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Pacific Blue Tail Scrape in Sydney

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Pacific Blue Tail Scrape in Sydney

Old 1st Jan 2008, 12:03
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Pacific Blue Tail Scrape in Sydney

Blue Bird VG93 departed Sydney today and had a tail scrape.
Big deal you say, can happen to anyone.
What does the QRH say ?
Why would you continue climbing to FL380 after being told a taxying aircraft saw what appeared to be a tail scrape on rotate.
Why would you continue climbing after ATC told you the Safety Officer found a heavy piece of metal 5 by 3 inches that appeared to be a tail guard.
After all this GRADEing a comprimise of F280 was made.

I thought you Virgin guys and gals were on the ball.
Please tell me my source was wrong.
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 12:11
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I don't know what the 737 QRH says, but the 767 one would not allow the a/c to be pressurised until inspected... I really hope that your sources are wrong.
The greatest single accident in terms of fatalities in aviation (JAL) was as a consequence of a similar oversight.
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 14:09
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With the current state of pilot shortages seeing people moving to the right hand seat of an airline with a fraction of the experience and minimal training( 'cause they have to pay for it) compared to before "lowcosts", a similar thing is happening with movements to the left seat. This is what you get.
I was going to say.....if you pay peanuts...you get.....but, these days it appears that VB is the better payer therefore, where are the monkeys going ?To the lower paying lowcosts? Lowest of the low?
You know there were reasons for having expensive training departments and all the overheads of a "traditional" ( was going to say "real") airline.They needed them to produce the standards and the service. Even if there was wastage.

That was with fewer duty hours.What happens to standards when workload increases?
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 14:20
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The JAL accident

The JAL 747SR accident was caused by the failure of the rear pressure bulkhead, itself of poor maintenance procedures. The bulkhead failed and caused the problems - it was not a tail strike that caused the initial sequence of events.
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 14:26
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scraping home

Does anyone recall the China Southern A340 that had a big tailscrape at LHR and despite warnings from ATC, was pressurised and flown on to Shanghai with the innocent pax sat there oblivious (although some heard the tail scrape).

During that 11 hour flight the risk of a creeping consequential structural failure and or explosive decompression were not minimal in my view -or that of others.

I guess the same questions could apply to this incident reported here today.

Who took the decision to continue and to pressurise?
Even if the QRF says 'ok to go' what about the circumstantial evidence from ATC reprots?

Its simple guys - tailscrape of note- with additional ATC comments - return for inspection soonest - no arguements, no commanders discretion- get it down.

Go on- tell me I am wrong someone....
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 20:41
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Pb had a tail scrape taking off ex NAN as well, not very long ago.
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 20:57
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I beg to differ Kwaj mate, the initial tail scrape was the initiating factor, but I take your point that the incorrect repair of the rear pressure bulkhead ultimately led to the demise of JAL 123.

Like all aircraft accidents the end result is usually the final hole of the cheese lining up. Brilliant man DR reason. So what created the mindset that felt it acceptable to continue and to pressurise the aircraft? Notwithstanding the QRH, where is the basic concept of common sense, or even self preservation? Perhaps the answer can be found in an individuals shortcomings, or more than likely an overall shortcoming somewhere in an organisation.

Some of the rises in careers we are now seeing are meteoric when compared to years gone by. The eagerness to please and determination to get the job done, (a trait not easily tempered by some inexperienced pilots) may sometimes cloud one's better judgement. I'm not saying that this is what necessarily happened here, but food for thought nonetheless.

When I look at some of the goings on in aviation today, I keep coming back to a tried and true old saying, be it operationally or industrially.

"Those that do not learn from the mistakes of the past, are doomed to repeat them."
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 22:12
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QRH says in nice big bold Letters. CAUTION: Do not pressurise airplane due to possible structural damage
As always this is for the authority to investigate. One problem may have been that they were unaware of a non normal checklist for it.
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 23:17
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Question: Is there any cockpit indication of a tail scrape on rotation?

Some more 'facts' from another source: the crew said they may have "left something behind" on the rwy. After that, a taxiing acft said they noticed a "puff of smoke on rotation". PB was above 10,000 at that point. The safety officer found debris which was reported as a rectangular piece of metal, and was being sent to engineers for further analysis. PB was above 20,000. Crew was informed the debris was identified as a 737-type tail skid. PB levelled off 28,000, made a u-turn, descended to below 10,000 and burned fuel before returning.

Now apart from the actual tail scrape, IF they didn't suspect this being the cause of having "left something behind", GIVEN the sequence of events in the climb-out, THEN they probably did all the right things?
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 03:40
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Question: Is there any cockpit indication of a tail scrape on rotation?

SSSSSCCCCCCCCRRRRRAAAAPPPEEEEE!!

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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 05:22
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Settle lads; the aircraft held below A100 for just under an hour NE of SY, burning off fuel to get to landing weight, then landed safely back at YSSY.
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 05:50
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F/D Indication

sssssccccccccrrrrraaaapppeeeee!!
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 06:43
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QRH says for 738,

Condition: Airplane tail has contacted the ground during takeoff.

CAUTION: Do not pressurize airplane due to possible structural damage.

PRESSURIZATION MODE selector.....................MAN
OUTFLOW VALVE switch................................Open
Hold outflow valve switch in the OPEN position until outflow VALVE
position indicator shows valve full open.

Plan to land at nearest suitable airport.
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 07:37
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Hi Krusty (and a happy New Year to all)

My understanding regarding JAL 123 is that the repair job done by Boeing was indeed not up to scratch however as part of the deal Boeing required ongoing periodic inspections to be carried out by JAL; for whatever reasons they were not carried out or else (hopefully) the faulty repairs would have been identified and tragedy averted.

For this reason one of the senior JAL engineering managers topped himself thereby "accepting blame" on behalf of JAL and of course in the Japanese psyche any problem or negligence that might have existed, ceased with this action.
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 08:31
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was this a zk- registered pb aircraft or just one of the few in pb colours but operated by vb
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 20:24
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The ZK drivers have aussie licences so they can operate either ZK or VH but not the other way round. Therefore there are no VB drivers operating ZK aircraft.
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 20:34
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Gidday galdian,

And a happy new year to you too.

You gotta' give it to the Japanese, when they take responsibility for something, they certainly don't believe in half measures!
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 21:15
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A whistleblowing New Zealand pilot has claimed Pacific Blue's rapid expansion means it is "only a matter of time before something really bad happens" with the discount airline.

The allegation is vehemently denied by the airline.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau confirmed it is investigating an incident in which a Christchurch-bound Pacific Blue flight veered off the runway during an attempted take-off from Kingsford Smith International Airport in Sydney.

The bureau this week released preliminary findings from an unrelated investigation into a Jetstar flight from Christchurch on July 21 that came within 13m of the ground because the pilots used the wrong throttle settings when attempting to abort a landing at fog-bound Melbourne Airport.

The investigations into the two cut-price airlines have raised concerns that fierce competition in the sector is combining with a worldwide shortage of qualified and experienced pilots to affect safety and training.
The Pacific Blue pilot, who fears his career will be over if he identifies himself, said the airline's expansion this month into domestic flights between Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland was exceeding the airline's ability to maintain standards.

"Pacific Blue is far worse than any other airline. The airline is rushing ahead too fast," he said.
"Pilots are having less and less experience, and obviously the training system isn't keeping up. It's only a matter of time before something really bad happens.

"We haven't gone to the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) because we know if we do, within an hour it will be back to Pacific Blue and our careers will be over. Anyone going to the CAA would be seen as a traitor to the airline.
"I'm prepared to do that. I think it's important for things to be said."
Pacific Blue-Virgin Blue public affairs general manager Heather Jeffery said safety was paramount and the airline rejected allegations it was "rushing" or its pilots were inexperienced. "What a coincidence just as we are to start domestic operations in New Zealand, a mischievious and woefully incorrect anonymous source emerges," she said.

"Pacific Blue has an outstanding operational record. We are very proud of our pilots and of the regard we have worked hard to achieve with regulators on both sides of the Tasman."
She said the airline culture encouraged open reporting of the most minor incidences and the "operational incident at Sydney Airport with DJ74 and a minor tail scrape" were fully reported to regulators and led to internal briefings.

"We are growing fast, just as Virgin Blue grew fast, but we are certainly not rushing," Jeffery said.
"We have a unique culture and we have no problem attracting highly experienced New Zealand pilots."
Aviation commentator Peter Clark said all airlines were struggling to find qualified pilots and some were lowering their minimum standards to attract recruits.

"They're finding it hard to get people and particularly in the right-hand (co-pilot) seat. I've been seeing in the last few years the minimum requirements for the right-hand seat have started to lower marginally," he said.
"That's not necessarily a bad thing, so long as training and infrastructure are maintained."
T
he Pacific Blue pilot said the Sydney incident on July 14 was "absolutely horrific" and involved fundamental failures.
Combined with an unrelated incident in which another aircraft from the group scraped its tail on take-off from Fiji last month, it was symptomatic of failing standards.

"I think it was sheer luck they didn't have injuries in Sydney. It was a major, major incident. The aircraft was heavy with fuel," he said. "They were very, very lucky. If they'd done that in Wellington, they would have been in the water.
"This pilot came around the corner fast and didn't wait until he was lined up with the runway before pushing automatic thrust.
"He veered off the runway and made absolutely no attempt to abort the take-off. He was at full power and with a full fuel load on board.
"He froze. They didn't do anything. There was no braking, no reverse thrust, no attempt to abort."
He said it was "only a matter of time before something really, really bad happens".
The CAA did not respond to calls from The Press.
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 22:51
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When is that article from? I am pretty sure that was posted around the time PB started domestic ops in NZ... there is no reference in it at all to the Syd tailstrike a few days ago.
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Old 3rd Jan 2008, 00:26
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Perhaps no Ref to the tail making contact with the RWY - but a serious incident none the less , 6 mths earlier - Do we see a trend developing.
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