View Full Version : BA emergency landing 1st Sept at LHR

2nd Sep 2002, 22:26
just for anyone's interest, G-BNLN 747-400 had to make an 'emergency' landing at heathrow yesterday due to a total loss of fluid in no. 2 hydraulic system. only 2 drivers on the whole thing, we had just despatched it from BA Cardiff, sphincters flexing in cardiff, turns out to be a cracked hydraulic pipe (not our fault butt!!) apparently cardiff tower told the drivers that there was something coming out the back of no. 2, but they had decided to plod on as EICAS told them everythin was just fine!!

Notso Fantastic
2nd Sep 2002, 22:50
Sorry, but where's the drama? Just off major maintenance on delivery back to LHR, 2 pilots, no passengers. Hardly an 'emergency' is it? Just a hydraulic leak- taking out one of the four hydraulic systems (one of the less important ones).

3rd Sep 2002, 12:48
I see that moo's topic on the BA jumbo (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=65621) has been closed PDQ. I had hoped to be able to post there, but....... sorry mods for the thread split.

A few words of advice to 'Not-So', if I may:

I see from your previous posts that you appear to have set yourself up as an 'unofficial' RP moderator. I'm sure Danny would appreciate help in the future - have you approached him?

I feel you were a little harsh with 'moo' (a reasonably long-serving ppruner) there, and I hope you will accept a few words of advice from a perhaps more 'moderate' forum member?

Firstly, you took him to task for raising this 'reported point'. Whether it was 'an emergency' really depends on definition:-

Was one declared, or did it land 'secretly'?

Did the crew carry out any emergency check-list items?

Your call.

Secondly, I do feel this item is worthy of RP, IMHO, (but await the forum moderators decision on it, of course). 'moo' APPEARS to be involved in the maintenance of BA aircraft at Cardiff. Hence, an 'interest'. A semi-question raised as to why the crew APPEARED to ignore ATC warnings of a leak.

You appear to have detailed knowledge of both the incident and the systems involved. May I suggest a softer style of reply next time, perhaps to inform the forum readership of the system implications, and then perhaps to give an opinion on the nature of this 'emergency'?

If you ARE to be a pprune moderator, you will have to remain fairly 'neutral' - as the fine people here do (mostly!). You appear to react dramatically AGAINST anyone who criticises BA pilots and PRO anyone who criticises BA management and you really will have to try and stand back a bit more. I do hope you will look seriously at my advice.


Bally Heck
3rd Sep 2002, 16:14
I understand that ATC consider a hydraulic failure on an aircraft to be an emergency situation. They will push the button that gets the blue lights flashing if you so much as whisper "hydraulic problem". Is that correct HD?

Perhaps certain people on this learned forum think ATC SOP's are wrong?

gas path
3rd Sep 2002, 16:46
There was actually slightly more to it than a simple hydraulic leak, but, fortunately nothing to do with BAMC.
I've seen the trace;)

3rd Sep 2002, 16:46
muchos gratzias flt_lt_w_mitty!! A whole subject dedicated to me!! I did wonder why the topic was locked out.........

notso, I do believe that I started my post "for anyone's interest", if you weren't all that interested then why didn't you just click the back button at the top left?? Granted, it aint front page of the 'Telegraph' material, but seein as my usual haunt is the wannabes forum, I kinda thought it may be a bit more appreciated here.
BAMC had a phone call on Sunday evening from Maintrol 30 mins after NLN departed EGFF - they were a lot pissed off to say the least, and said that NLN had just made an emergency landing at EGLL and basically that the **** would be hitting the fan in Cadiff in the morning. (stop me if i'm boring you notso)
It turns out (for anyone's interest) that a crack in one of the hydraulic pipes had been disturbed by us (as far as I am aware), and basically wasn't our fault that no. 2 hydraulic system failed.

I'm currently studying for my ATPLs and hope to get a RH seat one day, hopefully in a BA 747-400, hopefully not next to you notso!

I rest my case. p.s. thank you for your support!

3rd Sep 2002, 16:56
That post deserved entry in RP.

744 EICAS has hyd. pressure on it - the fact that it apparently didn't show up is surely a point for future notice.

As a matter of fact one might beg the question - how'd they know
without EICAS telling them ?
Stab trim slow ?

3rd Sep 2002, 17:02
Aren't you lucky mr. boeing put more than 1 pipe in then !

3rd Sep 2002, 17:05
Distant Rumble, I think the flight crew got warned by at some stage by EICAS, but they must have been close enough to LHR to continue..

Captain Airclues
3rd Sep 2002, 17:08
The loss of the #2 hydraulic system does not, in itself, cause many problems. The only items lost are the right autopilot and the system 2 alternate brake source. The stabiliser trim rate and spoiler capibilty are also reduced.
My main concern would be that the leaking fluid might come into contact with hot brakes on landing, so I might ask the firemen to have a look at it, but perhaps I'm just over-cautious.


3rd Sep 2002, 18:51
Hmmmmmm......someone seems to have touched a nerve here.

An aircraft on approach with the fault described would be automatically declared an emergency, regardless of whether there are 450 occupants or 2 occupants.

Therefore, moo's terminology is correct. This was an Emergency Landing.

Why get so upset about this?

4th Sep 2002, 07:44
Everything in aviation seems to be an 'emergency' even a tech stop for fuel it would seem. Boeing have tried to introduce the idea of 'non normal' but it doesn't seem to be sticking. By the way, has anyone tried setting fire to hydraulic fluid, almost impossible.

4th Sep 2002, 09:00
. . . If Skydrol is atomised, as it might be in a large leak to atmosphere, it burns real good !

Dan Winterland
4th Sep 2002, 09:11
As a 744 driver, I would have declared an emergency but not been overly worried by the loss of Hyd system 2. You lose use the right autopilot, the stab trim movement rate is reduced, you lose some spoiler capability and the alternate brakes. Bearing in mind you have normal and standby brakes, this is not too much of a problem.

4th Sep 2002, 09:26
Was it really 'major maintenance' at Cardiff?

The only reason I ask is that when my 40 year old aircraft type (which are all HMFC can afford) receives major maintenance at 'Scrapheap Challenge' just down the road from Rhoose, they're always given a very thorough Full Air Test before going back into service.

Mind you, flying those things from an aerodrome with narrow taxiways and only one 6000' runway after a total rebuild concentrates the mind somewhat.

4 hydraulic systems? Luxury!!

Sounds like the BA crew, not unsurprisingly, did the correct thing and yes, it would certainly require ATC to be informed if you were landing with a single hydraulic system fsilure.

A and C
4th Sep 2002, 09:36
The loss of one hydrulic system on the 747 is a non event .....but I worry that they might spray the skydrol over my car after all its the best paint stripper known to man !

4th Sep 2002, 09:39
BEagle, NLN was grounded for 50 DAYS!! A full 'D' Check with countless modifications, was glad to see the back of it!
We don't carry out flight tests, and i've never experienced a pressure test at BAMC in many years there. They don't like the fact you've got to pump the Jumbo up to around 25psi to simulate the correct pressure differential!!! We regularly change windscreens, windows and make repairs to the pressurised cabin (including Rear and forward pressure bulkheads) and still the only time its ever happened was during the Section 41 modifications to the classic fleet, and damn, were those drivers twitching!!!

4th Sep 2002, 10:18
Seriph Hydraulic oil not only burns but does so at an extremely high temperature, sufficient for a lot of surrounding materiel to reach it's flash point very quickly. As nilnotedks has already stated, once alight it will burn fiercely and in an atomized state it will ignite very easlily. After a cabin fire a wheel well fire is the most likely to require an immediate evacuation and will then destroy your aircraft, (ask Air France and others, B747).

4th Sep 2002, 10:56
Seriph - as some guys already mentioned, oil is extreamly flamable...However, if you try to light, for example, oil that is spiled out on the ground on fire you will have to work on that for quite a while. Not easy..The problem comes when oil is under hight pressure and "pushed" out through a cracked "tube"...Then the oil will be sprayed out in very fine drops and perfectly mixed with air...Now you have oxygen and a flamable fluid and all you need now is.....a source of heat...that could be ,as mentioned before, hot breaks or a fire......After two years with the Airport Fire depart. I know what I'm talking about.

4th Sep 2002, 11:44
Hi Bally Heck,

Yes, I can confirm that a hydraulic failure constitutes a "Full Emergency" from the ATC point of view, even though it might not be a major concern for the pilot. As has been pointed out, hydraulic fluid leaking onto hot brakes is a possible fire hazard, and who is to say that the situation might not deteriorate by the loss of further systems? I speak from experience after being on the flight deck of a SSC in the 80s which lost one, then another of its three hydraulic systems completely unexpectedly.

Controllers are never criticised for "over reacting" to emergences; far better to be safe than sorry, after all, if things really went pear shaped we would look a bit silly if there were no emergency services in attendance. The bad PR for the airline is not a consideration, I'm afraid.

4th Sep 2002, 16:05
I think the reason Notso... got so hot under the collar is not because of the detail in Moo's account but (judging by statements made on other threads), the fact that a non-pilot dared to make a comment on PPRUNE regarding a BA a/c!

We know we are the scum of the earth Notso.... but do you really have to labour the point on every thread? Give it a rest man!;)

gas path
4th Sep 2002, 16:11
Anyway it's still stuck on the tarmac at LHR awaiting a stab limit switch so make that 52 days:D :D

4th Sep 2002, 16:30
another quality product from taffy's garage!!:D

Notso Fantastic
4th Sep 2002, 16:34
HOVIS- Well I have been reading this thread with interest (fascination more like)! I have been scratching my head as to the point of it. What are we to make of:

<<BA emergency landing yesterday at LHR
just for anyone's interest, G-BNLN 747-400 had to make an 'emergency' landing at heathrow yesterday due to a total loss of fluid in no. 2 hydraulic system. only 2 drivers on the whole thing, we had just despatched it from BA Cardiff, sphincters flexing in cardiff, turns out to be a cracked hydraulic pipe (not our fault butt!!) apparently cardiff tower told the drivers that there was something coming out the back of no. 2, but they had decided to plod on as EICAS told them everythin was just fine!!>>?

Now, does that read to you of "We had LN for 50 days! Got those 2 mugs to take it! Me and the boys.....we wuz laughin'! 'Ad our fingers crossed! Blew their #2 Hydraulics out their tailpipes! Tower told 'em summat was up, but orf they went all the same, EICAS tellin' 'em all OK, but it wuzn't!"

I wonder at the professional pride of having an aeroplane for 50 days then having it do 'an emergency landing' on the first flight. THEN we have the self appointed experts and instant opinion expressers this forum is unfortunately full of pontificating that they did 'an emergency landing (maybe without telling ATC shock horror!)'. Well, in the grand scheme of things, #2 Hydraulics is not Earth shattering. Let's see: Autopilot R inop, Stab trim rate reduced, Spoiler capability reduced, alternate brake source inop. Marginally worse than losing #3, but a LOT less serious than losing #1 or #4. Did they really think EICAS did not reveal the story. I objected greatly to an attempt to malign the professionalism of the 2 pilots and their decision to 'plod on', allegedly in ignorance! If such an event happened after T/O on a HKG-LHR, no pilot in BA would land back. They would all happily fly 12 hours to LHR, so exactly what sort of 'emergency' landing are we talking about? Perhaps it would be better to keep away from such emotive language! Consign it to headlines like "Hundreds not killed in hydraulic emergency! Minor failure handled according to the book! Tech log entry made and repair carried out!". Not really very exciting eh?

4th Sep 2002, 16:49
At least the thread hasn't been stopped this time.

I wonder who re-opened it /combined it.

The same 'type' of posts appear in RP frequently - that's what RP is for.

I have an idea that if this hadn't been stopped it would have gotten 5 or 6 posts - and once everyone had figured out the depth of the problem - i.e. Emergency .vs. non-event it would have dropped off the bottom .

HKG-LHR without no.2 system - can anyone from another 744 carrier confirm that this would indeed be a 'we can continue' thing ?

4th Sep 2002, 17:18
u think ba at cardiff are bad? u should see some of the stuff that st athan has put out over the years. harriers with kim wipe(thats a blue paper towel kind of stuff) left in fuel tanks. buccaneers with nuts put on bolts. mind you those are exceptions , normally saints turn out good kit. i wonder how they manage to hang on to people with ba just down the road?

4th Sep 2002, 17:25
Don't know about the jumbo, but on 2eng/2hyd aircraft with 1stdby hyd system, you only need to Land at nearest suitable airort if you have only 1 system remaining. So you can lose Right Hyd system and as long as the Left and Stby works you can continue to base.

4th Sep 2002, 18:28
Well blue Eagle and Capt Prop, my experience and that of my engineers is that hydraulic oil is very difficult to ignite, certainly on Boeings. Also if the system has failed i.e zero pressure, then there won't be any high pressure sprays will there.

Notso Fantastic
4th Sep 2002, 19:03
DistantRumble- are you sure you are qualified to start making objective decisions about continuing or not? According to your profile, you are qualified to fly nothing with no licences- your nearest apparent connection to aviation being that you live in Dublin, which also happens to have an airport! I'm also interested in how you estimate the number of posts this daft topic would have had if it hadn't been stopped?

I would have hoped IF Moo was studying for ATPL etc, he might have concluded better not to use emotive expressions like 'emergency landing' talking about the major airline of the UK (after LN underwent major maintenance at his own facility) when it simply does not apply. All in a forum where journos are cruising around just beneath the surface with their fins sticking out of the water waiting for just such an opportune target to present itself. Next thing there'll be a full Panorama investigation about 'the unrevealed emergency of XX airline'. If you think that is ridiculous, I remember a few weeks after the Airtours 737 burnout at MAN in '86 I think it was, one of the papers had a photograph of an engineer sticking his head in the cowling of the alleged engine inspecting the front fan blades, with the headline "Did they suspect something was wrong". You cannot be too careful, and Moo should have known better.

Dan Winterland
4th Sep 2002, 19:27
A ans C raises an interesting point about the paint stripping qualities of Skydrol for all those who use the staff car park at LHR.

To save a walk, I always used to park near the northerly bus stop, the one the bus loiters at under the fligt path to 27R. This was until I discoverd the paint on my car blistering in small spots on the roof - I suspect from a Skydrol leak from a landing aircraft. I now park well to the south, no furhter north that the H block.

4th Sep 2002, 19:36
..THE major airline???!!!

rather arrogant assumption isn't it?

Maybe they have the most aircraft/routes/slots, but..

..quantity DOES NOT equal quality!

4th Sep 2002, 23:27
The check list for loss of #2 HYD system on the B744 states:

Autopilot R............................OFF

Stabilizer trim rate reduced.

Spoiler capability reduced.

Inoperative items:

- system 2 alternate brake source.
- thrust reverser #2 engine.

So, if already airborne then yes, you would continue to scheduled destination, subject to wx etc.

If on the ground then consult your MEL but I find it difficult to see why one would depart HKG with a u/s system. The MEL, (minimum equipment list), is simply a 'get you home' provision, if no adequate maintenance/spares are available and is NOT the base line for a normal despatch.

5th Sep 2002, 06:48
Inoperative items:
-thrust reverser #2 engine

Are you sure about that?

5th Sep 2002, 08:31
If anyone follows my posts, I try and make it very clear what I do know and do not know and therefore when I am not qualified to say 'I would/I would not'

Thus my question ' Can anyone from another carrier' .
(thanks for the response - it speaks for itself - these are people who do know and are qualified)

The problems associated with a no.2 H failure are available if anyone asks. (and thank you for those who posted them).

However watching RP and the rate at which posts occur normally (unless it's something like the BMI contract or other topical stuff) - threads tend to move off the burner fairly quick.

If NSF doesn't like analysis then please flame me on Jet Blast or other relevant spleen-venting forum

wryly smiling
5th Sep 2002, 09:34
NLN was not in for a "D check" it was only there for an "S
check"and dusk mod although while it was there it did have all four engines changed

there are pressure checks carried out on the engine ground runs quite often,pessure taken up to 4 psi diff.
Where did you get the 25 psi info from?

Notso Fantastic
5th Sep 2002, 11:41
BlueEagle- the alleged 'emergency incident' occured on T/O at Cardiff, so I was using this as an example. Whether one WOULD start engines and depart with #2 Hydraulics U/S would require further investigation in the MEL. As to whether #2 reverse would be U/S, our -400s would still be OK, but still not a drama, landing performance is still not predicated on use of reverse power anyway. Notso rests his case- an 'emergency' is in very short supply in this case! But if people want to discuss a total non-event 'till the cows come home, then 'let's roll'!

5th Sep 2002, 12:12
Yes, well, I wasn't exactly entering the fray, just answering a technical question!

On the PW4056 version of the B744 then it most definately states in the check list and Vol.2 - System description, that, in the event of the failure of the #2 HYD system then the #2 engine thrust reverser will be u/s.

The PW engine uses hydraulic power for the reversers, not air.

Sorry, should have made that clear in my post re checklists etc.

rhythm method
5th Sep 2002, 12:51

Pretty tasteless to use the "Let's Roll" comment on any thread not related to UA93, and as for the "major airline in the UK"...

[email protected]!

nuff said?

5th Sep 2002, 13:52
According to your profile, you are qualified to fly nothing with no licences- your nearest apparent connection to aviation being that you live in Dublin, which also happens to have an airport! I'm also interested in how you estimate the number of posts this daft topic would have had if it hadn't been stopped?

Steady on, Old Boy - he was just asking for info was he not? Ever since the Cockpit Door was 'firmly, bolted shut' to pax after 9/11 should we not be doing our best to improve PR and to answer any questions that non-pilots (who, let's not forget, are the people who pay our salaries) may have? :confused:

Notso Fantastic
5th Sep 2002, 14:38
Well Rythm- feel better having used this forum to get a bit of anonymous abuse out of your system? I had no idea that a patent had been taken out on the use of the expression "let's roll!". Next time I want to use it I shall apply to..............?

Greatorex- "Steady on, Old Boy - he was just asking for info was he not?". No he wasn't. It was frankly a rather insulting request for confirmation:
<<HKG-LHR without no.2 system - can anyone from another 744 carrier confirm that this would indeed be a 'we can continue' thing ?>>

I have 16,000 flying hours of which 5,300 are on the Classic and 3,500 are on the B747-400. I think I know! I think someone ignorant of aviation procedures should not really start asking for confirmation of things they don't know anything about. Exactly how deep do we need to burrow into this non-event to understand THERE WAS NO EMERGENCY?

5th Sep 2002, 16:47
*** edited ***

I've just found myself writing a flame back to this. There's no need (on RP) . The reasonable people watching the thread know what I mean.

If anyone comes up with more data, I'll be happy to listen.

Notso Fantastic
5th Sep 2002, 17:04
Frankly I'd be very surprised if they do- I think it has been kicked around to death!

TDK mk2
6th Sep 2002, 08:39
It sounded like a perfectly reasonable question but then what would I know eh Notso? I'm only a turboprop F.O. in the franchises (read: underclasses).

How exactly would one (not being 744 type rated) know what the implications of a no. 2 hydralics system pressure loss were if they didn't ask? Assuming they didn't have access to the emergency or abnormal checklist or MEL??

Notso Fantastic
6th Sep 2002, 11:11
This really is 'the thread that wouldn't die', isn't it?

I think any comment about your station in life is superfluous. Don't worry, I was once a 'turboprop F.O.', but life improved!

I would have thought when you were told quite positively what theimplications were of #2 Hydraulics by obviously a 400 pilot, to ask for confirmation elsewhere was a triffle OTT? To explain 'wet' power to someone and have them ask for confirmation elsewhere might insult you too.

Once again, please let's stop wasting space on this one. Some people seem dead set to make out an emergency occurred. A relatively minor non-event handled without drama, followed by a tech log entry sorted it. Let's move on people! Air France is out, someone is rumouring Ryan Air in trouble, share prices on the down again.....let's bury LN and it's potty little defect that really should not have been brought up in the first place!

6th Sep 2002, 12:46
"This really is 'the thread that wouldn't die', isn't it?"

Oh dear! NSF - the obvious answer is surely staring you in the face if only you could see! Could someone PLEASE put him out of his misery before we all die from congestive laughter failure?:p :p :p

It is SUCH fun!


Notso Fantastic
6th Sep 2002, 12:59
To be honest, I've been having great fun too! Didn't you guess?

6th Sep 2002, 15:38
Once again, please let's stop wasting space on this one.
To be honest, I've been having great fun too! Didn't you guess?
:confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:

Notso Fantastic
7th Sep 2002, 09:11
Ahhh! Peace and quiet at last! See?- there was NO emergency!

7th Sep 2002, 12:46
Having just read all this, thought I'd give a little ATC insight although I'm not linked to either Cardiff or LHR.

When an aircraft says it has ANY problem, we think a little different about it no matter what has happenned, due to the 'what if' factor. Caution has to be given generously, and we would rather be safe than nieve. In this case I would expect the Tower controller to put on a 'local standby' where all emergency services are ready to go, but not required to convene at the RVP points in the airport. The Heathrow Fire Service may decide to greet the aircraft, thats their perogitive. And if fluid was definately dripping visibly, the runway on which the aircraft landed would most certainly have to be temporarily shut for a full surface check, so in our respect, it is a kind of 'emergency' even if not directly life threatening, and our workload obviously increases.

7th Sep 2002, 13:40
Thanks 5Mb

Everyone has their own POV ....

7th Sep 2002, 22:05
Like greatorex, I'm confused by your posts, NSF.

I too am not quite clear about this - are you saying there was no emergency or what? Was an emergency checklist used? Was a mandatory safety report filed? Please define what your airline classifies as 'an emergency':confused:

(PS: Tip to ppruners - to avoid upsetting NSF with a post, put 'ATPL' and CAPTAIN 747 in your profile. It doesn't matter whether you are a toilet cleaner or journo - this should avoid the moving of your thread out of RP by NSF).

Flight Detent
8th Sep 2002, 17:13
Hi all,
'NotsoFantastic' is quite right,

This should have been mentioned in the Tech Log, at the conclusion of the flight,
that's it!!

But, then again, it's not a Classic, is it!!!


9th Sep 2002, 07:19
An emergency is if you are on fire, just about anything else is 'non normal' in Boeings phraseology. Thus we use non normal checklists. The term emergency should be banned in aviation, it is applied to any non routine matter and the press love it.

Notso Fantastic
10th Sep 2002, 19:09
Bit like ythe expression 'Airmiss'! The press see it as 2 aeroplanes taking violent avoiding action, screaming in the cabin, stewardesses upside down on the ceiling, pilots putting their Telegraph crosswords down for a moment. The reality is usually nobody notices. Even renaming it hasn't really taken the drama away. Some people will see an 'emergency' there even if there isn't one! (woops- shouldn't have said that!)