View Full Version : Zurich Airport Closed

12th Aug 2002, 20:26
Does someone know the reason for the closure of ZRH for about 30min tonight?

Rumours say there was a take off abortion. Anyone has more details?

I think nothing dramatic just a lot of delays and a mess on the ground due to delayed arrivals.


Proceed As Cleared
12th Aug 2002, 20:55
A Sri Lankan A330-200 with smoking main gear had to be towed off the RWY.

12th Aug 2002, 21:34
sri lankan 330 bloked rwy 16 for about 30 miniutes after smoke was reported to be coming out from the main landig gear

12th Aug 2002, 22:10
Thank you guys!
Looks like a rejected T/O at high speed to me with subsequent hot brakes. Obviously they needed the firebrigade and then they had to close the airport because the firebrigade wouldn't have been ready for a possible other urgency/emergency. Guess this is a common procedure, although I think they should have enough fire fighting capacity at bigger airports like ZRH to be able to handle more than just one case at once. It really messes up the whole approach sequence (we were initially told to expect 45min holding, luckily it turned out to be only 20min at the end). Is this normal at other airports that they have to close it because of a rejected T/O and a busy firebrigade?
I'm basing my statements on assumptions here, although I still don't know the real facts and how serious it was. Just curious about the mentioned scenario.

Someone else with more facts about the incident?


Feather #3
12th Aug 2002, 22:47
The ATC convention, worldwide I believe, is that once the crash alarm is pressed, the surface of the aerodrome is "owned" by the emergency services who have the right to proceed as and where they like, and ATC can no longer guarantee the sanctity of their domain. Thus, the aerodrome is closed to all operations, except subsequent emergencies.

Once any emergency site is secured, control is formally handed back to ATC and the a/d reopened.

G'day ;)

Midnight Blue
12th Aug 2002, 23:14
Event was at 19.10 local time. Airplane was 4R-ALA A 330 Sri Lankan. Firebrigade reported at least one tire on fire, others very hot. The plane came to stop on rwy 16 about 300-400m before intersection 28, so rwys 14 and 28 were clear and unobstructed. In spite of that two Avros got ordered to go around on 14 but Zurich tower explained the situation, that fire brigade was busy with the Airbus incident and not able to care about other traffic. So the Airport was closed. I was #4 in line for Beron 4Y Departure on rwy 28. We shut down one engine to save fuel during the "indefinite delay"... so did the BA and AF in front of us.

Luckily nobody was injured, as I guess. Better stay on the ground with a problem, than take it in the air, if you are slow yet...

Somebody knows, if the gear problem was the cause or the result of the abort? They had more than 1000m runway left, does the A 330 abort automatically or has the captain any influence on the braking intensity?

12th Aug 2002, 23:32
Feather #3, it's not quite like that in the UK. Traditionally - that means that's how it was when I was a trainee many years ago - Airport Fire Service attend in the first instance, external services arrive and take over and, if situation does not require their assistance, the AFS return to station, replenish and provide cover for airport operations. ATC remain in charge but will do whatever assists the emergency services - commonly stopping other operations and giving fire vehicles etc a free run if it's serious.

In reality, it's all a bit different but I think that remains the technical answer in this part of the world.

Big Tudor
13th Aug 2002, 07:58
Although probably not applicable in this case, deployment of the AFS could also adversely affect the available crash/fire category for an airport. The category is based on the number of firefighters and the amount of fire suppressant available and also the time it would take to deploy the vehicles. If water or foam is used then the available fire category is reduced until the vehicle can be replenished. If the fire category available is below that required for a certain aircraft type then landings by that aircraft could be suspended. If memory serves correct.

13th Aug 2002, 14:18
Feather... not quite correct, at least as far as the UK goes. If airfields had to shut every time the AFS turned out not much air traffic would move. At Heathrow - and probably everywhere else in the UK - there are set positions on the airfield where the safety services will standby. In getting to those positions ATC will provide separation between the safety vehicles and other ground traffic. However, everything certainly does not stop. The AFS may wish to enter the runway to follow and aircraft and this is agreed with ATC. There is liaison between ATC and the AFS by telephone and radio so everyone knows what's going on. At Heathrow where one runway is used for departures and one for landers the traffic on the "other" runway continues normally and this means that taxying a/c continue normally too.

13th Aug 2002, 16:48
So in this case, why did they not continue to use rwy14 for landing and rwy28 for T/O? Do you think that all the AFS capacity was used by the mentioned incident? I guess BIG TUDOR has a valid point about the fire fighting category, but then why did they close it completly and didn't even allow smaller A/C to land? Maybe there are some more ATC-guys willing to shed some light on this topic! Thanks.

13th Aug 2002, 22:22
Midnight Blue
No influence on breake intensity. It's always full breaks above 72Kt. Unless you press the pedals. In this case Auto BReak is off:


Feather #3
13th Aug 2002, 22:49
Thanks Spitoon and H'row Director for sorting that out for me.

BA 16's little problem at SYD the other day saw the parallel 34R back in use very quickly, so maybe we have updated since my last brief.

Talk to you Sat morning.


Hooligan Bill
14th Aug 2002, 09:21

The situation in the UK is that one of the things that defines the level of fire cover is the amount of available water/foam. Once an incident requires the use of either of these then the published figure becomes depleted. Because the fire service do not know how much they are going to use during the incident it is not possible to say what the available fire cover is at any time. This assessment can only be made once the incident is over when the Officer in charge will infrom ATC or the Aerodrome Authority of the available cover and when the published level will be restored.
Some large airports will have resources availble which are above and beyond the minimum required for their published cover, and may still be able to operate at their published level. At airports where the fire cover is at a level at or only slightly above the published minimum then once any water or foam is used operations will have to be suspended as you have no idea what cover is or will be available at the end of the incident.

14th Aug 2002, 14:59
Given the amount of negative publicity ZRH has received in the fairly recent past, is anybody surprised by a cautious reaction.

LHR has a lot more experience with problem situations, and probably a bit more equipment to deal with them. A supposition on my part. But I can certainly understand a cautious approach to any negative situation in ZRH, both now and in the future.

15th Aug 2002, 14:41
Hi there,
was on short final for rwy14 at zrh when we heard somebody else
informing the Sri Lankan crew about the smoke in their main gear area when they just started take-roll. Abortion took place at approx. 80 kts, not faster.

15th Aug 2002, 19:05
Thanks "Hooligan Bill"!

So it must have been something else than smoking tyres after heavy braking, since "acutus" states that the smoke emerged from the gear area even before they aborted.