View Full Version : PAL incident in Guam

4th Jan 2003, 14:59
Any PPRuNers out there have any information on the incident involving a Philippine Airlines Airbus in Guam? I've heard they came within 20 feet of a mountainside and uprooted a few power lines. The most shocking thing is that the geniuses up front actually then flew the plane home to Manila. How they planned to get away with this should make for some interesting reading.
Mind, these are rumors, and I can't seem to find out anything in the news.
Hope someone can fill in the gaps. Cheers.

4th Jan 2003, 20:33
I used to fly out there. I'll email my friends and see if they've got any info. Do you have a date and time that this happened??

5th Jan 2003, 00:37
Thank you, v.
It's supposed to have happened about a couple of weeks ago, right around Christmas, and the incident on the ground may have been near where that Korean Air 747 tragically hit a mountain some time back.
Hope you get some reliable info

5th Jan 2003, 08:48
...what have we got here?...a pilot who is anti pilots or just a stirrer? Bona fides please before we get into this!
Let's face it, your opening post is somewhat provocative!

5th Jan 2003, 17:28
>>The most shocking thing is that the geniuses up front actually then flew the plane home to Manila.

Standard procedure for many airlines in the region. China Airlines continued on to TPE last year after taking off on a taxiway and hitting a snowbank in ANC (they had an airshow in HNL yesterday as well):


Posted: 27 January 2002, 12:02am EST (0502 GMT)

China Airlines plane takes off from Anchorage taxiway.
Anchorage Daily News

A China Airlines Airbus carrying 254 passengers and crew members narrowly avoided catastrophe early Friday when pilots took off in the wrong direction and on a taxiway instead of a runway at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

In its takeoff just before 3 a.m., the plane came so close to running out of taxiway that its landing gear clipped a snow berm at the pavement's end before it gained altitude over Cook Inlet and flew on to Taipei, according to federal investigators...


Of course, the "Delta Professionals" had an incident years ago where the 767 captain thought he was playing with some FADEC switches and turned off both fuel cutoffs instead. They were departing LAX, got relights, climbed up and after consulting ATL flight ops, continued on to CVG. The mechanics found salt spray on the plane. The feds appeared at the captain's house to demand surrender of his certificates.


6th Jan 2003, 02:09
Do you know what type it was? 330/340/320?

6th Jan 2003, 03:36
Just an FYI...PAL only flies the 320 & 340. Not suprisingly, NOTHING appeared in the local press! :)

6th Jan 2003, 21:23
PAL flies A320/A330/A340. The aircraft involved in the incident was an A330.

I've also heard the rumors but can't offer anything definite.

7th Jan 2003, 08:56
ATI is quoting a PAL spokesperson as saying that "dents and scratches" were found on the underside of the fuselage! :eek:

7th Jan 2003, 11:37

Looks like flying-on is not just restricted to that region.

This forum also has a thread about an Angolan 737 *which actually hit another aircraft* and kept going!!


7th Jan 2003, 21:10

Sorry, so far, no response from my pals out that way, they're still digging out from the typhoon I suppose and trying to figure out how to keep their beer cold with no electricity.

Mount Nimitz, from what I recall, is directly along the FAC for the ILS, that's the same place KAL planted a 747 a few years back. Dunno if that would have figured in the PAL event you referred to or not.

If I hear anything I'll letcha' know...

8th Jan 2003, 15:17
Yes guys, the incident in Guam was true. it was an A330 landing into Guam. From what I understood they did a visual approach since aids were down. They went too low and yes snagged some felled high tension wires around 24 feet above ground about a some meters before where the KAL crashed. Yes they took off again to return to Manila. Something about the S/O did not see the 1foot x 1 foot in the belly because it was raining and did not see the damage on the landing gear.
Upon arrival MNL the cargo could not be opened and thats when they saw the damage sustained. The pilots went home without reporting anything.
Philippine ATO claiming alot of irregularities on the statements of the pilots. Of course all three pilots still under investigation and off sked.
Believe it or not.!!!:confused: :eek:

9th Jan 2003, 01:15
Hmmm, catagory 2 ain't far behind i'm afraid...and not landing minima...:eek:

11th Jan 2003, 02:14
:mad: got some insider info on this and the funny thing is that some pilots are even passing the blame on the flight purser. can you believe that? that's the reason why the cabin crew group are quite mad for passing the blame on one of their members.

anyway the aviation authorities are taking a look into this and most likely sanctions will be given. but the gravity of the sanctions remains to be seen. let's see what happens next and it looks interesting.

Kaptin M
11th Jan 2003, 03:11
Is the current PAL pilot group still comprised almost exclusively of "strike-breakers" (eskirol) from their strike a couple of years ago?

12th Jan 2003, 13:53
The current senior group in PAL is made up of crawl backs (another word for scab) or eskirols. Of course seniority is a lose word in PAL since they practice a point system. If your lucky enough to get pointed to, you move up or down depending how well your connected. I heard a rumour of one 744 FO who was promoted to Captain over other more qualified eskirols because his old man is a supreme court judge. He didn't make it past the V1 cut exercises though during the final check.

13th Jan 2003, 04:51
Junstrike is right, most seniors or the new seniors are mostly crawlbacks. The case was over since last year and quite a few union members are in the long waiting list trying to get back. Some officers of the Union have gone back some joined Management while others got reinstated in their former positions while still some got positions as 737 captains and some 744 F/o.Most were new graduates from flying school and with luck on their side are training now for 744 F/O positions. With the 3 more 744's PAL is getting alot of movement going on. And hopefully a good hiring binge.
About the pilots blaming the cabin crew, hadn't heard anything about it. The pilots went to DA on a LOC only approach when they were to go down onto a no GS MDA. Who are they to blame.
Yup all eyes are on what PAL would do with the situation.

Feather #3
13th Jan 2003, 06:36
Simply look for the hole where the DME reads 'ZERO'.

G'day ;)

Kaptin M
13th Jan 2003, 10:35
Please explain how descent to the MDA within the vertical and lateral tolerances, can lead to a CFIT?

That is what we are talking about here - a controlled flight into TERRAIN, if the previous reports are correct!

Guam radar MUST have been monitoring this approach, the FDR of the aircraft involved - which can now LEGALLY be pulled..along with the CVR - also must have recorded these events.

But, if ALL of that fails, what is the Philippine MoT doing??!!(Hand out for $$$'s??)
They [MOT] are ICAO approved, and unless something more substantial [by way of an OFFICIAL INVESTIGATION] is produced, than has been to date, then PAL might find themselves having to re-apply for their ACOC! :mad:

Anyone with FACTS on this ACCIDENT - damage to aircraft qualifies it as such - please PM me.

13th Jan 2003, 11:54
if they flew it back to manila, i'd imagine there'd be very little of use on either FDR or CVR, which will probably have overwritten themselves.

i suppose you could look to see where the radar returns disappear on the ATC records, as presumably they do with the a/c at 25? feet.

Norman Stanley Fletcher
13th Jan 2003, 16:30
As I am sure many reading this thread now know, this week's Flight International (appeared on my doorstep this morning) has this incident on the front page, and a good article inside. In essence they are saying that the PAL A330 crew was carrying out some form of non-precision approach and for whatever reason got a GPWS warning on approach. To their credit they did not dither and immediately instigated a missed approach. During this go-around the aircraft suffered damage possibly from trees and/or power cables. An extremely close shave!

17th Jan 2003, 17:53
So can anyone with access to a Flight International mag post some details here pls.


19th Jan 2003, 02:21
The news is that the crew are still grounded and PAL management is readying their termination papers. The funny thing is, it never really made the news! The Second Officer is the one getting all the blame ('coz he's a newbie and the most expedient)! Poor guy! His account was there was a blackout at the airport that time so he never saw the gaping hole on their underbelly (maybe he was such a tall dude he couldn't fit under it). Mechanics in Manila reported it was about 2 sq.ft with severe dents and gashes extending to more than 10 feet in the underbelly. News from contacts in the Philippine ATO said conflicting testimonies from both Captain and F/O include the number of go-arounds they made and the lowest altitude they went down to. Will try to get more info on that.

Kaptin M
20th Jan 2003, 01:06
Well these are the pilots PAL wanted.
You get what you pay for - or what you DON'T!! Then you start paying the REAL price.

Once again, tho', those who are responsible for putting the eskirols there - the so-called "management" - are the ones on whom the spotlight also needs to be focused.

And NOW is the ideal time for the pilots who lost their jobs, to capitalise on the lowered SAFETY, to the maximum.
There is STILL time for it to make the news, locally and worldwide, to demonstrate the true cost of management's poor decision.
Most passengers will draw the line somewhere, and if that "somewhere" means having to pay more to fly with an airline other than one whose pilots not ONLY fly it into terrain, but then fly a badly damaged aircraft further, they will do so...and leave the other in droves!

20th Jan 2003, 10:57
Interesting editorial in ‘Flight International’ regarding this incident, the main thrust of which was ‘why can’t airlines learn Flight Safety from previous incidents’? DL uses this latest PAL incident – (let’s call it what it really was - ‘a really close shave that came within inches of being [another] disaster’).

- [where was I?] Oh, yes… DL uses this latest PAL incident as a glaring example of how airlines seem incapable of learning from previous mistakes within the Industry.


(Pause while Wiley mounts his well-worn soap box...)

It shouldn’t take anyone with even a passing knowledge of the Industry and the recent history of PAL to understand why the PAL Flight Operations and/or Flight Safety Departments might not be in an ideal position to ‘learn from the Industry’s previous mistakes’. The answer lies in the make up of today’s PAL pilot workforce. I’m not saying that the PAL pilots are any less competent than any other pilot workforce, but the fact is, whatever their individual competencies or level of professionalism might be, they are a hotch potch of returnees and blow-ins from God only knows where who were appointed to their current jobs in circumstances that should be depressingly familiar to just about everyone reading this site. They also work under a system – (a system PAL Management, like others before them in the same Hemisphere, went to some trouble to create) - where they, the pilots, have none of the protections of union representation.

If this crew is anything to go by, PAL management has got the pilot workforce it wanted after they broke the back of the local pilots’ union not too many years ago. We are informed that the pilot who did the walkaround at Agana did not see any damage to the exterior of the aircraft ‘because there was a blackout at the airfield’. It would appear from this comment that the current crop of PAL pilots do not use a flashlight when conducting a walkaround – even when doing one after a go around caused by a GPWS ‘Terrain’ warning (and, I strongly suspect, a clearly discernable impact, which if not noticed by the tech crew up in the cockpit, [which is debatable], would certainly have been noticed by the hapless cabin crew seated at the rear doors of the aircraft.)

I won’t go into what I believe really happened after the crew landed safely at Agana after their second approach and what led them to decide to fly the aircraft back to main base, but I think there are many here who would come to a very similar conclusion to mine… (see the last line of the paragraph before last if you need a hint).

Forty years ago, the highly trained, very professional Merchant Marine officers and their often troublesome seamen were to a very large degree replaced in the Western world’s commercial maritime fleets when ‘bright’ Management saw that they could replace these ‘expensive’ officers and seamen with ‘cheap’ Third World crews. The loss rate in today’s merchant fleets, although not widely reported in the world press unless it results in an oil slick on a European beach, is now at near astronomical levels, and the level of competency of many merchant marine crews who ply today’s sealanes is questionable at the very least.

How many times have survivors of small boat sinkings testified to cargo ships steaming close by them, (or hitting them!), and disappearing over the horizon without seeing them because obviously no one was on watch? And recently, we have the case of the sunken car ferry in the English Channel where not one but two ships collided with the wreck, one of them after all manner of warnings were issued to the ship – but it just continued on into the clearly marked prohibited zone until it hit the wreck?

This, I fear, is the future for Aviation if the ‘clever’ Managers we see today continue to cut into all the ‘unnecessary’ trappings professional pilots have insisted are necessary to maintain the Industry’s (already fast failing) safety record. And by the time the clever managers are seen to have been wrong, just like in the shipping industry, it will be too late. The ‘cheap’ airlines with their ‘cheap’ crews who can only fly on automatics (which always work, right?) will have taken over, and many smart people, I suspect, will have learnt to conduct business and take their holidays within driving distance of home.

20th Jan 2003, 14:10
Thanks for that Flight International post. Truly frightening. How can an airline with PAL's experience gamble with people's lives by letting scabs onto planes they (pilots with questionable experience/training) don't deserve to fly??

Shore Guy
20th Jan 2003, 14:23
Does anyone know if this aircraft was equipped with EGPWS or the standard GPWS? The Flight International piece refers just to "GPWS".

20th Jan 2003, 15:05
How can an airline with PAL's experience gamble with people's lives by letting scabs onto planes they (pilots with questionable experience/training) don't deserve to fly?? ww1, this same question could - should - have been asked of the two major Australian domestic airlines twelve years earlier. they too had a few very close calls, but thanks to the fact that the same man who owned one of the airlines owned most of the media in Australia, they never received any exposure in the press.

And before anyone asks for dsetails of these allegations, to be specific - one word: 'Cairns'.

20th Jan 2003, 18:33
I’ve just read the FI editorial and Wiley is spot on in what he says. If anything, he pulled his punches in what he said.

In his pontificating, the FI editor has shown extraordinary ignorance of recent events within PAL, and risks being lumped in with his colleagues at the ‘Sun’ or ‘News of the World’ by professionals within the industry. One quote in particular stood out: “If anyone at PAL did read it, (the NTSB report of the 1997 crash of the Korean aircraft on the same hill in Guam) [i] they seem not to have passed the lessons on to the airline’s operations department and flight crews.[i]”

Dear Ed: as Wiley so succinctly put it, thanks to PAL’s (mis)management, none of the current PAL flight crews were employed by PAL, (at least under their current blackleg contracts), when the NTSB report on the 1997 crash was published. It’s a new workforce, employed by PAL management to break the backs of a professional group of pilots, and no one in that new workforce is going to risk going his job by telling that management anything they don’t want to hear.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if ‘the industry’ took on board what the editor of FI was saying and saw that the current direction in which many of them are headed with their continual undermining of the status their pilots once enjoyed is heading for disaster, and if pilots are afraid to tell said management any ‘bad news’, (as this crew appeared to be), the industry is headed towards self destruction.

Wiley’s right – the way the industry’s going, twenty years from now Aviation will be like the Merchant Marine of today, with Third Word crews on Third World wages operating the aircraft fleets of the world – because any young man with half a brain in his head will have seen that, no matter how much he might like the idea of flying, it simply isn’t worth getting into. The managements of the day will still find crews, but they’ll be pale shadows of what airline crews once were.

Kaptin M
20th Jan 2003, 19:57
Excellent posts, gents. I believe the real CAUSE of this ACCIDENT (and let's use the correct terminology - it was an ACCIDENT, because the aircraft was damaged) had its seeds planted a couple of years back, when striking pilots were replaced by eskirols - the Tagalog word for scab labour.

As with most all industrial disputes, the first to break ranks to secure themselves a position back in the company, are the INCOMPETENTS and the MARGINAL cases - those who were struggling to maintain standards (and their jobs) in normal times.
These (in general) are the pilots PAL has NOW.

This is the information that ex-PAL pilots - as RESPONSIBLE citizens - should be distributing not only to intending Philippine Airlines travellers, but also to the Philippine Government, as a cause for concern that the national flag carrier is well down the path to giving the Philippines a nasty reputation wrt aviation (lack of) Safety.

20th Jan 2003, 21:37
Interestings thoughts on the Merchant Marine, but as I've said before on these pages, the decline in standards in merchant shipping coincided with the transfer of people to aviation. Nobody cares about the one ship that sinks every day, or the the car carrier in the channel, because they didn't carry people. As long as aeroplanes carry passengers, high standards will be required. The market will see to that.

20th Jan 2003, 23:21
Leaks have already been given to nosey reporters but how can it be reported as the owner also happens to have in his payroll all of the newspaper editors in Manila?

The current crop of scab pilots in PAL can never match the experience level that was there before the strike. Most of these crawlbacks did just what they did because they have half the wit to qualify in the real world, thus their belief that only PAL will make them realize their dream of becoming airline pilots. I guess it's the riding public who will evidently pay for this management policy. They want cheap rides, PAL has cheap pilots with cheaper maintenance to go with it!

3rd Feb 2003, 05:56
Some pretty erudite comments in this thread. And to think that all these years I have been flying in ignorance of the great truth - and that is only non-union pilots have accidents. Be a paid up union member and you will fly infallible. Quick - where do I sign up?:D

5th Feb 2003, 06:01
With gear down & flap 3 for a circling approach, planning a flap full approach, is the first warning expected to be "too low, flap"? I would be very surprised if they made a prompt go-around based on this warning.
If a straight-in approach was planned, and the full landing configuration existed, is there reason to believe there would be any GPWS warning at all?

6th Feb 2003, 10:35
preliminary factual report available from NTSB.


All a bit queer. Tower's MSAW light went off but they did not tell the aircraft.

7th Feb 2003, 23:18
The word on the ground at Agana is that the loaders couldn't open the rear hold due damage.
The crew must have known of the damage, surely.

The minima for the LLZ without DME is 1440 ft from memory, so designed to stop you from hitting Nimitz Hill.
I would have thought that the FMC map would have given enough info re distance to run ( IF you were going to treat the approach as if it had DME) as it should have been sufficiently accurate from updates from Saipan on descent. Bottom line I guess, don't go below minima.

A severe case of get home itus. I would not like to be in the crews shoes right now.