?
He didnt say that it happens all the time, just said that if it happens, it will kill you, as opposed to what someone else had said earlier.

My problem is with the "Its no problem" attitude. 99.9999% of the time, it isnt a problem. But you only need the .0001%. Just like winning the lottery.

In the cockpit, I'm not the type of person that will go "Oh my god, we are going to die." at every issue.
But I still believe that prevention is better than cure. And surely from an economic stand point, it is better to sort the issues than having to drag the plane into maintence to fix it?

24th Nov 2010, 20:56
With regards to flap asymmetry there has never been an incident on the 146 / RJ. The system works and that`s why the flap safety lanes are there. Just don`t turn the Hyd off!. The weak point is the the flap computer and sensors. The drive train was improved with the RJ.

As i stated flapless landing is an issue at high weights (146-300, RJ100) 40200KG is a lot of energy to loose and an approach speed of 190kts +. It never fails when your 36000KGS!

In terms of risk and safety, flapless is a practiced sim training item and well within the scope of an average crew on the worse day. A reduced flap landing is not going to be an issue. Flap 24 is a normal landing flap position and anything else is a bonus. (unless you are going somewhere short like LCY).

I`m sure Brussels airlines will find the problem and fix it. It was always the way that several aircraft in the fleet tended to develop the same kind of problems around the same time normally due to time in service and similar factors affecting the aircraft.

Agaricus bisporus
25th Nov 2010, 10:31
I think some here are jumping to conclusions over these reports. Although I agree that the statement "Flaps did not extend" might infer a flapless condition it can equally mean "...did not extend fully" which is an entirely different thing. Yet most of the reports in the first post merely reported "flap problems" so nothing at all is stating flapless. And let's not get too het-up over brakes that are designed to get hot getting hot either, isn't that what they're supposed to do.

I have a vague recollection (some might argue it's my normal state) of grease being implicated on the assymetry lockouts that occur so readily on the 146. Excessive grease or using the "wrong" kind formed up with ice to cause a restriction, and the assymetry protection is so over-sensitive it only has to be a little one, in the freedom of movement and Pop! Lockout. Changing to a differrent type of grease and/or being more sparing with it sorted the problem.
This is the time of year when the first real icing is experienced at flap extension levels and if the engineers have got in the habit of slapping the stuff on over the summer what do you suppose happens next? The engineering solution really might be as simple as an oily rag.

Whether or not that is correct in this particular instance something that simple can cause a spate of incidents resulting in press attention, wild speculation here and handbags at dawn...

It really is no big deal. Jeez, I fear some modern aviators are so insulated from reality by modern systems that they're in danger of becoming far too precious over non-events like non-standard flap settings or unfamiliar looking temps on the BTIs. Guys, there is a huge range of grey shades in between black and white, I know it isn't the modern way to recognise this, but they're still there, whether or not it is trendy to admit it.

The assymetry system is there to prevent hazardous conditions and it works very well indeed. The aircraft and their contents are being kept safe and pilots are merely using alternative procedures to do so. What's the beef?
Whatever happened to Airmanship and judgement?

25th Nov 2010, 11:27
Am with JW411 (quite literally) all the way on this one. In the early days it was found that the clay, (a component of this and most greases), was to a degree hygroscopic, and in freezing conditions the grease "firmed-up" and stopped the flaps deploying. A change of spec, some experimentation as to how much and where, saw the problem solved.
As the usual lock-out occured immediately when deploying from flaps zero to any other setting, (so they never actually moved), we pilots also contributed to reducing the problem. As a lock-out is caused by a sensing of the degree of resistance to movement, we simply unloaded some of the aerodynamic load by selecting flap at a speed well below the book limit for the amount of flap being selected, (within minimum manoeuvring constraints of course).
It worked. Maybe present-day drivers might like to consider this rationale if the problem ever starts occurring in their fleets.

25th Nov 2010, 14:22
Just to get things into perspective, I recall getting airborne one filthy winter night from Copenhagen. I was training a new F/O who had come from the Dornier 228 and he was the pilot flying. He had not done many sectors on the BAe146 but he was a tidy pilot.

The flaps stuck at 18 degrees after take-off. I think he expected me to take over but I asked him what he was going to do next? And so it was that we went through the flap fault/flap inop checklist and, surprise, surprise, were now faced with an 18 degree flap let down and landing in very shitty conditions.

I basically told him "You got us into this mess so you can get us out of it".

You will be astonished to learn that he did a great job (I knew he would).

Two things come out of this:

a: The BAe146 with abnormal flap situations is not a difficult aircraft to handle.

b: My student's confidence level in the aircraft and in his own ability went up hugely that night.

Finally, and I mean finally, I would say to my friend in Botswana that if he is looking to rid aviation of a 0.0000000001 risk factor then he is on a complete loser. What he is trying to say is that if a B737 were to lose a wing on take-off, then the situation would not be recoverable but should be.

Get a life, that's the way the cookie crumbles.

P.S. The last time I went to Francistown was from Matsapa. WANELA were flying DC-3s and DC-4s. Shortly afterwards, someone filled one of the DC-4s with AVTUR (JET A1) instead of AVTAG (AVGAS). I think they were all killed.

So maybe, instead of making aeroplanes 100% safe, you should concentrate on the 50/50 situations like putting the correct fuel into your aeroplane in the first place?

25th Nov 2010, 20:34
It seems to be something with the older guys, who I guess after flying for many years, have the god complex about them.
I have nothing but respect for the older guys that have had their licences for so long that the number on the card is 0000002. I do my best to learn as much as I can from them. Case in point with abukaboy just sharing some good advice.
But there is a point where you can stow the attitude.

The point I am trying to make is the fact that this is a KNOWN problem. I don't recall hearing about a 737 wing falling off. Do you?
It the problem is as simple as grease. Why can they not design a safegaurd against it? Is prevention better than cure?

Don't even get me started on africa. Prevention is definately better than cure here....

26th Nov 2010, 02:12
lilflyboy262 wrote:Scenario 2. Im unfamiliar with that aircraft, so do not know if there are failsafes with how the flaps deploy, or what settings they use on take-off. So the pilots are low to the ground just after take off, through 300ft, captian calls for flaps to be retracted. One goes up. One stays down. Next moment we have assymetric flaps and the plane is wanting to roll onto its back.

Performance 'A' defines the lowest Acceleration Height as being 400ft AGL.
For a number of reasons, most large jet operators (typically) nominate lowest Acceleration Heights of 800ft, or 1000ft, or 1500ft AGL.

Most jet aircraft types have flap/slat asymmetry detection & protection systems. In the event that, when commanding the flaps to move from one position to the next, where an asymmetry is encountered during that movement, the system should stop all movement at (or very close to) the position where the asymmetry was detected; thus leaving the aircraft in a predominantly neutral position (wrt any tendency to roll, due to unbalanced aerodynamics).

Now in the event that you 1) have an asymmetry and 2) the asymmetry detection system also fails, what will then happen is that part of the flaps/slats system will continue to move to the commanded position, whilst some other part remains in a stuck position. With unbalanced aerodynamic forces, there will certainly be some tendency for the aircraft to roll, but not so much that it can't be counteracted with either aileron or rudder.

The key here is that the flaps are normally moved in a progressive manner and that should allow plenty of opportunity to both detect & deal with any asymmetry that is not detected and locked out by a (failed) flap asymmetry detection system.
And it somewhat goes without saying that the flight crew need to be vigilant for potential malfunctions when making changes to an aircraft's configuration.

lilflyboy262, yes, with an asymmetry there will be some tendency to roll, but it is unlikely to be some sort of flick-roll and therein it is most unlikely that the aircraft will be "wanting to roll on to its back", (as you somewhat melodramatically put it! ). At its very worst you'd need both of the aforementioned failures, whilst continuing to command an ever increasing asymmetric condition via the flap lever, and then do nothing about it (which would be a pretty outrageous set of circumstances, imho ).

26th Nov 2010, 03:31
Thanks for that :)
I have had assymetric before. I guess the fact that it had barn doors for flaps may have made a difference but it wanted to roll pretty quick. That was going from 40 degrees to 18.
Not something that I would want to experience in IMC thats for sure.