View Full Version : British Airways Pan and return to Heathrow

15th Oct 2002, 23:40
At around 23.03 last night a BA Boeing 777 had to return to Heathrow due to a strange sound coming from below the rudder pedals.

The PNF reported that they had to dump fuel for 15 mins before making an approach in 30 mins.

At 23.30 they reported that they were going to have to make a Pan call and that they will need someone to make an inspection after landing prior to taxing in.

They requested 27L for landing but the controller replied that it was not available unless they really needed it.

According to the PNF, a loud tapping sound could be heard somewhere below the rudder pedals but could not determine whether the sound was coming from inside or outside.
He also mentioned that it could have something to do with a rubber seal in the nose gear.

They left OCK at 23.32 and said that due to the nature of the problem, they were not going to exceed 250 knots. They also said that they were going to do an autoland on 27R

Speedbird 083 made an unevenful landing at around 23.55.

16th Oct 2002, 07:41
<<They left OCK at 23.32 and said that due to the nature of the problem, they were not going to exceed 250 knots.>>

On the intermediate approach? I'm not surprised!

16th Oct 2002, 09:07
.........but did they do 160 to 4. :p


16th Oct 2002, 09:18
Just out of curiuosity (spelling anyone?), since my own breed of flying machine is not equipped with fuel dumping, would fuel be dumped during the hold or would they do it over the Channel?

16th Oct 2002, 09:54
With the prevailing winds last night it would be somewhat of an irrelevance where the dumping was carried out as the results could have ended up anywhere. There is no set guidance as to where such actions are to be taken - a mutually-agreed extended holding pattern is often prescribed to minimise the impact on the crew and ATC operations alike, but, at the end of the day, if needs must ......

16th Oct 2002, 10:14

Quote: "No set guidance". Isn't there something in the ATCO's bible about fuel dumping?

P.S. Anyone remember that classic radio comedy sketch 'The Test Pilot', with Tony Hancock and Kenneth Williams? - [I]deja vu BAW 083 !! :D

16th Oct 2002, 12:48
Heard them on 129.42 (SAM SIDS I believe), so they were certainly beyond the TMA (and probably over water) whilst dumping. Didn't catch their level, but were initially cleared FL130 direct OCK from their hold, so would have been at least at medium level whilst dumping.

Speed was <250Kts IAS for the whole descent, as apparently the "noise" came back if they went faster.

It was pretty windy, W'ly @ 50kts as they were joining the ILS 27R @ 3000'.

16th Oct 2002, 19:02
.........but did they do 160 to 4.

It's all lies, dammit !!!

I've never been done by a BA pilot ;) :D ;) :D

Warped Factor
16th Oct 2002, 21:55
From the UK MATS Pt 1......

12 Fuel Jettisoning

12.1 Pilots of aircraft in flight are permitted to jettison fuel in an emergency. The decision to jettison rests solely with the pilot but he may request guidance from air traffic control.

12.2 Controllers are to recommend that jettisoning of fuel should be carried out:

a) over the sea, if at all possible; or

b) above 10 000 feet agl.

12.3 Exceptionally, if a) or b) is operationally impracticable or inconsistent with safety, fuel may be jettisoned above 7000 feet agl in winter and above 4000 feet agl in summer.

For fuel to be jettisoned below these levels the situation must be unavoidable.

12.4 A vertical separation of at least 1000 feet between aircraft should be maintained.


16th Oct 2002, 22:43
FL130 standard, as is direct OCK at that time of night, especially on a PAN.

Most of Sector 20 (129.425) is over the sea, and extended vectoring can take place to save a 'holding' situation so that separation is easier.

One point, our bible states that the (standard) separation of 1000 ft must be maintained, but would you really only want to pass 1000ft BELOW a dumping a/c, as it doesn't state anything different???

Tom the Tenor
16th Oct 2002, 22:45
During the normal course of operations what is the scheduled destination of the BA083 and is it a usual 777 destination or does equipment vary? Tks.

16th Oct 2002, 23:47
Apparently the recording and transcript do not survive...but some remember.

"The Secretary of State for Education and Employment (Mr. David Blunkett): I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a
Second time.

In asking the House to give the Bill a Second Reading, I am reminded of a famous "Hancock's Half Hour" episode--which I am
sure that you, Madam Speaker, will remember--called "The Test Pilot". As the aeroplane was flying along, there was a knocking
on the outside of the fuselage--it was the mechanic, trying to get in. Today--although I thought that I would be playing the role of
the test pilot--I find myself in the position of the mechanic, as part of the wing has fallen off, and the fuselage is in considerably bad
order. Nevertheless, the Bill is still flying, and it will be our job in Committee to ensure that repairs are done while the Bill is still in
the air."

16th Oct 2002, 23:49
I'm dying to hear the other shoe drop.

Does anybody know what the tapping noise was.?

Was it the push back guy who just couldn't get his headset disconnected or what.:)

The last time I heard a tapping noise like that ( along time ago mind you) was a key with a large metal tag left in a baggage locker door.:D

17th Oct 2002, 08:50
Where does the fuel go? Does it just evaporate?:confused:

Lou Scannon
17th Oct 2002, 09:45
It does, indeed, evapourate-sooner or later.

I was once dumped upon by a SAR heli on it's way to a close in emergency. The machine passed almost directly overhead at about 500 feet agl with avtur pouring out of a dump valve. All that reached the ground was a strong smell of kerosene.

However, that was on a good day.

A friend tells the story of an extreme low level dump on a four engined piston following engine failure on take off from a bush airfield . When they read the evening paper the headline was "Mysterious fire destroys village huts near airport."

Another friend of mine was observing an RB47 taking fuel from a tanker when the hose broke. Almost neat kerosene went into an air intake and...boom..the whole aircraft blew up.

I seem to remember that a 707 was once lost during a reported dumping session that entailed flying near a Cu Nim.

And of course the old apocryphal story of the USA based 707 taking off from LHR who advised air traffic that he had lost an engine and was dumping immediately, heading towards Windsor. Air Traffic immediately responded informing him that he could not dump on that track and the captain's reply was reported as:
"Better call the lady, collect, and tell her that she either gets the fuel-or the entire g*******d airplane!"

I certainly always followed the advice to never dump in a holding pattern, particularly when descending, in case I flew into my own kerosene vapour trail.

Fuel dumping is a serious event and it may be safer to land heavy.

18th Oct 2002, 20:16
The 083 was going to Abuja in Nigeria. The engineers believed the case to be a door fault. The aircraft returned to stand T07 and it was intended to transfer all pax to T06 but the flightcrew were too shaken so pax went to hotels.

Notso Fantastic
18th Oct 2002, 22:24
<it was intended to transfer all pax to T06 but the flightcrew were too shaken so pax went to hotels.>

I think you could have been a bit more sensitive in your 'statement'. Let's have a look at this- 2 pilots, airborne at about 2300 LT for Nigeria, flying for an hour or so, return, aeroplane change. Exactly HOW LONG would you like 2 pilots on duty overnight? I rather suspect they would be outraged at your 'too shaken' expression. From all I have read, 2 professionals handled a relatively minor technical problem sensibly, returning to the airport where repairs can be most efficiently carried out (like HOME BASE), and not surprisingly, unloading all those passengers (and baggage) and loading them onto a new aeroplane (and fueling it, catering it) can not really be done at 3-5am (when there are no such staff available anyway- it IS the middleof the night!). Quite unreal- I expect the operation was cancelled to the next day. Be very careful what and how you say it- if it was me involved, I would have been seeing a Solicitor today about your report, and your 'anonymity' in Pprune will not last 5 minutes once legal people start sniffing around.

As a matter of interest, it is now becoming recognised that after involvement in even a relatively minor problem (uncomplicated engine failures etc), it is better not to immediately work pilots- as in get them airborne again to destination as soon as possible. there have been several cases of delayed shock where people have felt most uncomfortable continuing. We are not in any 'war' situation where all out effort is required, and so like if you bump your car on the way to work, sometimes it is more sensible to take the day off rather than press on, particualrly if you are going to be responsible for a large number of passengers. A little more sense and sensitivity from you would reasonably have been expected.

18th Oct 2002, 23:20

you said:

Apparently the recording and transcript do not survive...but some remember.

Were you referring to The Test Pilot or Mr. Blunkett's speech?

The reason I ask is that I believe I still have a record (45rpm single) of it at my mother's house (Tony Hancock that is)!

19th Oct 2002, 03:09

The Test Pilot. Wouldn't a 45 be too short to have the whole sketch? Anyway, if you do have it, there's a web sight that would like you to share it.


19th Oct 2002, 06:01
and your 'anonymity' in Pprune will not last 5 minutes once legal people start sniffing around.

19th Oct 2002, 08:44
Rollingthunder check your PMs.

19th Oct 2002, 13:15
Not so fantastic , Without wishing to enter into an argument ending behind the bike shed I was there, I spoke to the flight crew and that is what they told me. Take a breath before you reply.

Notso Fantastic
19th Oct 2002, 13:59
Breath taken. I'm sure their private comments to you were 'not intended for publication!' Yes, they would undoubtedly have been tired, but I doubt the reason the operation was postponed to later in the day was because they were 'too shaken'- rather it was the lack of a serviceable aeroplane at the early hours and also the complete inability to replace it AND cater/load/fuel it.

It is obviously necessary to warn all my colleagues to watch everything they say to ground staff now. You don't reveal what your connection is, MT driver, engineer, ground ops staff. I would think the crew wouldn't speak too complimentary to you following your 'snitching'.

19th Oct 2002, 14:21
Not so fantastic, You seem to feel being "too shaken" is a sign of weakness and something not to be admitted. This is not a "mine is bigger than yours match." Sadly you seem determined to "defend " your company colleagues from what you see as criticism. As I said, I was there . They were shaken and the decision they made was for the best. I was always taught , " To assume is to make an ass out of me and you !" Don't be so defensive. These grown men don't need your blind support. Just let the rest of us empathise with them. As for snitching.What did they do wrong ?

Notso Fantastic
19th Oct 2002, 14:25
Well maybe you think it OK to spout stuff like that. I think they may be rather offended. I am trying to find out who it was and inform them of your kind comments. It would be interesting to get some idea of who it is rushes off to announce to the world comments made in private. Perhaps we have to announce now to any ground staff 'these comments are not intended for publication!'.

19th Oct 2002, 14:33
Were you a prefect at school ?

19th Oct 2002, 20:33
Your first comment was "but the flightcrew were too shaken so pax went to hotels".

Your other comment was "I spoke to the flight crew and that is what they told me."

I personally find it hard to believe that the Flight Crew would have made that earlier statement as you so say. I believe that you 'may' have gleaned some of the facts and then formed an opinion which you have decided to post here.

I support Not So Fantastic in his defence of the Flight Crew involved. I would not expect any comments I make to other staff to be interpreted in any manner they see fit and then placed on this public site as a complete representation of the 'truth'.

You have seen fit to discuss the Flight Crew in such a knowlegable manner, so perhaps you would be kind enough to let us all know what you do for a living. It may add to your credibility, or then again.......


19th Oct 2002, 23:47

Having had a few 'nasties' in my time, I can tell you that the worst situation by far is when you are airborne and know you have a problem but don't know what in Hell it is. Engine failures, fires etc are not at all nice, but at least you know what you are dealing with.

When I was in my single-crew air taxi days I heard the most Godalmighty banging noise coming from somewhere, but no idea where. Then it stopped. Silence for 20 minutes. Then it happened again. Eventually looked around behind my shoulder to see how the pax were faring.......to see one of them bashing his pipe out against the side of the aircraft. Funny now, but I've never been so s..t scared in my life.

What were you doing at Heathrow at midnight?

FWIW I support Exeung & Notso - what was said to you in private by flight crew following an 'event' should be kept private, not published anonymously on a very public forum.

20th Oct 2002, 09:31
"As I said, I was there . They were shaken......"

With such a determined and knowledgeable opinon I can only assume Pinkaroo would have been the doctor who met the flight (what do you mean there wasn't one). Who else could possibly be qualified to correctly determine the pyschological state of the crew.


You just leave the flying and emergency drills to us and keep your opinions to yourself. Dumping a bunch of fuel doesn't 'shake' anyone. The reasons for not continuing are much more in line with Notso's thinking, rather than those expressed by someone on the 'outside' spouting rubbish in order to get 'in' on the action :rolleyes:

Fright Level
20th Oct 2002, 14:06
I reckon Pinkaroo misheard the crew say the whole thing was straightforward and they'd be outbound again in two shakes.

Still bad form to report your opinion of first hand information here as "fact".

Ray Ban
20th Oct 2002, 16:59

I have no connection with BA but I'm always suspicious of blokes who talk about "behind the bike shed". :rolleyes:

21st Oct 2002, 08:08

It transpires the knocking was the flapping sound made by the headset operative as the aircraft passed through 250kts. He had unfortunately failed to disconnect his headset and was wrapped around the forward drain mast. You heard right about the 'too shaken' to fly, but it was the headset operative to whom this comment referred.


21st Oct 2002, 14:08
Poor fellow is probably round behind the bikesheds trying to recover. Actually come to think... what does go on behind the sheds??

21st Oct 2002, 22:02
'bashing his pipe out against the side of the aircraft'..........................Sounds painfull!!!!:D :D :eek:

basil fawlty
21st Oct 2002, 22:46
Events such as this are an almost daily occurance somewhere in the world, I really don't understand what the fuss is all about.

21st Oct 2002, 22:53
May I suggest that there is actually two issues here.

Firstly, whether a private comment should be repeated on a public forum - sorry, pinkaroo, but that is bad form.

Secondly, and more importantly, if we assume that the pilots were, shall we say, a bit spooked by this (whether or not that is the real case), whether they should:

a) have charged on regardless or
b) stopped and said 'actually, I'm a bit shaken and would rather not fly'.

I know which one I'd rather they took. And I get a bit nervous of the folks on this thread who think that it's not the done thing to say that you've been spooked.

Spooked and honest about it = delayed flight
Spooked and macho about it = operating at significantly less than 100% and increasing the risk associated with any subsequent incident.