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"Jets send maydays over London" story denied

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"Jets send maydays over London" story denied

Old 16th Feb 2014, 11:28
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"Jets send maydays over London" story denied

As some will have seen, today's Sunday Times carries a front page story which states (first five pars):

FIVE aircraft unable to land at Heathrow and Gatwick were forced to declare emergencies, some perilously close to running out of fuel, in the latest storm to batter Britain.

Passengers on one flight circling London screamed as it was tossed around like a “paper plane” by 60mph winds at the height of Friday night’s storm.

Aircraft unable to land at airports in the southeast were diverted to Manchester, where they were met by emergency crews.

Airline sources say four diverted jets made “mayday” distress calls, the most serious state of emergency. Three believed they were running out of reserve fuel and one, an American Airlines jet, had a problem with its rudder.

A BA flight from Moscow to Heathrow with 143 passengers on board declared a lower level emergency. Its pilot aborted one landing as it was hit by a strong gust of wind only 30 feet from the runway.

*************************

Heathrow Airport subsequently issued this statement today:

"The story in the Sunday Times is untrue. There were no mayday or distress calls received at Heathrow. Due to high cross winds some aircraft were diverted to other UK airports that have spare runway capacity."

While the Metro (online) report today on a BA flight from Moscow diverted from Heathrow to Manchester on Friday night, includes this:

British Airways said: "All planes last night were low on fuel but we had more than enough to get to Manchester. We understand other [operators’] aircraft were on mayday."

So can we presume the Heathrow statement is definitive, the BA spokesperson understood wrongly and the Sunday Times has, indeed, printed an incorrect story on its front page?
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Old 16th Feb 2014, 13:33
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<<There were no mayday or distress calls received at Heathrow.>>

Maybe they were received at Swanwick?
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Old 16th Feb 2014, 16:24
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Given that "Aircraft unable to land at airports in the southeast were diverted to Manchester", it seems to me unlikely that a pilot would declare a Mayday over London, and then proceed to fly to Manchester. Maybe the Maydays were declared to Manchester, which would explain why the aircraft "were met by emergency crews".
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Old 16th Feb 2014, 16:47
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Richard, not wishing to speculate as I do not know the facts, but the situation is highly likely.
Bear in mind the runway orientation at EGCC is about 40 degrees different from EGLL and may have had a smaller crosswind component.
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Old 16th Feb 2014, 17:18
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Originally Posted by Richard J.
it seems to me unlikely that a pilot would declare a Mayday over London, and then proceed to fly to Manchester
No, not unlikely at all. It wouldn't take very long for a jet to make an emergency diversion from, say, the LAM hold to Manch.
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Old 16th Feb 2014, 18:40
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&quot;Jets send maydays over London&quot; story denied

Couldn't go to STN cos it was maxed out. Still taking them on Saturday morning
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Old 16th Feb 2014, 18:59
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I did hear a BA Airbus issue a PAN PAN call as it could not land at LHR due to the crosswind and something about them having to fly it manually.. it diverted into STN. Heard a few Min Fuel calls, but NO maydays.


As the wind was from approx 190 degrees it was mainly crosswind.. shame they built over the old runway 23L at LHR.
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Old 17th Feb 2014, 00:24
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Originally Posted by flying phil 2007 View Post
and something about them having to fly it manually..
That would've been a Mayday for an Airbus pilot.
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Old 17th Feb 2014, 09:52
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My off-spring was in a BA Airbus( inbound to LL ) that diverted out of BNN Hold to CC - then kept onboard for almost 4 hours ( parked off-stand ) while priority was given to 'frightened' pax in aircraft that had declared low fuel.


Got to a hotel past 1 am!

Last edited by Brian 48nav; 17th Feb 2014 at 09:52. Reason: Addition
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Old 17th Feb 2014, 15:04
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That sounds far from the truth...

I wonder what sort of inaccurate facts newspapers tell us about all the other news we have no direct knowledge of...
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Old 17th Feb 2014, 19:36
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That would've been a Mayday for an Airbus pilot.
It was........
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Old 18th Feb 2014, 11:56
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In answer to the OP, it sounds like emergencies (PAN) were declared, not neccesarily to Heathrow and the Heathrow Airport press office were therefore not in a position to comprehensively deny the Times' story.
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Old 18th Feb 2014, 12:09
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Originally Posted by Angels-One-Five View Post
It was........
Manually flying an Airbus is a Mayday?!
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Old 18th Feb 2014, 12:28
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Hmmm...I've heard of this "manual flying" before - sounds terrible, wouldn't want to have to experience that for real. Definitely a PAN PAN or MAYDAY situation. And think of the children, schools narrowly avoided, mothers and push chairs scattered everywhere due to a negligent pilot hand flying - doesn't bear thinking about (*shudders at thought).

F/o
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Old 18th Feb 2014, 12:50
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I saw at least 3 7700 sqwarks on aircraft diverting from LHR to BHX that evening all of them en-route.
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Old 18th Feb 2014, 13:14
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Use of 7700 code by ATC can sometimes be expedient because it over-rides filters in complex sector airspace.......particularly in rapidly changing circumstances.
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Old 18th Feb 2014, 13:19
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For the info of some and apologies for those for whom this is teaching Grannie, etc:

A certain company (which may or may not have been mentioned above) has a policy that states that if a landing may be made with less than (30 minute) reserve fuel a "Pan" call must be made.

If a landing is going to be made with less than reserve then a "Mayday" call must be made.

It is therefore perfectly possible to begin a diversion with a PAN call and then have to upgrade to a Mayday with the alternate once track miles to the runway/state of traffic has been established.
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